Teachers Illuminate the Art and Chemistry of Light at the Bechtler Museum on May 21

CTI invited the community to explore the many aspects of light through the lenses of art, science and education at The Art and Chemistry of Light, a Teachers as Scholars event on Tuesday, May 21, at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The program featured presentations and discussions with local educators who studied the topic together in a 2018 CTI seminar (The Art and Chemistry of Light), including UNC Charlotte Chemistry Scholar Tom Schmedake and 11 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers.

The event began with a reception at 5:30 p.m. showcasing new teaching ideas educators developed during their CTI seminar led by Dr. Schmedake. The main program started at 6:30 p.m., featuring mini-presentations by Schmedake and five teachers on a range of topics, followed by a panel discussion. 

Schmedake discussed the art and chemistry of light in the context of his own research and the experience of leading a recent seminar with teachers. The Fellows’ mini-presentations examined: the role of light energy in an elementary art class; the cyanotype printing process in high school photography; energy and society in middle school science; the application of light in high school forensic science; and hands-on light demonstrations for high school students with intellectual disabilities. 

During the reception other seminar teachers shared poster presentations on the application of light energy in high school chemistry; the color visualizations of linear functions in middle school math; principles of light energy in middle school science; the visible light spectrum in high school science; and light, color and Dr. Seuss in a first grade classroom.

Beth Kerr shares her perspective with CMS Chief Academic Officer Brian Kingsley


The Art & Chemistry of Light — Tom Schmedake
The Brightside of Energy Consumption — Michelle Faggert
My Many Colored Days — Elizabeth Kerr
Natural Light, Artificial Light, and Pollution — Zach Sanford
Do You See What I See? The Use of Light in Forensic Science — Jackie Smith
Seeing Art-Making in a New Light: Cyanotype Printing — Diane Strickland
Lights, Color, Action — Teresa Strohl
Chemistry Across the Spectrum — Josh Trujillo
Personifying Light: The Life and Times of Roy G. Biv — Erika Williams


Reception guests also viewed the museum’s Nomadic Murals: Tapestries of the Modern Era exhibition showcasing a diverse collection of modern art tapestries from the mid-20th century. 

This event was part of CTI’s Teachers As Scholars educational series for the public that highlights collaborative work by professors and teachers in CTI seminars. This project was made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

About the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art 
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opened in Charlotte on January 1, 2010. The majority of the museum’s holdings originated with Hans and Bessie Bechtler, Swiss collectors based in Zurich, who mainly collected European modern art created during the mid-20th century. Their son, Andreas Bechtler, donated the majority of his collection to the city of Charlotte and to house it the City hired renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta to design the museum. The building and the Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture, L ‘Oiseau de Feu sur l’Arche (The Firebird), which stands in front of it, have already become icons for the region. The collection holds over 1,500 works by Alberto and Diego Giacometti, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Jean Tinguely, Le Corbusier, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Manessier, Gustave Singier, Pierre Soulages, Max Ernst, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol (who executed the family portraits), Meret Oppenheim, Tom Wesselmann, Kenneth Noland, Victor Vasarely, Hans Hartung, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Paul Klee, Georges Rouault, Fernand Léger, Nicolas de Staël, Eduardo Chillida, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, and others.