What is Bioart?

BioArt (biology + art) is an art practice where humans work with live tissues, bacteria, living organisms, and life processes to create artwork. 

There are many different ways to approach Bioart as a new and exciting STEM topic that can be done safely and ethically by all ages and skill levels. From top art and design schools such as the Royal College of Art in London to Parson’s School of Design in New York City to your school or home, Bioart offers many opportunities to explore the boundaries between science and art. 

A popular way to explore the bioart field is through bacterial painting, or agar art. Leveraging the age-old technique of painting and combining it with the cutting-edge activity of growing genetically engineered cells, you, your students, or kids can express what is important to them through a visual arts activity while doing and practicing science.

Bacterial painting is a uniquely rewarding and challenging form of art because the “paint” is living. It grows and changes through time! This is unlike traditional painting, where once your paintbrush stroke lands on the canvas, it doesn’t change unless you add or mix something into it. The outcome of your bacterial paintings is a mixture of your strokes, the temperature at which you incubate your “canvases,” the time that you allow the cells to grow, and whether anything else in your environment landed on your canvas. Your very own living art!

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