Carnegie Mellon artists explore the final frontier

April 17, 2006

Pittsburgh--Astronauts aren't the only ones exploring outer space. Two internationally recognized space artists, Carnegie Mellon University's STUDIO for Creative Inquiry Distinguished Fellow Lowry Burgess and associate Frank Pietronigro, are leading the space exploration community as co-chairs of the first Space Art Track during the International Space Development Conference (ISDC).

The Space Art Track, a panel discussion and exhibition on space art, will bring together some 200 artists using space as the basis for their work. The track will debut at the 25th ISDC, co-sponsored by the National Space Society and the Planetary Society, May 4-7 in Los Angeles.

The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry created this Space Art Track in collaboration with the Zero Gravity Arts Consortium (ZGAC,, a group advised by Burgess and created by Pietronigro, Lorelei Lisowsky and Laura Knott to support artists and scientists working in this genre.

The Space Art genre attempts to develop a cultural dimension to humanity's space endeavors by exploring, reporting and nurturing contemporary arts in and about space.

"Conferences such as ISDC provide a window and occasion for professionals in the space and arts communities to evaluate imaginative new ideas for cultural and artistic exploration in space," said Burgess.

The new ideas that Burgess, Pietronigro and their colleagues intend to discuss with astronauts, space tourism experts and space agency officials are sure to offer exciting pathways to invention and collaboration between scientists and artists.

"Art and cultural activities are the next steps in space exploration," said Pietronigro, associate fellow in the STUDIO. "I can see how art that utilizes the technology of space exploration will serve as inspiration to a new generation of young people, just as images of science fiction inspired the scientists of today, prompting them to want to learn about math, science, engineering, robotics, technology and art because of their imaginations sparked by images of artists and scientists working in space together."

To support this and other programs of the Space Art Track, an international team of advisors from Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Solvenia, Switzerland and the U.S. have joined forces to produce a series of inspirational cutting-edge space art presentations and video screenings.

ISDC will also feature an exhibition tracking the historical development of traditional space art. The "Artists' Universe" is a juried traveling exhibition of astronomical artworks reflecting representative media, subject matter and styles of members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). Jon Ramer of the IAAA will curate the exhibition. The goal of the exhibition is to evoke a fresh excitement about astronomy and space exploration and increase interest in the appreciation of astronomical art. "The Artists' Universe" will introduce visitors to both the art and science of astronomical illustration. The exhibit reveals that artwork in this genre is not mere fantasy, but requires disciplined study and meticulous rendering, and can be an essential extension of a very real and rigorous science.

The ISDC conference will take place at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel Los Angeles Airport, 6101 West Century Boulevard. Space Art Track presentations will take place from 1:30 to 7 p.m. (PST), May 4-6 in room B4, and from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. The Space Art Exhibition will be located throughout the hotel and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. To register for ISDC and the Space Art Track, visit
The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, founded by Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts in 1989, supports interdisciplinary projects that bring together the arts, science, technology and humanities, and the local and global communities.

Carnegie Mellon University

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