Announcing: A $2,500 grant from BlackRock Inc. will be used to help establish a new Digital Media Lab at West Windsor Arts Center.

Leonardo da Vinci is noted as saying, “To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

His words could not be more relevant today. We live in a world connected, influenced and dominated by technology. The way we communicate is changing every day, as are the ways in which we approach daily tasks in our lives. Whether we ask “Siri” to play our favorite song rather than manually pressing play or use our phones to lock the doors to our homes from miles away, the digital age is truly transforming our world. But what does this digital revolution mean for industries that use traditional means of communication, such as the artist and their canvas? With the evolution of technology and science, the artist’s canvas is expanded through these digital mediums. Artists can channel their creativity and produce art in a uniquely innovative way that contributes to the advancement of understanding across disciplines.

In recognition of these changes and in order to support the advancement of the contributions of the arts to the digital revolution, the West Windsor Arts Center has made a commitment to build a new Digital Media Lab. A $2,500 grant from BlackRock Inc. will help to get the program off the ground.

“By marrying the arts with the digital realm, the Digital Media Lab will open the door to a whole new world of creative possibilities for students to develop, refine, and edit their stories through new, innovative mediums,” says Aylin Green, Executive Director of West Windsor Arts Council. “We will continue to seek funding to fully realize this dream at our facility.”

The BlackRock grant will fully fund the purchase of four Apple iPads, tablet stylus pencils and professional software applications. Additionally, NRG Energy’s in-kind donation of a 3D printer and iMac will add to the growing program.

The new program will be integrated into the art center’s current curriculum with class offerings encompassing major areas of digital art creation, including Filmmaking and Visual Arts.

Classes in filmmaking will encourage students to use their vivid imaginations to bring untold stories to life. The Digital Media Lab will facilitate students’ learning through the entire film production process, from storyboarding and directing, to filming and piecing together their story’s narrative, to editing techniques.

Digital Visual Arts classes will focus on the fundamentals of animation and illustration. With animation dominating television, movies, video games and novels, the opportunity to gain the skills to understand and practice these valuable concepts has never been more in demand. These classes will allow students to transfer their creations from paper to the digital canvas, while learning the fundamentals of animation software, character development, perspective and consistency from accomplished teaching artists.

This fall, the first class to utilize this technology will be the Saturday Comic Book Studio, taught by Ryan Gilleece.

For more information, please call 609-716-1931.

— Many thanks to our intern Marysa Pratico for her contributions to this article.