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A man and two women are standing in a large, bright studio surrounded by heavy equipment and a circular sculpture

Two Georgia Tech students recently returned from a creative residency in Puerto Rico, and they’ve got stories to tell and photos to share! For the project, arte_FITS x Georgia Tech Arts, Elizabeth Kelly (Industrial Design graduate student) and Danielle Sisson (Architecture undergraduate) were selected from more than 30 applicants to work with renowned sculptor, Luis Torruella, on the creation of an artwork to connect with the physical environment in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico. Developed and directed by Georgia Tech Arts in collaboration with the arte_FITS Foundation, the project supports the Institute’s strategic plan to integrate art and creativity across programs at Georgia Tech.  

In early 2023, Elizabeth and Danielle conducted meetings virtually with Luis to explore the concept of creating a three-dimensional artwork that would, they envisioned, be installed underwater. Throughout the spring semester they problem-solved concepts, designed plans, and considered materials, ultimately having to shift their goal to the fabrication of a land-based installation, an invaluable lesson on the significance of flexibility for creative projects.  

Toward the end of the spring semester, Elizabeth and Danielle traveled to Puerto Rico to collaborate in person on the final stages of the work. They worked side by side in Luis’ studio where they drafted, welded, painted, and were generally a part of the studio team, successfully producing Cardumen, a sculpture that was installed on the beach in May 2023. In reflecting on her experience, Danielle shared “It showed me all the different pieces that go into bringing something into the real world, which is a really wonderful and unique experience to have, especially as a designer. You want to make sure that the things you’re designing can be fabricated, and to be able to work with the people around you to make it a reality.” 

Georgia Tech Arts’ partnership with the arte_FITS Foundation is made possible through a two-year $100,000 private gift from Friedel Stubbe, CE 1970, and Carolina Stubbe, the founding director of the arte_FITS Foundation. On her return from Puerto Rico, Nathalie Matychak, interim director of Georgia Tech Arts said “I’m so proud to have offered this important opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration. We’re looking forward to working with a new group of students next year as we launch year two of this incredible project." Students who are interested in partnering with Georgia Tech Arts on this or other events should contact Kara Wade, Student and Artist Engagement Coordinator. 

As a member of the newly formed division of Arts, Belonging, and Community, Georgia Tech Arts will continue to develop opportunities to engage students in intercultural dialogue and gain a fuller understanding of themselves and the world around them. Georgia Tech Arts looks forward to many more partnerships across campus and throughout the country.  

Photos, videos, and illustrations courtesy of the project participants: arte_FITS Foundation, Luis Torruella, Elizabeth Kelly, Danielle Sisson, and Georgia Tech Arts. Learn more on the Georgia Tech Arts website


Meet the students and the artist in these videos on YouTube.