Robotics and Arts Collide in a New Upper School Class

Anisa Walji

When Matt Abbondazio came to Greenhill in 2021, he was hired to develop and build an innovation program that would provide all students with a learning path for entrepreneurship within technology. However, there was another class he was hoping to introduce to the community: Immersive & Interactive Art.  

Abbondazio and Thomas Martinez came together and created a brand-new Greenhill class exploring 3D Arts and engineering to create innovative thinkers and ideas.  

“This class is about interactive design and how a piece of art or sculpture can physically respond to the viewer,” said Abbondazio, Director of Design and Innovation. 

Abbondazio served as Assistant Head of School for innovation at his previous school, which inspired him to bring this class to life at Greenhill. He knew Martinez had an interest in interactive art and pitched the idea to him.  

“We have been thinking about this class for a year. Art is just as important as the other core subjects that are being introduced as STEM, so we wanted it to be included to form STEAM,” Martinez said. “We wanted to make sure we jumped in with some ideas on how we could utilize the art department throughout some of the structured courses they are doing in science and math and engineering because art is kind of the basics for all creations and the things we have.” 

The new class, Immersive & Interactive Art, is a year-long elective course where students will work together to create interactive pieces of art and sculptures.  

“It’s about developing a true, immersive space with your art, and making your artwork something people can interact with, opposed to looking at it on the wall or on a pedestal,” said Martinez. “So, they are utilizing new tools to create art, which is technology, and trying to make their vision a reality.” 

Students have been enjoying this new class and have liked the problem-solving aspect of the class.  

Senior Marielle Benitez decided to take Immersive & Interactive Art because she took AP 3D Art and Robotics her junior year and decided to try something new. 

“I like the collaborative space and how it’s easy to bounce ideas off of Mr. Martinez and Mr. A,” Benitez said.  

After working in the STEM field for a long time, Abbondanzio realized how the field was dominated by boys and hoped his new class would encourage everyone to join.  

“The purpose of the innovation program is to allow everyone at Greenhill to learn how to identify the right problem to solve, and then build a functioning, physical, digital or social solution,” Abbondanzio said. “At the core of innovation is people and story.  We want students to tell a story, and this is a great class to do that.”