Penn State laureate's visit to New Kensington campus to combine art, engineering

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Laureate Rebecca Strzelec, professor of visual arts at Penn State Altoona, will give two presentations about the relationship between art and technology on Friday, Oct. 28, at Penn State New Kensington. “Layers: 15 Years of Storytelling Through Contemporary Jewelry” is the topic of the 12:20 p.m. talk in the Conference Center, and “Art + Engineering = Creative Problem Solving” is the subject of the 2:30 p.m. lecture in the Forum Theatre. Both events are free to the public.

The "Layers" presentation investigates the ways wearable objects interact with the surface of the body. The talk is a tour through the stories, challenges, methods, and discoveries woven through her artwork. "Layers" also has an added “show and tell” feature, as Strzelec will pass around actual jewelry to handle and try on.

Strzelec creates jewelry by working in plastics instead of precious metals. She sculpts three-dimensional pieces by employing computer aided design (CAD) and 3D technology. Objects are built layer by layer by a 3D printer using plastics and photosensitive resins. The result is art that can be appreciated as a piece of jewelry worn on the body or as sculpture.

The art and engineering discussion will be geared to campus students in the engineering design class taught by Joan Kowalski, senior instructor in engineering. Strzelec will focus on the rapid advancements in 3D technology and the myriad ways that the technology has impacted various industries, such as health care, safety, architecture, and art and design. In addition, Strzelec will discuss the trajectory of 3D printing, as well as her work with origami and smart materials as part of a team of engineers who received a $2 million National Science Foundation grant.

For more information on her work, visit Strzelec's website.

Penn State Laureate

An annual faculty honor established in 2008, the Penn State laureate is a full-time faculty member in the arts or humanities who is assigned half time for one academic year to bring greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, and the University, as well as his or her own work. As such, the laureate is a highly visible representative of the University, appearing at events and speaking engagements throughout the Commonwealth. Strzelec succeeded Carol Reardon, the George Winfree Professor of American History at the University Park campus, the 2015-16 laureate.

Strzelec has been a Penn State faculty member since 2002 and is head of the degree program in visual art studies at Penn State Altoona. She received both her bachelor and master of fine arts degrees in metals, jewelry, and CAD/CAM (computer aided manufacturing) from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.

Her work has appeared in more than 65 exhibitions, including “Paper/Plastic: Contemporary Adornment” at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin; “Out of Hand: Materializing the Post Digital” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; and “SCHMUCK 2008” in Munich, Germany. Her work can also be found in the permanent collections at such institutions as the Museum of Arts and Design, Racine Art Museum, and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, as well as in private collections, such as that held by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

In addition, her work can be seen in several recent works from Lark Books, including "Showcase 500 Art Necklaces," “21st Century Jewelry: The First Decade,” and “Lark Studio Series: Pendants,” as well as in such publications as Metalsmith magazine, The New Yorker, and American Craft magazine.

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Last Updated October 12, 2016