Beth Tobey

The Art Crawler Brings Art to the People

Beth Tobey @ 12/30/2015

Sean Pace, local artist and part of UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) cohort recently shared with us his vision for taking art to the people with his fantastic contraption --the “Art Crawler.” Read on to learn how you can help bring digital tools and arts equipment to underserved populations in Santa Cruz!

Beth: Where are you from and what brought you to Santa Cruz?

Sean: I am from Asheville NC and have come here to attend UCSC and am currently a prospective MFA Graduate for the Digital Art and New Media Degree. I have been a sculptor for the past ten years working on the east coast creating kinetic works that did not utilize digital techniques at all (so my education here has been a steep learning curve to say the least.) I have turned to the tools of the digital environment because of the design capabilities that are inherent in the software and the power of micro-controllers for sculptural application.

Beth: What gave you the idea for the Art Crawler?

Sean: I have been a social practitioner for most of my life. I believe that creativity is a powerful tool for building community within the public sphere. The Art crawler is an attempt to broaden the impact of creative intervention. I had worked in the school system of North Carolina as a resident Artist teaching students how to build kinetic art and realized that the general public has had very little exposure to art.

I would like to live in a world where art is important, and for that to happen it must be a part of people’s lives. For that reason I have worked to bring the act of making to the public.

Beth: What do you hope the Art Crawler will achieve?

Sean: Simply put, I would like very much to have a positive impact on this world a few people at a time and this feels a just service to provide.

Our mission is to develop a creative practice with undeserved portions of our population to provide access to digital tools and to share in a co-creative atmosphere for the expansion of inspiration, joy, and imagination generation.

These are the different context that I see the Crawler in. On one hand the Crawler can be a residency program for existing artist that would like to have a field base and mobile workshop as they work directly with the environment. Also it can got to undeserved schools and provide students with the digital tools that are not readily available. I see it working with existing community centers and outreach programs such as the Fort Mason Art Center which it is scheduled to be at for the months of April, May, and June. This opportunity is going to be the first public test of the platform.

Beth: What equipment do you have currently?

The Crawler is equipped with two 3d printers, One 4’X*’ CNC router, Laser cutter, welder, lots of hand tools, digital microscope, Wacom tablet and a large metal lathe. I plan to keep evolving the project to meet the needs of the participants that I end up working with.

Beth: How can people help make the Art Crawler dream happen?


This is a great question! If people would like to get involved of course please email me at 00pace@gmail <dot> com. I have many places that I could improve upon such as, I could use help generating the Crawler business plan as I am a sculptor and not an MBA student.

I am thinking of starting a kick-starter video and could use some input on that as well. The projects that I plan on creating with people will hopefully use micro-controllers such as the Arduino or Raspberry Pi but at this point I need to partner with people that already have a strong coding background as I am very new to it. So if you know how to code and would like to build some kinetic sculpture I’d love to meet with you. I am installing a solar power system in it and could definitely use the help of someone who knows what is what.

Lastly If you are a teacher and have a class that could benefit from actual hands on building in subjects like Engineering, Art, or Science I would like to see how I could provide an amazing opportunity to materialize some ideas that your class may have.

Learn more about the Art Crawler at http://artcrawler.org/