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STEAM Mural "Exploring Iowa’s Renewable Energy"

Picture of installation - with windmill, city skyline/river, windmill, and barn courtesy of  Iowa City Parks and Recreation Dept

Unveiled at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, a new mural entitled "Exploring Iowa’s Renewable Energy," uses visual, sound, and tactile elements to provide visitors with an interactive experience that spotlights Iowa’s Green Energy potential. Visitors activate light, sound, and wind in a graphically displayed Iowa landscape. Turning a hand crank moves a windmill, covering the solar panel affects the building lights, and touching the river activates light and sound. The mural was created by a team of students and faculty members from the University of Iowa who represent a broad range of disciplines including Computer Science, Industrial and Mechanical Engineering, Emerging Technologies and Sculpture, Photography, Art and Art History, and Digital Media in Performance. The UI team includes Kyle Rector (CS Faculty), Stephen Baek, Daniel Fine, Daniel Miller, Yifan Du, Colleen Reynolds, and Jon Winet. Additionally, photographer Dana Keeton contributed to the project.

The interdisciplinary team chose to have visitors interact with the installation using multiple senses to be accommodating to people of different abilities. They included signs with high contrast text and braille so that kids with visual impairments could interact with the different types of renewable energies. There is also a window peeking into the barn so that everyone can look inside the barn. The ad-hoc software makes the river glistens when people touch the metal bars alongside it and that the building lights turn on and off when people block the “solar panels.”

Some of those features are highlighted below, abstracted from a "Iowa City Update: Rec Center Renovations" video. All are encouraged to visit the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, located at 220 S Gilbert St (between Washington and Burlington St) for a hands-on experience!

In the news: Downtown mural promotes education on renewable energy (DI | 1/18/18)


Spotlight picture and part of installation description courtesy of  Iowa City Parks and Recreation Dept.