Like the gears in a finely tuned machine, donor contributions keep many non-profits – including the Palouse Discovery Science Center – running smoothly. So when digital media students at Washington State University were asked to visually represent donor support for the PDSC, the idea of interconnected gears quickly emerged and became, quite literally, the perfect fit.

Reza Safavi.

Seventeen undergraduates in Reza Safavi’s fine arts course in introductory digital design and fabrication last spring worked individually and as a team to create a 7-by-7-foot interactive art installation composed of 22 precision-cut and fitted, wooden cogwheels bearing the names of PDSC’s generous benefactors.

“The project provided an opportunity for our students to gain professional experience by working with a community organization to design, create and present an interactive, digitally fabricated, public work of art,” said Safavi. “It’s a great example of how WSU classes can engage with the wider community and further serve the university’s land-grant mission.”

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