New Digital Arts Lab at PCD

Providence Country Day has relocated its digital arts lab to Lund Hall this year. The new Shurman Center for Digital Arts and Design features computers, a laser cutter, and a Glowforge Pro 3D printer.
As part of an ongoing effort to create opportunities for cross-disciplinary education, Providence Country Day has updated its digital arts lab for the 2021-2022 academic year. The Shurman Center for Digital Arts and Design is newly renovated in Lund Hall and features several computers, a laser cutter and a Glowforge Pro 3D printer. This space honors benefactors Eva and George Shurman, celebrating their love of culture and art.

“The goal of the lab is to create an environment where students can encounter all of the aspects of design,” said Digital Arts teacher Chloe Wessner. “You come here to get inspired. Lab classes are intentionally designed so that students will strengthen their creative thinking and problem solving skills. I believe students benefit when they are encouraged to challenge and evolve their ideas.”

Four courses are being offered so far. In Digital Media Foundations, students will participate in hands-on projects and “real world” activities to develop baseline skills in digital photography, photo editing and manipulation, and 2D design principles. They will also be introduced to a variety of artists working in digital media.

Graphic Design introduces students to Inkscape design software and focuses on designing for print and web, while 2D Digital Fabrication teaches students how to design using a computer and run machinery controlled by a computer, including the laser cutter.

PCD Design Lab is a multidisciplinary design course modeled from the most innovative and influential programs of the last 30 years. Throughout the course students will investigate themes such as material science, industrial design, architecture, bio-design, technological innovation, emerging design theory and trends. Students will also work with the 3D printer.

Physics teacher Emet Schwartz ‘13, one of the teachers who proposed creating a digital arts lab, said, “I saw an opportunity that was missing to empower and embolden our art department which would open up a whole new realm of possibilities for our students. As an engineer, I think it is important to expose students to creative outlooks utilizing innovative tools that are becoming more and more pervasive throughout the world. There are endless routes we can use them for and are a great first step in bolstering our STEAM program here at PCD.”

Maria M., class of 2025, took Digital Media Foundations in the first trimester. “I love the digital arts lab because the computers have so many different programs, and we are allowed to learn how to use all of them,” she said. “Even when not working on the computers the class has so many different art materials. There are 3D printers and so many different types of new software we can use.”

“Students, regardless of their interest in the arts, benefit from experiencing the design process because it can be applied to absolutely everything,” added Wessner. “There’s not that many environments which can provide exposure to that cycle repeatedly.”