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About this Video

2017 TEDxBeaconStreet Interview with Cristina Powell. Following a thesis from the MIT Media Lab, Artmatr is building art robots, leveraging digital input technologies to control physical output technologies. Many digital inputs are accessible to populations to whom traditional art tools are inaccessible. The talk encourages inclusion of art and robotics in traditional STEM education (to form STREAM) to allow for creative physical outputs as part of the process. The work is inspired by artist Benjamin Tritt who taught the team at MIT how to reverse engineer the process of painting and design robots that serve as brushes, thus bridging the physical and digital domains, and by Cristina Powell of A Brighter Way – an artist diagnosed with cerebral palsy and who has dedicated her life to painting in order to help others.

About the Speaker

Cristina Powell

Cristina Powell

Cristina Powell is an artist and a volunteer with A Brighter Way, a nonprofit named after one of her paintings. Powell was born in Peru and was immediately adopted. When she was 15 months old, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and wasn’t expected to walk or talk—although she went on to defy these odds.

Encouraging words form her 6th grade teacher about one of her paintings inspired Powell to focus on making art. When she discovered that her pictures of flowers and bright, primary colors made people feel good, she started to reach out to people through hospital visits and through her paintings. Powell said, “My mom and I like to say…our lives are like a garden…always changing and challenging, but full of color, love, and happiness.”