FireFish STEAM Academy

FireFish STEAM Academy teens ruled with their colorful Koi FireFish at the second annual FireFish Festival, held on Saturday, September 17, 2016. With the help of countless community volunteers,  they built and then paraded the fish through bursts of rain through the Festival to the river, led by drummer Baba Jabal and dancer Brittany Drost.  There,  against all odds, the full moon burned through the parting clouds, and the fish ultimately  burned – a symbol of transformation, tenacity and perserverance.

Creators of the FIREFISH FESTIVAL Koi Centerpiece are: FireFish STEAM Academy Apprentices Myesha Arnold, Christian Billings, Briana Boggs, Chakyia Chaney, Jacintaya Cuellar, Aaron McHenry, Shanija Mourer, Mia McNemar, Jos’Lyn Nobel, Allison Otero, Destiny Ramos, Brian Suarez-Herrera, Ryan Williams; Master Builders: Daniel McNamara, Ian Petroni; Koi Fish Artistic Design: John (Sky) Davison; Artistic Development Strategist: Monica D. Idom; STEAM Academy administrative coordinator: Soniqua Morries;  Volunteers: Arthur Schwandt, Jessica Songer.  Additional support for the Festival Parade was provided by teen volunteers  from the PACE Foundation.

The STEAM Academy is a FREE creative arts based training program for income-eligible high school students and young adults in Lorain County located in downtown Lorain.

The 2017 summer six week intensive arts training program will be headed by professional artist Jim Gundlach and held in collaboration with Lorain County Community College at the Patsie C. and Dolores Jenee Campana Center for Ideation and Invention.  In the program, the teen apprentices learned about themselves, work and life responsibilities – by engaging in personal self-expression with artist facilitators and LCCC faculty and Fab Lab staff.

As part of their work training, these teen arts apprentices create personal art and learn how to use Fab Lab technologies, including laser cutting, CNC routing, 3D printing, and vinyl cutting. They are also charged with creating the centerpiece of the festival — the giant FireFish — from start to finish, in collaboration with artist Jim Gundlach.  Design, engineering, and science experiences are intentionally woven into this massive project based learning and workforce development initiative.

The FireFish STEAM Academy is coordinated by Joan Perch, Program and Outreach Coordinator at Lorain County Community College’s Patsie C. and Dolores Jenee Campana Center for Ideation and Invention.  The pilot project is an example of both LCCC and FireFish Art’s goal to enhance economic and civic revitalization through visionary economic development programming, education and workforce development initiatives. The Academy is operated in collaboration with the Boys and Girl Club, Save Our Children (Elyria) and the Ohio Means Jobs Youth Lorain County Youth Employment program.




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