The University of Findlay invites the public to celebrate the planned Joseph and Judith Conda STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics/medicine) Education Center addition to the Mazza Museum, thanks in part to generous lead financial donors Joseph and Judith Conda. A ceremony with the Condas, which will include the unveiling of architectural renderings, will be held Wednesday, April 3 at 3 p.m. at the Museum.
Joseph “Joe” and Judith Conda’s legacy of investment in quality and sustainable causes has greatly impacted Northwest Ohio residents, including Mazza Museum visitors of all ages who for years have enjoyed original picture book illustrations and innovative literacy and art programming. The couple has donated to the Tales for Tots program, which bears their name, and their enthusiastic support of the University of Findlay has also involved Joseph’s UF Board of Counselors membership and College of Pharmacy Advisory Board involvement.
Joe retired from Owens-Illinois, where he served as president of the Healthcare Packing Company and was a corporate officer. Judith, a retired special educator, has been active in public service and volunteer work for decades. The couple live in Perrysburg, Ohio.
The 4,000-square-foot STEAM addition will include a resource center and gallery. Along with the Conda’s donation, it will be funded in part with a $350,000 State of Ohio grant earned in partnership with Findlay City Schools. This grant is offered through the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee’s Cultural Grant Program. Other fundraising efforts and givers will assist with this project.
In collaboration with Findlay City Schools, this project will benefit local students in grades K-12. Teachers and more than 110,000 children in grades K-12 in the 96 Northwest Ohio school districts will also receive ample access to the space, and the community will be able to use it to host summer camps, youth leadership programs and more.
The Joseph and Judith Conda STEAM Education Center will be one of the first in the nation to blend a campus art museum with the hard sciences. It will include hands-on learning with picture books in an interactive, state-of-the-art learning environment, which studies have shown improves student learning outcomes.
From school-aged children learning about medium affordances, such as tissue paper versus wood or glass, to the physics and engineering that go into the creation of paper engineering (“pop-up books – an increasingly popular art and science form for students of all ages), the choice of colors, and the use/absence of whitespace and beyond, picture books are useful and practical resources to enthrall impressionable young minds in exploring complex STEAM concepts. Such learning will also embrace concepts that include the science and chemistry involved in the creation of paints; digital art formation through computer science, which also influences modern medical practices in the creation of joint replacement models; and many other ways art informs science and vice versa.
Inspired by the golden ratio, a mathematical equation commonly found in nature,the Joseph and Judith Conda STEAM Education Center will be designed to encourage and inspire. Seating and work stations in the resource area will maximize creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration among students. A bright color scheme and revolving artworks from Mazza’s collection will support an enthusiastic atmosphere. Four learning zones will cater to needs ranging from presentations and internet interactions to teamwork exercises.
The addition will be built on the east side of the Mazza Museum near the bell tower on Cory Street Mall. It will be located within close proximity to UF’s Newhard Planetarium in Brewer Science Hall, which houses physics and chemistry classrooms and labs; and the Frank J. Egner Center for Performing Arts.
The University of Findlay plans to host a groundbreaking ceremony in spring 2020.