Funk Center, Artist Garry Noland Offer Outreach to University Park Elementary

Power of Imagination Program in its Third Year     

MELBOURNE, FLA. — The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology recently partnered with University Park Elementary’s After School Academy for a two-part outreach event with guest artist Garry Noland.

Offered under the Ruth Funk Center’s Power of Imagination program, the “Transformers and the Power of Imagination” outreach focused on the use of unexpected materials, the role of the artist, and the power of transforming everyday/discarded objects into extraordinary art objects. The program included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Center’s current exhibit, Transformers:  Re-contextualizing Our Material Culture led by Garry Noland, in October and an outreach workshop presented at University Park Elementary in November.

The Center launched the Power of Imagination partnership in 2014 as a platform for the expansion of youth-focused community programs. Since that time, the program has increased the accessibility of art for its school-age audience while enhancing the Center’s mission to impact Florida Tech’s surrounding community. This program is supported, in part, by the Bob and Jan Case Endowment for Student Enrichment.

The program seeks to empower pre-K through sixth-grade students via the creative process, and that was evident in the University Park Elementary outreach.

Using small squares of recycled cardboard, each student, working within a group, created mini artworks composed of found and recycled materials.  The individual squares were then tied together to form one collective work reflecting the diverse perspectives and imaginations of the young artists. Their completed piece is now on display, alongside Garry Noland’s work, at the Center, where it will remain until the close of the Transformers exhibit on Dec. 17.

“Working with these young artists reminds me that art, through youth and youthful actions, rejuvenates our society,” Noland said. “Art is a synonym for the problem-solving process, and our embrace of creativity enhances our individual lives and our entire culture. I loved working with these students.”

Regular hours for the Ruth Funk Center are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The center is next to Evans Library on the Florida Tech campus, 150 W. University Blvd. in Melbourne. Admission is free. For more information, visit or call 321-674-8313.


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