Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Mines Hosts Arts + Engineering Mixer to Showcase the New National Science Foundation Funded Program

A student in the South Dakota Mines Foundry heats metal in a forge before working it on an anvil. The campus Blacksmithing club is just one aspect of the new A+E program at Mines.


Artists are joining forces with engineers and scientists in a new program at South Dakota Mines that links the creative process with science and engineering education. The program includes hands-on instruction from local artists in pottery, glass making and blacksmithing alongside classroom lectures that tie in science and engineering concepts used in art creation.

The new Arts + Engineering Program at Mines is thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The effort was started by the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in conjunction with current and emeritus faculty who teach art at Mines in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.  The program also includes area artists who teach alongside engineering faculty in the university foundry.

“The program is designed to increase both innovation and intellectual diversity using evidence-based strategies,” says Katrina Donovan, Ph.D., co-principal investigator on the project and lecturer of materials and metallurgical engineering at Mines. “For example, specific skills developed from sketching improves an individual’s ability to visualize qualities of the medium; opportunity to create, innovate and adapt a concept; and ability to communicate ideas to others. Improved intellectual diversity will lead to improved critical thinking and holistic design.”

AE-2Mines has an established history in tying the arts of blacksmithing and bladesmithing to the science of metallurgy. The A+E Program strengthens Mines efforts in these arts and establishes new programs related to glass and ceramic materials. The program also integrates materials and minerals found in the Black Hills in the creation of art and the study of materials science. In the spring of 2022, students used local clay to make pottery and they studied the chemical makeup and materials processing throughout the creative process.

“When engineering takes flight in the service of art it is at its most dynamic point,” says Deborah Mitchell, an associate professor emerita of humanities at South Dakota Mines. “Some compelling examples are two large scale metal sculptures by the South Dakota Artist Laureate, Dale Lamphere, Dignity and The Arc of Dreams. The breadth and vision of these works were only possible with technical know-how of people who may have little to no art training but were carried along by the vision of a creative genius. At places such as Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, even the Corn Palace, art and engineering come together to forge a tangible expression of the power of each.”

Mines faculty will provide short public presentations at the upcoming Arts + Engineering Mixer event starting at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 at the David Lust Accelerator Building (18 East Main St in Rapid City). Members of the press and public are invited to attend and learn more about the ongoing work in this new program. 



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, Mike.Ray@sdsmt.edu

Upcoming Events

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