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Spotlight: Science and Chalk

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Submitted Photo Kevin Delaney is seen here in a scene from the Science Channel’s program “Street Science” earlier this year. Delaney is going to headline the second annual Roswell Science and Art Festival.

Second annual Roswell Science and Art Festival brings in science star

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

The Roswell Museum and Art Center is presenting the second annual Roswell Science and Art Festival at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This free all-ages event will present a fun-filled day of science and art opportunities with the aim of inspiring the next generation of creative and innovative thinkers.

“We’re excited to be presenting the second annual Roswell Science and Art Festival,” said Caroline Brooks, RMAC’s executive director. “Last year was a big hit and provided a great foundation for us to build on. The event wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors, Xcel Energy Foundation and the RMAC Foundation, as well as our local and regional partners and presenters.

“It’s a great opportunity to explore science while having a fun family outing. We hope to see everyone there,” Brooks said.

Something that many are looking forward to this year is the chalk art competition. “We had a lot of requests to bring back the chalk art competition we used to do with the Art Block Party, and this year we felt ready to integrate it once again. Local artists are helping to organize it and Blick Art Materials is helping provide support,” Brooks said.

Kevin Delaney headlines the festival at 11 a.m. on the main stage. He brings his love of science and his ability to make it fun for all. A performer, playwright and educator based in Little Rock, Arkansas, he came to national fame when he landed a recurring role on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” as the resident science expert, performing demonstrations featuring Fallon and celebrity guests as lab assistants. The results have always delivered large-scale eruptions, explosions and more.

Asked how he got his start, Delaney said, “I got started in the field of informal science education by working in the education department at a zoo. I was part of a team who collaborated with the zoo-keeping staff and education staff to develop and present programs to zoo visitors. I later worked at a hands-on science center, which required me to expand my focus to include chemistry and physics demonstrations. Things have snowballed from there.”

Delaney’s interest stems also from a family member, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from all sorts of talented people, but my uncle Doug will always be my favorite scientist. Doug Nichols was a brilliant geologist and palynologist — a word whose existence is now being questioned by my document program. He studied prehistoric plants and pollen. He traveled all over the world conducting research and even co-wrote a textbook. I always looked up to him, and when I became involved in the field of science communication, that admiration only grew.”

Asked what it is that is most important for a scientist and why kids should be interested, Delaney said, “To me, the most important things for a scientist are curiosity and empirical evidence. Science is how we have come to understand our world, and how we apply the knowledge we gain to solve problems and learn more about the planet we are on and our place in the universe. Kids should be interested in science because there is still so much more to discover.

“Roswell is the cradle of rocket development thanks to Robert H. Goddard. Goddard was also an artist proving that art and science often goes hand-in-hand.” Asked if Delaney has talent in this range, he said, “I absolutely do think the same. I have a life-long passion for the performing and visual arts. I’ve been performing since I was a kid, and I can play a few instruments at varying levels of skill, none of which are proficient. I’ve used music, painting, storytelling, puppetry, and more to illustrate science concepts. I am not a scientist, and can only exist at the intersection of science and art.”

Additional guests include science centers Explora and Science Spectrum who will showcase some of their popular demonstrations and activities, including an inflatable planetarium; the New Mexico Military Institute’s science department will present several fun activities in the Make Lab; the Roswell Fire Department will be there with its fire obstacle course. Other highlights are the Wheels of Wonder Mobile Museum; a drone obstacle course led by Airplay Media; and Michelle Matthews of Yoga at Down to Earth Nutrition Center with some energizing, family-friendly yoga sessions.

Also new to the event this year, Keep Roswell Beautiful will be presenting a collaborative mural project made of recycled plastic bottle caps and lids to beautify the city and educate the public on recycling and reusing.

Twenty top teams from area middle schools who participated in a build challenge to create models of Mars colonies will be at the event. Additional participating groups include the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell’s iCenter and Early College High School program, University High School, Roswell Astronomy Club, Roswell Public Library, and several state and federal agencies, among others.

For more information, visit roswellmuseum.org or call 575-624-6744.