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Students Inspire Artwork on New Wind Turbines

Grant Willingham and Kimberly Redinger each will receive a $500 scholarship for their designs.

Written by Sally Logue Post

This is the final design Sandia National Laboratories chose for its turbines that will be built at the Reese Technology Center.

This is the final design Sandia National Laboratories chose for its turbines that will be built at the Reese Technology Center. Click to enlarge

Science and art meet on two wind turbines soon to be installed as part of a research wind farm at Texas Tech’s research facility at Reese Technology Center.

Texas Tech has a partnership with Sandia National Laboratories to install two turbines, the first of several to be built at the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWIFT) Facility.

In an effort to incorporate the arts- and student-based perspectives, Texas Tech hosted an art competition. The Sandia turbines will feature art inspired by students in the senior-level design class of Carla Tedeschi, program coordinator of communication design in the School of Art. Each of the 11 students in the class presented their original art designs to a panel of Texas Tech judges. Six designs were selected to send to Sandia for the final decision.

While Sandia did not choose to exactly replicate a single student’s design, they did combine two entries to create the final concept. The two students who created those designs are Grant Willingham of Wichita Falls and Kimberly Redinger of San Antonio. Each will receive a $500 scholarship from the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The base of the turbines will include logos of both the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories.

The base of the turbines will include logos of both the Department of Energy and Sandia National Laboratories.

Even though Sandia chose to combine two designs, for Tedeschi the experience was perfect for her class.

“The main objective of graphic design is to satisfy the needs of a client,” she said. “A key characteristic of a designer is the ability to compromise when necessary and adapt to client preferences while maintaining quality design. The student has to learn how to separate themselves from their work.”

While working with a federal agency was a new experience for her class, working with clients was not.

“This is a service-learning class that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning,” Tedeschi said. “Some call it education in action. Students apply theories to practical problems and have the opportunity to design for a client in a controlled environment. The experience is invaluable in preparing the student to work in the professional design field.”

The students had to follow strict guidelines in developing their designs. For example: only 50 percent of the turbine could be painted; blades could not be painted; and cyan blue and dark green, the colors which represent Sandia and the Department of Energy (DOE), had to be incorporated in the designs.

John Schroeder, director of Texas Tech’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, said he was impressed with the students’ designs and was delighted that wind science and art could come together for this project.

“These are tremendously talented students who put a lot of time and work into this project,” Schroeder said. “We are going to have one of the best wind energy research facilities in the world with great partners in Sandia and DOE, and adding art to the science is a perfect way to top it off.”


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National Wind Institute
National Wind Institute

National Wind Institute (NWI) is world-renowned for conducting innovative research in the areas of wind energy, wind hazard mitigation, wind-induced damage, severe storms and wind-related economics.

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