Squid-A-Rama combines art and science

By Chase Carvalho - Staff Reporter

Dozens of kids sliced into squid at Highline's Marine and Science Technology Center this past Saturday evening, all in the name of art.

The fifth annual Squid-A-Rama had its most successful turnout yet with more than 200 attendees of all ages.

The primary goal was to educate people about marine biology and art.

"Art is a great way to teach kids about science and vice versa", Said Fred Andrews a member of the Des Moines Arts Commission.

The event was hosted at the Highline MaST Center Aquarium on Redondo. In part because a major part of the event is catching squid and releasing them into the Puget Sound.

The squid come close to the shore this time of year to mate,  then reproduce and die at the end of their life cycle. Fisherman take advantage of this and do what is called jigging. They cast their lines into the water from the dock at night, using a light to attract the squid. A very popular spot for this activity is right outside the Highline MaST Center Aquarium.

Kids were able to dissect squid while being taught about their anatomy by members of Highline's marine biology program. The squid were from a local store however, not from the Puget Sound. 

Many kids attending said "this is so cool," while others dissected their squids, some said they saw an interest in marine biology.

The event also held a raffle for a giant plush squid named Cal, short for calamari. The proceeds from this raffle went to support the Des Moines Art Commission's rotating art sculpture program, and other events that it hosts throughout the year.

On the wall in the main building was the 2017 Squid-A-Rama art exhibition with more than 100 entries from kids who attend school in Des Moines. The 45 finalist entries were displayed. They were handpicked based on originality, artistic talent and overall squidness.  

The event is a joint partnership between Highline's marine biology and the Des Moines Arts Commission. The two groups have teamed up to host Squid-A-Rama because art and science go hand-in-hand.

Many educational institutions are focusing their curriculum's on STEM, standing for science, technology, engineering and math. Squid-A-Rama is an effort to incorporate an A into the curriculum for art. 

"Art is an important part of education, creativity is a good outlet and encourages better education in other areas. We would like to see art incorporated into the STEM curriculum and make it STEAM", said Jean Munro chairman of Arts Commission.

The event climaxed with divers taking 15-20 squid caught from the Puget Sound back to the water and releasing them to carry out their mating cycle.

This part of the event was streamed to Facebook Live and is still available to view if you weren't able to see it in person. The Facebook page the Nov. 11 video can be found on is named Highline MAST Aquarium at Redondo.

Munro and Andrews say they hope to continue to be able to host this event with a larger turn out each time, and raise awareness about art and science in order to get art into the STEM curriculum. 

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