by Emma Shirey
Science was not Ginger Ann Contreras’ strong suit when she was in high school. “Growing up as someone who identifies as multiracial from First Nations and Latinx cultures, I had a hard time with how school was taught in a very western perspective. Until I learned how to apply my art in how I was learning science, It was hard for me to excel or find a connection of why science was important.” Once she did find connections between art and science, however, Contreras flourished and found a career in science. She is now the executive director of the Illuminating Discovery Hub at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery. Illuminating Discovery collaborates with “bioethicists, journalists, social scientists, professional communications, and members of the public” in order to administer training programs for science communication, public discourse, and media.
Contrera aims to inspire STEM education through the use of street art in her project, Science to Street Art. In this initiative, artists collaborate with scientists to create “science civic art spotlighting graffiti and hip-hop art forms” and participate in a “festival of Madison Metropolitan School District Workshops and Community Activities connecting the street art to science curriculum and story.” The most recent collaboration was their Diversity of Scientists Mural at the Discover building in Madison, WI. They are planning to create a few more murals soon which include a Big Data/Precision Medicine Mural, a Periodic Table Mural, and an Astrophysics .
These images are the mock-ups of future murals and photos of older murals which can be found on the Science to Street Art website.