A new partnership is bringing arts-based computer science to Aroostook County.

The Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) and Wintergreen Arts Center are teaming up for the AR Girls project. The AR Girls project is the first of its kind in the nation aimed at increasing the participation of girls in STEM careers by empowering them to design Augmented Reality (AR) to communicate topics that are important to them and their community.

Augmented Reality is a contemporary mode of interactive storytelling in which a computer or mobile device is employed to blend real-life and digital content.

AR Girls runs from summer to fall and provides hands-on design experience for teen girls to explore and communicate with digital interactive art and design.

Ruth Kermish-Allen, PhD, executive director of MMSA, said she is excited to be partnering with Wintergreen Arts Center. “We had an outstanding experience piloting the AR Girls program last summer with Waterfall Arts in Belfast, and look forward to growing the program with Wintergreen in Aroostook County.”

Dottie Hutchins, Wintergreen’s executive director, calls this an amazing opportunity.  “Being a partner in the AR Girls program provides us with the high-quality support and direction we need to take the next step in the digital arts initiative we launched last year with MMG Insurance’s technology grant.  The timing is perfect.”

MMSA is providing a two-year commitment of support to assist Wintergreen in bringing AR Girls into its programming portfolio. Wintergreen is also awarded a stipend of $4,000 and $10,000 for the first and second consecutive years.