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February 2020

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Impact Arts Company at Maker Faire Rochester 2019

By Sophia Rosman

On November 22-23 of 2019, I led an educational airbrushing booth at the sixth annual Maker Faire Rochester. Held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, the two-day event consisted of over 200 demonstrations and activities celebrating art, technology, engineering, and more. Our team from U of R had a great time engaging with students in a setting filled with innovation!

Sophia Rosman working her booth during the Maker Faire

Sophia running her booth during the Maker Faire. Photo courtesy of Nathan Nguyen.

The first day, Friday, was called “Student STEAM Fest.” Over 2,000 students in 3rd-8th grade classes visited the Faire for STEAM fest. When the Faire opened to the public on Saturday, close to 5,000 guests attended. On Friday, our booth was flooded with students excited to try airbrushing and learn about optical illusions. On Saturday, many guests who visited our booth had seen airbrushing on baking and automotive TV shows, and they were curious about its other applications. They were excited to learn more about the history and culture surrounding airbrush, the technical components of the tool, and the way it relates to the optical illusions we displayed in the booth. Most of all, they were eager to try painting with the tool they’d rarely seen in real life.

A group of students watch Sophia do an airbrush demonstration

Students were fascinated by a demonstration before they tried airbrushing!

The Maker Faire was exciting for me because I collaborated with University of Rochester students from other disciplines as I shared my unique passion with a large audience. On Friday, we incorporated an optical illusion activity into the airbrushing lessons. To prepare for this, I worked with U of R Brain and Cognitive Science students and Psychology students. They helped me learn about the interdisciplinary theories that correspond with trompe l’oeil and other techniques artists employ. During the Faire, we answered questions about these theories in addition to questions about the science, arts, business, and technical components of airbrushing.

On Saturday, in addition to presenting airbrush demonstrations, we sold custom airbrushed merchandise and bodypaintings. We also raffled off a free custom airbrushed shirt and collected email addresses for the monthly Impact Arts Company e-newsletter. My hope is that guests who interacted with the booth will book us to airbrush and bodypaint at future events. I am happy to have been part of such an engaging educational event that also exposed the community to what I offer for events and custom orders.

The collaborative work behind the scenes is what enabled this booth to happen. I learned about the Maker Faire from a U of R e5 student who hosted a Maker Faire booth last year. She led another booth at the event this year, and she was an amazing resource for anything from the application process to day-of-event logistics. The other U of R students who helped out in the booth were by my side from the 6:30am setup through the 5:00pm load out. The team designed the beautiful booth setup, carried heaps of equipment, captured beautiful moments on camera, constantly entertained the crowd, and – perhaps most importantly – they befriended many other makers.

Sophia's Maker Faire booth

Photo of the Impact Arts Company booth courtesy of Nathan Nguyen.

Impact Arts Company- an e5 Project

When I was accepted into the e5 program, I had already been running a small face painting, body painting, and airbrushing business for over 5 years. I primarily work with clients who pay an hourly rate for me to face paint, body paint, or airbrush at private or corporate events. Juggling has taken me to the White House, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and on trips across the US and internationally. When the e5 project led me to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., my bodypaintings were even printed in a magazine.

This is one of the custom shirts I airbrushed live at Maker Faire Rochester.

One of the custom shirts Sophia airbrushed live at Maker Faire Rochester.

Through e5, I was able to take more business classes and access advisors who helped me discover different paths in this entrepreneurial journey. e5 coursework and conversations have reshaped the way I consider my impact on the environment, the people I work with, and society as a whole. I was particularly excited to be part of the Maker Faire so that I could join conversations with Rochester’s young makers about the realities of entrepreneurship and the impact of interdisciplinary arts. I hope that when they left our Maker Faire conversations, the students were inspired and excited for their futures!

Sophia Rosman ’19, ’20 (e5) is an E5 student at the University of Rochester. Her majors are Philosophy and Art History, and her minor is Business. You can find out more about Impact Arts Company by visiting

By | Entrepreneurship

Impact Arts Company at Maker Faire Rochester 2019

Maker Faire Rochester is an annual gathering of crafty, creative people who share their work and learn from each other. U of R e5 student Sophia Rosman led an educational airbrushing booth at the sixth annual Maker Faire Rochester, where she and her team engaged with students in a setting filled with innovation!

Read more about Sophia’s entrepreneurial background and her experience at the 2019 Maker Faire.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

The Lost and Found

By Linnie Schell

In November 2019, 200+ makers, creatives, technology builders, fabricators and crafters descended on the Riverside Convention Center for a two-day event celebrating the joy of creating. As part of my e5 program, I create art exhibits in community spaces. Based on the work that I had done on campus in previous years, I was invited to bring my team to the convention. We were offered a great space, and I immediately said yes – excited to showcase our work off-campus and for a wider audience.

Linnie Schell's Maker Faire team

Amazing Lights and Sound Team Members

As I’ve written about on this same blog, I couldn’t have done any of this without my team. We worked closely in the weeks before the event. Along the way we received help from many quarters, from borrowed equipment and storage space, to a truly amazing number of boxes from many different shipping departments. I personally spent so much time ferrying boxes from Douglas Kitchens that the staff started waving me though the line automatically. We also received generous financial support from multiple departments and grants, including the Ain Center. We developed an installation design exploring a mythical world called The Alexandria Complex, where all lost things eventually end up. Ever had a sock go inexplicably missing? Chances are, the Alexandria Complex is where it went.

Linnie's art exhibit at Maker Faire


In the past, we had spent probably 24-36 hours installing each event. This year we didn’t even know the load-in times until a week before the event – but we knew that whatever it was, it was going to be short. Thankfully, we were able to choreograph the crew of helpers and technical people along with all of the equipment, and finished set-up early the next morning. The first day was dedicated to students only, and over 1,800 students from as far as 2 hours away attended.

Saturday was open to the general public, and boy did they show up – over 3,000 attendees. We had a near constant stream of kids, parents, and other community members through the exhibit. We encouraged people to search for secrets, and leave a few of their own behind. The most moving part of the exhibit was a “Lost-and-Not-Yet-Found-wall”, where we encouraged audience members to pin things that they had lost. Postings about everything from toys to lost loved ones bloomed on the walls.

Interactive piece of Linnie's Maker Faire exhibit

The Lost-and-Not-Yet-Founds

Reactions were overwhelmingly positive. One of the things that I was most proud of was our success in providing things for every age group, so that everyone who went had a good time. We also were able to represent the U of R and provide something unique. The Maker Faire was overwhelmingly filled with STEM booths, so some people that walked through definitely got more art than they were expecting. A few people were confused, everyone thought it was cool. A definite success, and one that I am excited about continuing to replicate in the coming years, at the U of R and beyond.

Saralinda “Linnie” Schell ’19 (’20 e5) majored in Computer Science, Political Science, and Turkish Studies. Her e5 project is focused on immersive art and theater, and using these installations to promote collaboration with artists at the U of R and the greater Rochester Community.