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

Entrance

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.