Rome’s city center is about to gain STEAM


ROME – Project Fibonacci Foundation, a New York-registered nonprofit charity, plans to establish a fully operational STEM plus arts (STEAM) center in downtown Rome by early 2023.

The facility is envisioned as a collaborative hub focused on programs designed to develop the local youth workforce in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Aptly named the Multiversity of Science, Art and Technology – or MOSART – the center will be part of an interactive exhibition center showcasing art inspired by artificial intelligence (AI), including including traditional artwork, a local venue for special community activities and guest speaker events, and a Metro-hub portion for local STEAM leadership education programs.

According to Foundation President Dr. Andrew Drozd, MOSART will be a community asset operated by the foundation.

The foundation’s board raises funds for the project and seeks community support. Through public grant programs, tax-deductible private donations, and corporate donations, the foundation plans to raise $1 million this year. The funds would cover the acquisition of facilities, renovations, first-year operating expenses and job creation.

The foundation will offer a limited, tiered Early Founders Club for organizations, families, individuals and other stakeholders who wish to make a tax-deductible major gift to the project on a first-come, first-served basis. The foundation will dedicate offices, building wings and Founder’s Bricks in the name of donors, family members or organizations to establish a lasting community legacy.

Included will be an array of permanent exhibits that pay tribute by name and spirit to the industry, technology and manufacturing leaders who have built the Mohawk Valley focusing on aspects of science, technology, arts and history.

It will highlight the influencers who have contributed to our economy, our history and our cultural enrichment.

“This is a chance for community members and stakeholders to step up and positively influence our future and build on the shoulders of its young citizens for generations to come,” Drozd said.

The brand image of multiversity, according to Drozd, reflects a combination of ideas: the cosmological “big bang” and infinite multiverses, university education and the diversity of ideas in the context of multidisciplinary learning.

“This is an entirely new value proposition and futuristic museum concept,” Drozd said. “MOSART will be a popular destination for visiting schools and organizations. Downtown Rome, and its revival of the downtown revitalization initiative, is a logical choice for its physical presence with its proximity to a leading research laboratory and an emerging art scene. MOSART will be neither just a museum nor just a center for learning activities, but both and more, and it will achieve the goals of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) strategy.

The URI strategy includes the expansion of STEM industries and the training of the STEM workforce through an innovation hub and the growth of the entrepreneurial network.

“A dedicated MOSART center establishes permanent roots and deepens our commitment to the local community for job growth,” Drozd added.

Drozd foresees the initial creation of 4 to 6 new jobs. It also plans to host outside groups with common interests in promoting STEAM leadership education for STEM workforce development.

Drozd said he believed the Mohawk Valley community benefited from an energetic, forward-thinking youth culture centered on science, art and technology and envisioned what future generations would inherit.

“Rather than a retirement village image, we need to expand our youthful workforce and strengthen the pool of local young talent by guiding and developing career opportunities,” Drozd said. “But more work is needed to connect students to area job opportunities to keep them local.”

MOSART will showcase our region’s strengths in science and technology, the growing arts district, its rich history and cultural diversity and in particular its people, businesses and industries as a means of engaging youth.

“What if we could capture lightning in a bottle by highlighting our region’s contributions to science, art and technology in one place and showcase it in a compelling way?” Drozd asked. “Consider the Mohawk Valley’s rich heritage of engineering, technology and manufacturing and the movers and shakers who made it possible.”

Drozd suggested holding joint community special events at MOSART in cooperation with the Capitol Theater, Rome Art and Community Center, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, Rome Historical Society, Fort Stanwix National Monument, Griffiss Institute , SUNY Polytechnic, Mohawk Valley Community College and other organizations. Long-term collaboration with these community partners and others will ensure their success and sustainability in the community, Drozd said.

Activity rooms or makerspaces would be used to host the foundation’s annual lineup of STEAM programs, ranging from sculpting spaces to joint research learnings, mini-drone camps and annual STEAM conference workshops.

Exhibits will cover the history of technological achievements in the Mohawk Valley. SciArt exhibits and projects would include the art of resonance, sound sculpture, bio-inspired engineering, the science of art conservation, and the art and mathematics of the cosmos. Displays could include pendulum clocks, walk on water exhibitions, art through chemistry, and more.

AI-Inspired Art is another offering where the public could interact with AI-powered technological art exhibits for a unique discovery and learning experience. The foundation has already reached out to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC and the World Science Festival in New York to explore partnerships for traveling science and art exhibitions in the future.

When asked why art plays such an important role, Drozd said, “Ours is not a STEM program. It’s no surprise that art can have a positive effect on STEM outcomes, but we looked at this impact in more depth. »

Drozd and his team conducted extensive research on human and machine learning frameworks, noting that codebreakers in World War II in the Pacific theater were largely musicians and mathematicians. Drozd is working on the STEM-Prism project which uses AI as a delivery platform for STEM education plus the arts and hopes to monetize it as a product to generate sustainable revenue for MOSART.

“STEAM’s broader vision is to drive thought leadership, experience, and the advancement of the mind through entrepreneurial, community, and economic well-being,” Drozd said. “In addition to a show floor, offices, activity and creator spaces, we would seek to lease space to other organizations to generate stable recurring revenue.”

The foundation is in discussions with several landowners to determine the best option for MOSART.

The Board of Directors, which includes Business Side Executive Director Bob Bojanek and Education Side Co-Executive Director Tamalin Martin, both from Rome, as well as a panel of celebrity/industry advisors and a Johnson Space representative NASA Center, is committed to carrying the project through to completion.

ANDRO Computational Solutions, LLC has announced that it will contribute up to $50,000 to initiate a business matchmaking program on behalf of MOSART.

For more information on fundraising options and to participate in an opportunity to create a new legacy for the future growth and prosperity of Rome and the greater Mohawk Valley, contact Dr. Drozd at adrozd@projectfibonacci. org or call 315-335-1238.


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