With support from the Office of Creative Inquiry, a team of motivated Lehigh students has come together for a Lehigh Valley Social Impact Fellowship (LVSIF) project called "Open Doors to the Arts" that aims to create immersive tours for students of the Centennial School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The school, which hosts the East Coast's first Immersive Learning Center (ILC), serves students with emotional and behavioral disorders and autism spectrum disorders.
The tours will “transport” the students to the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG), allowing them to experience the world of art in a whole new way. Built in 2021, the ILC features three walls displaying 360-degree videos and photos, providing students with a unique and engaging learning experience.
“We know that exposure to the arts provides a range of potential benefits that enhance the educational outcomes for students,” said Centennial School Director Julie Fogt. “The Lehigh University Art Galleries feature a variety of artists and styles, which will also expose our students to diverse perspectives and cultures that may help broaden their understanding of the world and foster empathy and understanding for others.”
The Open Doors to the Arts project is specifically designed to reach middle school students and some high schoolers at Centennial School. To create engaging content, team members use a 360-degree camera to capture images of the art gallery and then develop interactive and accessible content tailored to the needs of students with disabilities.