Senior displays science, math work in art festival

Morganton, North Carolina – Friday, May 20, 2022

When most people think of art, they don’t normally mix it up with math and science, but for Freedom High School senior Alisa Cruz-Mendez, it was the perfect challenge. Mendez is an intern for The Old School Studio (TOSS) in Morganton, run by Kathryn Ervin. Ervin is invited to create an interactive piece of art for the festival every year, but this year the two have changed things up.

Cruz-Mendez said, “As an intern at TOSS and an advocate for STEAM, Kathryn thought this would be a great opportunity for me to create a facility that would allow me to display my knowledge of science and math while by allowing me to explore art. ”

She researched to organize a design and chose the subject of topology, which is “a branch of mathematics that discovers geometric shapes and how they can be deformed in space and in different dimensions”. The project is called The Fabric of Life and will consist of a large installation of textile threads and fibers that will allow students to walk through an artistic landscape guided by a map. The map will have them create a landscape of Florence County, South Carolina using yarn, fabric, and other textile materials. In keeping with our theme, Fabric of Life, each thread of the landscape is representative of every member of the Florence community – each contributing in a unique way to the unity and prosperity of the community.

Cruz-Mendez said, “It seems like a paradox for me to work in an art studio and create a great piece of art. I never had access to an art education growing up because my parents didn’t see the value in it. Naturally, I never took it upon myself to take an art course in college or high school. Yet, even with my lack of artistic education, I was still able to create something beautiful.

She plans to attend college in the fall and major in interdisciplinary studies, medical/evolutionary anthropology, or public policy.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “Alisa has demonstrated a powerful way to showcase her talent and help others be positively impacted at the same time. We are very proud of his efforts and know that his future, and that of so many other BCPS students, will be very bright.


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Reggie S. Williams