Fab Lab Inspires Cutting-Edge Creativity

Two years ago, emerging technology in both sculpture and photography led UM’s School of Art to create the Fab Lab – a hub designed to promote exploration in new technologies for artistic endeavors.

Thanks to the AGL Foundation’s investment in the vision, UM’s Fab Lab opened in 2014 and has been pushing the limits of creativity ever since.  All students now have access to tools such as 3D printers, a vinyl cutter and a laser cutter, which are actively being repurposed to make art.

MFA student using the Fab Lab.Nearly every art major and all fine arts graduate students use the lab during their time at UM. It’s also become a significant outreach tool, attracting over 100 Montana high school students as part of the Montana Arts Institute, and continues to foster collaboration between departments on campus.

“Sharing and overlapping is the point of an institution like UM,” said Brad Allen, director of the School of Art. If the School of Art can continue to invest in the Fab Lab, UM may find itself in the midst of an exciting new direction in art that has implications for countless areas of study.

“Change starts with individual artists who push the limits and try new things,” said Allen. “The Fab Lab is a catalyst for that kind of exploration.”

Pictured above: MFA student Beth Hutala uses one of the four 3D printers in the Fab Lab.