Reilly Center to sponsor 2013 Comet Festival Art Exhibit

Author: Jessica Baron

The Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at the University of Notre Dame is pleased to sponsor an art exhibit as part of the 2013 Comet Festival activities taking place in South Bend, Indiana from November 28 to December 8. The festival is organized by Chuck Bueter, an award-winning local amateur astronomer who leads astronomy education and public outreach programs both regionally and nationally. The emphasis on community outreach, sharing the wonders of science, and the way the art exhibit blends the arts and sciences fit precisely the Reilly Center's mission to "bring different disciplinary perspectives to the examination of conceptual, ethical, and policy issues related to science and technology."

The 2013 Comet Festival is a celebration of the scientific potential of Comet ISON, which is a sun-grazing comet from the faraway Oort cloud.  The comet  will pass close to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, hopefully leaving a tail of dust and ionized particles that will allow scientists to observe in rare detail the effects of solar winds. This scientific event will be celebrated all over the region, from cafes, brew pubs, and restaurants, to local schools, libraries, and planetariums. The festival will include telescope viewings, the art exhibit, speakers, a Comet Quest  treasure hunt in downtown South Bend, and concerts at the local venues Chicory Cafe and The Pool.

Marie Arch

The Comet Festival Art Exhibit will open at the Colfax Cultural Center from November 19 to December 19, with a formal reception taking place on Friday, December 6, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibit will feature art by adults as well as by children from the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC). Candace Butler, Art Facilitator for SBCSC has arranged for each of the over 20,000 children in South Bend schools to create a piece of art with a comet or solar system theme. The Comet Festival Art Exhibit will feature ten pieces from each of the 33 schools.

Festival organizer Chuck Bueter has been a passionate advocate for science education in South Bend and was the speaker for the first South Bend Science Cafe in September 2013, also co-sponsored by the Reilly Center. In July 2013, Bueter was awarded the Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. In 2004 and 2012 Bueter spearheaded Transit of Venus education, for which NASA recognized him as a significant partner in one of the largest education events in NASA history.

The Reilly Center promotes scholarly and public engagement with the ethical, legal, social, and policy implications of science and technology. The center promotes education and discussion through outreach to the Notre Dame and local community, scholars and scientists around the world, policy makers, journalists, and an engaged and aware citizenry.

For more information on the 2013 Comet Festival, see www.cometfestival.com.

Photo: "Close Encounters" by Marie Arch