Arts Engagement

Activate your big ideas 

We feature arts throughout the Big Ideas Fest. From performances to artist installations to experiential Action Collabs to the interactive Media Lounge, we invite you to activate your big ideas by engagement with the arts.

Collaborative Art

Book Labyrinth Walking a labyrinth of 2,000 books, attendees reflected on and re-imagined the schools of today.

Learning Still is an interactive art installation created by more than 175 participants at Big Ideas Fest in Half Moon Bay, California, and hosted by ISKME. As an opening activity, participants were asked to write a few words or draw an image or pattern on a translucent acrylic shape about a memorable learning experience that impacted their lives. The pieces were anonymous but included the age of the participant when the memorable experience took place. The culmination represents a powerful story of collective learning from earliest memories to present day. Learning Still demonstrates the power of collaborative art-making through storytelling, and reconnects us to the experience of being a learner, both inside and outside the classroom.

EduTrees Participants interacted with Sculptor/Installation Artist Robert Bengtson’s art installations that use the blank leaf as a starting point to collect and share your ideas, concepts, and inspirations. EduTrees are clustered in thematic groves throughout the Fest. 

Deconstructed Pianos Mauro Di Nucci deconstructs pianos to invent new sounds and sculpture, which will inspire us throughout the Fest. Join the discussions at to see how ISKME’s Teaching Fellows are applying his approach of remix and creation, integrating his unique art form into multidisciplinary K-12 lesson plans and activities

Media Lounge: This is your space to innovate. Use a flip cam to capture Fest moments and upload them to our YouTube site. Interview fellow participants for our radio station Brainstorm on the SmartBoard. Create, mix, and share. 

ISKME's Big Ideas Fest 2012, Half Moon Bay, CAImprov We use Improv techniques in Action Colabs to get the Big Ideas flowing.  
Tenets of Improv
  • Suspend Judgement
  • Let go of your agenda
  • Listen to receive
  • Build on what you receive
  • Make your partner look brilliant
  • Serve the scene
Buttonolgy The Big Ideas Fest currency of interaction is Buttonology. Share, collect, and wear them with pride. You have a few in your registration package and more can be earned from the Registration Desk, in the Media Lounge, in your Action Collab, and from your peer participants. Show off with “I’m Tweeting,” “Best Team Player” or “Interviewed by Roadtrip Nation” and give out “You Inspired Me.” 


Film: Documenting and reflecting the experience

Roadtrip Nation is a movement that empowers students to hit the road and interview leaders from all walks of life to learn how they got to where they are today. In 2009, was created along with an educational curriculum, The Roadtrip Nation Experience, to help students explore pathways relevant to their individual interests. This past school year, The Roadtrip Nation Experience guided more than 50,000 students across the nation to interview leaders in their local communities to explore pathways and opportunities for their futures. Come see Roadtrip Nation in action. You are invited to have a cup of coffee with the Roadtrip Nation team every morning at their Green RV, located on the roof of the parking garage just outside the Big Ideas Fest Foyer. They’ll be interviewing people throughout the Fest, so make some time for this amazing group of students.



Aerial Photography 

At Big Ideas Fest 2012, under the direction of photographer John Q., we participated in the creation an Aerial Photo, spelling out our shared commitment to the Open Education Movement. Watch the photo being created. 




Experienced Keynote and Rapid Fire Speakers




Rapid Fire Talk Visuals  

Inspiring Performances

Nilaja Sun’s No Child Solo show based on her experiences teaching in the challenging environment of a New York City high school. She embodies personae ranging from a security guard, school administrator, student, and teacher. Sun’s performance was an off-Broadway smash, garnering several awards including a Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, an Obie, and the Best One-Person Show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. As a solo performer, Nilaja’s projects include critically acclaimed Blues for a Gray Sun (INTAR), La Nubia Latina,Black and Blue,Insufficient Fare,Due to the Tragic Events of...and Mixtures. Recently, she made her film debut in The International, alongside Naomi Watts and Clive Owen. A native of the Lower East Side, she is a Princess Grace Award winner and has worked as a teaching artist in NYC for eight years.

Center Moves This San Francisco based group of internationally-renowned movement artists, teachers, and technologists, performed both an introduction and a reflection piece at the Fest. The group offers tools, teachings, and performances in support of creating active, real-time connections with the body. Center Moves is comprised of Brenton Cheng, Christine Cali, Vitali Kononov, Laura Stokes, and Albert Mathias.

Fritz Grobe & Stephen Voltz Founders EepyBird 1/10/100: Taking Creative Ideas All the Way to Unforgettable Most people first met EepyBird, a.k.a. Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, as the Coke and Mentos guys. From their first Internet video, featuring that explosive combination of candy and soda, to viral campaigns for brands including OfficeMax, Coca-Cola, and ABC Family, EepyBird has won four Webby Awards and two Emmy nominations. Altogether, EepyBird’s videos have now been seen over 150 million times. Fritz and Stephen have appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Ellen, The Today Show, and Mythbusters, and they have performed live in Las Vegas, New York, Paris, London, and Istanbul.
Keith Terry & Crosspulse featuring Bryan Dyer, Steve Hogan and Evie Ladin, is a quartet combining voice percussion, rhythm dance, beatbox, and body music. Their inventive, interactive repertoire creates music you can see and dance you can hera. Crosspulse, Ins. is an Oakland, California-based arts organization, dedicated to the performing, recording and education of cross-cultural rhythmic arts. They produce the International Body Music Festival, presenting artists from around the world who explore the sonic possibilities of the instrument we all share.