FireFish STEAM Academy

Teen arts apprentices from the 2017 FireFish Arts Summer STEAM Academy, located this year at the new LCCC Campana Center of Ideation and Invention,  again created the centerpiece of the FireFish Festival— a giant FireFish sculpture that comes to life with light and pyrotechnics. In the six week intensive arts and job training program headed by artist/maker Jim Gundlach with the assistance of artist/mentors Stevie Tanner and Ryan Craycraft,  teen apprentices learned about themselves, work,  and life responsibilities through the arts and creative self-expression and by participating in the design process and fabrication of the FireFish at LCCC’s Fab Lab.


Working alongside Fab Lab staff  Ryan Corrigan, Chris Leon and  Fab Lab Coordinator Scott Zitek, they were introduced to important 21st Century digital literacy and fabrication skills. Computer programs  transformed drawings and concepts into laser cut and CNC routed fish sections that were assembled and decorated to become the final STEAM Punk FireFish.  In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Lorain County, these apprentices are assembling a second FireFish designed to burn bright.  It, too, will be cut at the LCCC Fab Lab,  put together and adorned by youth, staff and families of the Boys and Girls Club of Lorain County and Save Our Children Elyria Teens Achieving Success program at their program sites. These fish will end their journey as they become the centerpiece of the FireFish Festival, culminating in the not-to-be missed Processional Parade down Lorain’s Broadway Avenue to the climactic Burning of the Fish at Lorain’s Black River Landing.


“FireFish is a wonderful example of how the arts can unite our community through a celebration of creativity, technology  and invention,” said Lorain County Community College President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “We are thrilled to have extensive involvement in this year’s FireFish Festival from the grand opening video projection mapping by LCCC’s Kevin Jackson to the creation of the giant FireFish centerpiece for the festival finale by teen apprentices, artists and LCCC Fab Lab staff at the Campana Center for Ideation and Invention.  The only way to make a new future for Lorain County is by imagining it and creating it together. The FireFish Festival is an important part of our county’s creative evolution.”


The FireFish STEAM Academy was a partnership with the Lorain City Schools, Save Our Children Elyria’s Elyria Teen’s Achieving Success program, and Lorain County Workforce Development Agency Youth Employment program.  The program was hosted at the Campana Center for Ideation and Invention.  Additional partners include the Boys and Girls Club of Lorain County.


Artist/Designer – Jim Gundlach

Artist/Mentors – Stevie Lee Tanner and Ryan Craycraft

LCCC Fab Lab Facilitors – Ryan Corrigan, Chris Leon

LCCC Fab Lab Coordinator – Scott Zitek

Teen Artist Apprentices – Lee Anderson, Angel Arnold, Christian Billings, I’sis Drummond, Daniel Hodge, Aaron McHenry, Mia McNemar, Dakota Muniz, Morgan Parker, Jelicia Shelton, Savannah Vargovich, Will Waddell

Campana Center for Ideation and Invention Program and Outreach Coordinator – Joan Perch


The FireFish STEAM Academy and the STEAM Punk Fish are sponsored by the Lorain County Community College Foundation and  Nordson Corporation.  Additional support has been provided by the LCCC Fab Lab and Smart Business Network, Inc.





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