Rockford program offers kids new ways to create art

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) – The Irving Avenue Strong Neighborhood House is offering fresh opportunities for youngsters to explore their creative sides thanks to a new program called New Ways.

The program is a partnership of the New Genres Art Space, Rockford Area Arts Council and United Way of Rock River Valley, which runs the Strong House at 312 Irving Ave. on Rockford’s west side. It’s led by Steve Nofsinger, who creates artwork under the name Karate Horse. He leads a seven-week workshop in which young people from 7 to 17 learn the intricacies of the audio and visual arts and 3D printing.

3D printing is a manufacturing process used to create three dimensional objects through the layering of plastic materials.

The process has gained widespread traction in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, among other industries. But Nofsinger uses it to create art and to broaden the students’ ideas of how art can be done.

“It’s awesome to see a group of kids who might not even know what it is or they never get the chance to get their hands on those kinds of tools and see them light up and say things like ‘I love playing video games but didn’t know this stuff was 3D,’” Nofsinger said.

Among the objects made by the students are magnets and artworks that symbolize making the best out of bad situation.

Nofsinger said: “The first project was taking a negative force in your life and trying to find the positive out of that. And we expressed that in a symbol. We took stencils and created rain paintings in front of the Strong House. So every time it rains you can see those pictures that the kids did.”

The students aren’t the only ones learning. Nofsinger is gaining valuable teaching experience after previously working in retail management.

He wanted to take a leap of faith to pursue his passion for art. At this point he consider himself a “multi-instrumental” artist because of his broad range of work. He has displayed his art at solo shows and exhibited his work at J. R. Kortman Center for Design in downtown Rockford.

He bought his first 3D printer five years ago.

“I’ve always loved to show people how to do things and teach. So it’s really fun for me because every class I do I kind of learn something new about what I could do differently in the class,” Nofsinger said.

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Source: Rockford Register-Star, https://bit.ly/3keChuc

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