A Place for Art in STEM

ART|WPI Showcases Creativity
April 16, 2019

The 8th annual ART|WPI art exhibit showcases the wide artistic talent on WPI’s campus. Diane Begreen, operations manager for Gordon Library and one of the event’s organizers, says this event is a highlight of her year as she is always amazed at the creativity on display. Anna Gold, university librarian, agrees.

“This event shows how connected the practice of STEM disciplines is with creating art,” says Gold. “Design, curiosity, keen observation, an eye for detail, skillful work with materials, and the love of beauty are as much a part of practicing engineering and science as they are a part of the arts.”

At the ART|WPI reception on April 2, the Daily Herd spoke with some of the artists to discover their perspectives on why the arts and creative expression have an important place in today’s tech-focused world.

ART|WPI will be up through the remainder of D-Term.


"STEM is profoundly creative. We don’t acknowledge enough that it takes so much creativity to do STEM well. To me, that’s what it’s all about. STEM isn’t rigid; students come up with the most creative ideas to solve problems."

—Laura Robinson, librarian, faculty development and research support lead, Gordon Library

"The two balance. Science is a form of art. Art and science are both the highest forms of truth. One is linear and one is spiritual, but they are both the truth."

—Doug Leonardi, operations manager-technical paraprofessional, Physics Department

"As an artist I have a deep love for the arts and advocate for the “A” in STEAM, adding the arts to STEM. Arts and creativity are important—they supplement the education here."

—Cynthia Woehrle, administrative assistant, University Advancement

"Why is art so important at a STEM institution? It’s hard for me to put into words. This quote from Madeleine L'Engle says it best, 'Science, literature, art, theology: it is all the same ridiculous, glorious, mysterious language.'"

—Dianne Vanacore, senior marketing production manager, Marketing Communications

"We are all multidimensional and recognizing that and valuing that is important. Here we see students with phenomenal academic research and they are involved in drama and music and writing. I would say that makes them a whole lot more interesting, and it makes them a whole lot more interested."

—Art Heinricher, dean of undergraduate studies

"Students are using creative thinking in what they are studying to reinforce and come up with new solutions to the world’s greatest problems. In shows like this—when the right brain meets the left brain—it’s a different creativity. Students go back and forth between things like math and music, for instance. STEM and the arts are so closely aligned."

--Philip Clay, vice president for student affairs

STEM is a very objective environment and can be overwhelming. Art is subjective and allows the brain to switch ways of thinking. You don’t have to worry about rules, languages, or equations. The mind, like any complex machine, needs to have all its systems well maintained and balanced for best efficiency. Having art on campus is important, especially for those that cannot or do not have time to participate themselves.

---Matt Burgos, photographer and visual associate, Marketing Communications