Gina Gibson, 2006 MFA, is a multimedia artist and professor of digital communication at Black Hills State University. In the Summer of 2019, she was named as Sanford Underground Research Facility’s first Artist-in-Residence. Gibson first visited Sanford Lab in 2013 for the “Into the Dark: Artists Exploring Dark Matter” art exhibit, which challenged 22 prominent South Dakota artists to imagine one of nature’s most profound mysteries: dark matter. After that experience, Gibson began searching for residency opportunities at labs like Fermilab and CERN, before realizing an opportunity might exist in the Black Hills. She worked with Sanford Lab to develop and pilot the AiR program.
Sanford Lab’s undertakings often focus on science, technology, engineering and math; this project is just one of the ways the facility works to incorporate art, generating STEAM. Gibson says this project is one way of moving toward more interdisciplinary action, away from the academic silos that can stifle collaboration.
“Getting everyone into the same sandbox is beneficial, and I’d like to see education move that way more,” said Gibson. “That’s why I like interdisciplinary projects, so it’s really natural for me to view this as a mission, to make people more aware of both art and science.”