A GIF-making station, a blowup planetarium and a car-building test station are just some of the highlights of a STEAM-inspired activity center that recently popped up in the Meatpacking District.
The Meatpacking Business Improvement District joined forces with the New York Hall of Science and Children’s Museum of the Arts to present ARTech: Adventures in Art + Technology, a two-month-long series of hands-on activities and installations, which runs now through April 29 in a vacant retail storefront near the High Line.
Geared toward children ages 4 and up, ARTech features stations that bridge art and technology, from making cars to test velocity, to using markers, construction paper and software to create stop-motion videos.
In addition to collaborating with the family-friendly institutions, the business improvement district looked to neighborhood businesses to help put on the free pop-up, including GIPHY, behind the GIF-making station, and Samsung, which donated tablets to make the stop-motion videos and has an “experience” space, Samsung 837, in the area.
“It’s important to make sure we tell the story of Meatpacking,” said Lauren Danziger, executive director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District. “We have a huge tech presence in the neighborhood. Tech and art is the direction the neighborhood has been going in the past few years.”
Harlem resident Kelly Francis heard about the event from a friend and brought her 4-year-old son, Noah, on a recent Thursday to check it out. He immediately busied himself with the velocity station.
“Anything to do with vehicles, this child is in heaven,” said Francis. “There’s a lot of different activities in here — you could find something for most children to be occupied.”
Francis liked the fact that the activities also focus on STEAM — short for science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“The idea of getting into the building blocks of technology also appeals to me, and to see how they might go about doing it,” Francis said. “It’s the next generation’s careers.”