Art contest celebrates the upcoming Lucy Mission to the Trojan Asteroids, which launches October 16
NEW YORK CITY – OCTOBER 14, 2021 Students at one of New York City’s first Charter Schools will discover deep space from the heart of Queens with their state-of-the-art eVscope 2 telescope, thanks to a former student’s contest-winning, asteroid-themed work of art.
“Dream to Discover,” created by 23-year-old Kierstyn Lau of New York City, was selected as the Grand Prize Winner of the Unistellar Asteroid Art Contest. Lau won a Unistellar eVscope 2 that will be awarded to The Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, as well as a New Astronomy prize package. Lau attended Renaissance from kindergarten to fourth grade, and she says it holds a special place in her heart.
“This piece represents the never-ending possibilities that lie in your future and the hope to one day reach your dreams,” said Lau of her winning artwork, a pencil drawing with a digitally painted background. “The young woman has her eyes closed, relishing in this moment. She marvels at the idea of what lies out there and the possibilities that await her. The drawing of the girl is left uncolored to represent the unwritten future. Only she can determine what hers will be.”
“We hope the children of Jackson Heights peer through the eyepiece of the eVscope 2 and see the never-ending possibilities that Kierstyn’s artwork represents. Her art beautifully conveys the sense of wonder, connection and meaning that many of us feel when we explore the night sky,” said Whitney McChane, Vice President Communications, Unistellar. “It’s exciting that kids of all ages at Renaissance Charter School will get to have this same magical experience.”
Worldwide Art Contest Inspires Space Discovery
Unistellar’s Asteroid Art Contest honors the upcoming Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids, launching from Florida on October 16, which numerous citizen astronomers contributed to through their eVscope and eQuinox observations. Unistellar also recently celebrated World Space Week: Celebrating Women in Space with a special mission to get 1 million girls to discover space between Oct. 4-10.
In addition to the Grand Prize honoree, four category winners were selected from age-based groups:
- Winner, Near-Earth Category (Up to age 11): “2021 SG – The Big One!” by Violet L., age 8, USA
- Winner, Satellite Category (Age 12-14): “Flyby the Future: Lucy 50” by Geneva W., age 14, USA
- Winner, Main Belt Category (Age 15-18): “La Pluie” by Loic T., age 17, France
- Winner, Trojan Category (Over age 18): “Dream to Discover” by Kierstyn Lau, age 23, USA
Entrants were judged by a panel from Unistellar and SETI Institute, as well as accomplished space artist Ron Miller, and were evaluated on Creativity (30%), Connection to Theme (30%), and Ability to Inspire Us to Discover Space (40%).
Students to Explore the Universe from the Heart of Queens
“I wanted The Renaissance Charter School to receive this telescope because in New York City it’s harder to connect with nature and see the stars,” said Lau. “I’m grateful for the many school field trips to museums and parks that allowed me to learn about and enjoy nature. I hope that having access to this telescope will spark the students’ curiosity and interest to pursue that curiosity.”
The students at Renaissance Jackson Heights will be able to observe distant space objects such as galaxies, nebulae and star clusters, even from the light-polluted neighborhoods of Queens, using their groundbreaking eVscope 2 smart telescope. Students will also hunt asteroids and detect exoplanets, as part of Unistellar’s global citizen astronomy program, and hear from some of the world’s leading astronomers, thanks to Unistellar’s scientific partnership with the SETI Institute.
“Because of Kierstyn’s art, the teachers at Renaissance Jackson Heights will have a powerful tool for introducing kids to the Universe, and students will be exposed to the thrill of outer space and the joy of scientific discovery,” said McChane. “We’re honored that Kierstyn chose such a worthy benefactor for her eVscope 2 prize.”
Opened in 1993, The Jackson Heights Renaissance School was one of the first Charter Schools in the City of New York. Today, Renaissance is one of the city and state’s most successful charter schools. The PK-12 program of Renaissance enables students and families to enjoy a sense of continuity and stability as the students progress from elementary school to high school.
The majority of students come from the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, North Corona, Astoria and Long Island City. These communities are characterized by the rich ethnic diversity that is reflected in its student body. Renaissance has 671 predominantly minority students (68% Hispanic, 18% Asian, 8% White, 4% African-American, .5% Native American, .5% Native Hawaiian and 2% Multi-Racial) and 77% receive free or reduced meals.