WondeRum: An Arts Meets Technology Exhibition



At UPRM, it is common for the arts and STEM majors to seem completely opposite of each other. It’s as if our campus is divided between those who study the arts and those who are pursuing a degree in engineering or any other STEM-related field. While some may believe that these fields can’t come together, others embrace what they can contribute to one another, resulting in initiatives such as WondeRum.

WondeRum is a project being organized by WearTech, a student organization that seeks to combine art and technology. The goal of the project is to celebrate a breath-taking exhibition, where the world of the arts and of technology will meet to present innovative art pieces, such as 3D printing, wearable technology, neon paint, conductive materials, and other installations. With it, the team wishes to create a collaborative network where students and faculty members of all areas of study will have the opportunity to showcase their talents and passions.

Currently slated to open in August 2019 at UPRM’s MUSA museum, WondeRum has been in the works since summer of last year. “During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to visit a couple of interactive museums and lived the unforgettable experience of becoming part of the art pieces exhibited,” Ashley Del Valle, an Electrical Engineering student and the founder of the project, commented. “I wished my fellow students and art lovers in Puerto Rico could pass through the same experience.”

                                               Ashley Del Valle (right) with Nadia Gathers, one of the project’s sponsors

At the time, Del Valle was selected to participate as a University Innovation Fellow and was tasked to formulate an innovative project that would change the way the campus thought about something that she was passionate about. “I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to create an interactive art and technology exhibition.”

But, Del Valle knew she couldn’t work alone, so she started recruiting other students. “I met Ashley at a pop-up event I was selling at,” Alexxa Gonzalez, a Fine Arts student from UPRM, said. “She told me about the project she was producing, and it sounded really cool.” Although she first felt scared about working with technology she knew nothing about, Gonzalez ultimately joined Del Valle’s initiative to get out of her comfort zone and took on the challenge.

                                                                       The WondeRum team

Being a rather ambitious project, the team has faced the process head-on. “It has been a hard and complicated process,” Del Valle stated. “However, I’ve come to appreciate more art, museums and exhibitions. This experience has helped me become a better leader and I’m really grateful for my team and our sponsors who have believed in our desire to impact our community.”

Aleyshka Estevez, an English major and fellow collaborator in the project, also recognizes the effort that has been required in order to make the project work. “I think it requires a lot of organization,” she said. “Especially since we all come from different backgrounds, but that’s the point of what we’re doing here: we want to make the best use of our collective abilities and really demonstrate what unifying academic areas can do.”

“I want people to see that art and technology don’t have to be seen as two different fields,” Gonzalez expressed. “I’m hoping that this exhibition can motivate students to experiment with different materials, more than just thinking inside their field.” Del Valle further added similar feelings, stating that she wishes that the project inspires young student to follow their passions and realize that they can change the traditional ways of their chosen professions.

                                            A fundraising activity for the project titled “Paint and Coffee”

“I want to establish a collaborative community in which students passionate with art, design, engineering can collaborate and learn from each other and generate creative ideas.” Del Valle commented when asked what she wants to form with WondeRum. “I want to create a space in which students from all departments from all departments can learn how to integrate technology in their fields of study.”

As the project continues to take shape, one wonders if it could possibly become a recurring event, rather than just a one-time activity. “I think we definitely want this to be a recurring event,” Aleyshka Estevez answered. “Personally, I think this is a great experience for students to get inspired and out of their comfort zones.”

“I hope this exhibition puts the art community of UPRM into the spotlight and brings many other connections for the future,” Gonzalez stated. “A lot of people are not aware that our campus offers art degrees, so I’m hoping that this event brings new people to the spectrum of the arts. This is not your traditional exhibition where everyone brings their piece and that’s it. WondeRum will offer students the opportunity to exchange knowledge, learn from each other, and work together to make it possible.”

                                        Some of the preparation for the exhibition

With the desire to open the exhibition during the first week of classes, the WondeRum team continues their hard work to make everything possible. Having done workshops, fundraisers, and even selling t-shirts at 5 Dias con Nuestra Tierra, the team feels confident in their passion to combine the worlds of art and technology. “I want every visitor to feel inspired by our work and motivated to keep learning about all these new cool technologies,” Del Valle concluded.

Here at Her Campus UPRM we wish the WondeRum and the WearTech teams the best, and can’t wait to participate in the exhibition in august! If you’re interested in following the project, you can follow them on Facebook and the official WearTech website.