College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences

Clemson University helps Artisphere celebrate 15th anniversary


Everyone knows that singing into a microphone produces sound, but one that also creates light will be in downtown Greenville this weekend, as Clemson University helps one of the nation’s top arts festivals celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Clemson’s STEAM Exhibit is returning to Artisphere with several new attractions, including a sweater dotted with LED lights that transforms musical notes into light.

It’s one of 12 attractions under one tent that brings together science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM. The activities range from robots that draw to the dazzling delights of the kinetic arts.

[vid origin=”youtube” vid_id=”PDMo1a795YA” size=”medium” align=”right”]

Kerry Murphy, Artisphere’s executive director, said the STEAM Exhibit brings together two of the Greenville area’s greatest strengths: its high concentration of engineering talent and its vibrant arts community.

“Each year, the Clemson University STEAM Exhibit is popular with children and adults alike,” she said. “We are glad Clemson is able to return to Artisphere to help us celebrate our 15th anniversary. Clemson helps bring a unique perspective to the arts that our guests love.”

Guests of all ages are welcome at the exhibit and no skills in math and science are necessary. Clemson’s students, faculty and staff guide visitors through the hands-on activities and demonstrations.

The activities are designed to be fun but also introduce participants to highly sought skills in the workplace, ranging from cooperation and creativity to computer coding and programming robots.

The STEAM Exhibit, now in its sixth year, will be open regular festival hours Friday-Sunday and will be located in the same place as years past, next to Grill Marks restaurant at Main and Broad streets.

All of the exhibit’s activities will be free. Here is a look at what is planned:

Color Booth

Experiment with the effects of colored light in this mobile, air-conditioned darkroom. Learn how theatrical lighting designers make informed decisions when picking colored filters for lights on the stage. Visitors can see and play with the effects of colored light on theater scenery and costumes, and play a challenging guessing game for a sweet prize.

Science as Art 2019

HOOKEd on Microscopy is among the activities returning to the Clemson University STEAM Exhibit in 2019.
HOOKEd on Microscopy is among the activities returning to the Clemson University STEAM Exhibit in 2019.

Science as Art has challenged Clemson University students, faculty and staff, as well as pre-college students around the state, to share the powerful and inspiring visual images produced in laboratories, workspaces and learning environments. This exhibit aims to excite and educate with science, technology, engineering and mathematics through visually captivating images that are described in basic terms.

HOOKEd on Microscopy: Exploring The Magnificent Microcosm

If you have ever wondered what a butterfly’s mouth or a starfish looks like under a microscope, you will not want to miss “The Magnificent Microcosm,” sponsored by the Clemson Light Imaging Facility.  You will have the chance to look at samples under a microscope and see images from our “HOOKEd on Microscopy” contest.

Drawing with RobotsR2D2 Meets Rembrandt

This automated attraction is an interactive activity that introduces children and young adults to computer programing through art.  They write the code for the shape they wish to create and download it to a small Scribbler robot that then “draws” their picture. This is a wonderful activity that shows that robots can make art, too.

Materials Wonderland!

This attraction brings together shape-shifting, jump contests, magic metal and collaborative creation. It will showcase how origami – the ancient paper folding art – can inspire engineered structures and materials. Meanwhile, participants will manipulate shape-memory alloys into different shapes, then return the alloys to their original shape by dropping them into regular, warm water.

Elephant Dentures

Art inspired by research is featured in the Science as Art attraction in the STEAM Exhibit at Artisphere.
Art inspired by research is featured in the Science as Art attraction in the STEAM Exhibit at Artisphere.

Learn about biomedical engineering and oral hygiene in this interactive exhibit. Make your own elephant dentures using miniature elephant skulls and teeth. Guests can observe how 2D slices from a CT scan can be constructed into a 3D image.

LED Music Visualization

Take a turn singing into the microphone and watch as the notes are displayed as LED lights on a sweater in real time. As music is played, a program analyzes the sound to provide a visual output to the sweater. The sweater can display four octaves including sharps and flats. It’s similar to a Christmas tree sweater that was a big hit on campus last season and can be seen here.

Kinetic Arts

Discover the dazzling visual delights of variable motion with these kinetic sculptures. This showcase displays sculptures that utilize wind power, gravity, and motors to provide crazy visual effects. This year organizers are adding a sand table which creates patterns through the interaction of a magnet on a gantry and a steel ball. Come see the Iron Man, Double Pendulum, and Newton’s Cradle.

Packaging of the Future: Active and Intelligent Packaging

All are invited to the burgeoning world of active and intelligent packaging, which uses chemistry, chemical sensors, or biosensors to monitor and improve the quality and safety of food throughout the food chain from production to consumers.  Guests can observe different samples of active and intelligent packaging and the equipment needed to create this packaging. Guests can also measure the pH of fresh food and not-so -resh food using pH strips.


Guests will fold paper shapes to learn about architectural concepts. The individual paper constructions will be added to a larger structure that will transform throughout the festival. Guest can also experience local spaces and recent student projects through virtual reality.

Clemson Visual Arts

This exhibit will feature Clemson student Jordan Fowler’s interactive piece “Primordial Loop,” which won first place in the “Immersion” Digital Arts Contest at Clemson. Enjoy the art and learn more about visual arts at Clemson.

Making Art a Reality

Experience virtual reality with this interactive exhibit. Visit art galleries from around the world with Google Expeditions. Experience life in Rome and Paris featuring Agostino Iacurci’s whimsical murals. Finally, help produce a music video collaboration using Soundtrap.

More about the exhibit:

The STEAM Exhibit is a collaboration of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

The chief organizers of the exhibit are Brad Putman, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, and Shannon Robert, associate professor of scene design in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

Richard Goodstein, dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, said that STEAM helps make education relevant to students’ lives.

“The arts can serve as an on-ramp to STEM disciplines and then, once students are involved, help them think creatively and stay engaged in their learning,” he said. “The STEAM Exhibit has given thousands of people a chance to sample how these five disciplines can be brought together, and we look forward to another successful year.”

Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said the exhibit underscores the importance of STEAM education to innovation in a wide variety of fields.

“The groundbreaking innovations of the future will require creativity, design-thinking, teamwork and effective communication,” Gramopadhye said. “The arts not only help generate new ideas and foster curiosity but also help students develop the skills they will need to bring their ideas to reality. These are useful skills in any career path.”

Want to Discuss?

Get in touch and we will connect you with the author or another expert.

Or email us at

    This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.