Big bang theory: Science and art collide in creativity with astronaut's visit to town

Art and science. While the two subjects may seem as disparate as oil and water to some, a common thread exists: Creativity.

A skill for creativity is essential for both art and science, and that was perhaps no better displayed then on Tuesday, June 4. It was then when Midland Center for the Arts partnered with the American Chemical Society (ACS) to bring American astronaut Captain Scott Kelly to Midland.

More than 1,400 middle school students from throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region crammed the Center's Auditorium to hear the astronaut speak, offering insights into life on earth and in space and also answering students’ questions in a Q&A session.

Captain Kelly spent nearly an entire year aboard the International Space Station.

"It may seem like different sides of the spectrum but we’re finding common ground in the importance of creativity of each [art and science]," says Midland Center for the Arts vice president of programming Bryan Jao.

The Center was engaged by the ACS to find a speaker that would be both educational and entertaining to the general public.

The event was part of the 2019 ACS Central Regional Meeting, which took place June 4 through June 8, and largely at the H Hotel in Midland.

It was a milestone-heavy event. The Midland ACS Section is celebrating its 100th Anniversary and this was the 50th ACS Central Region Meeting.

That was not the only collaboration between Midland Center for the Arts and the ACS. The partnership brought Golden Paints CEO Mark Golden to town. Golden gave a technical talk at the ACS but also a broader one at the Center, speaking about the company’s legacy of working with famed artist Jackson Pollock.

The museum exhibit Science Paints Our World: Chemistry and Art is on display through August at Midland Center for the Arts.

"We’ve been working on projects for over a year, trying to find ways to tie art and science together," Jao says.

"It’s shown that creativity is critical to science and the arts."

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