Bringing Structure to Biology
A celebration of the PDB Art project
This week we celebrated the 4th year of the PDB Art project, at our public exhibition at the Michaelhouse Cafe in Cambridge. Joining us at the official opening of the exhibition were the students who created the artworks, along with teachers, parents, art society members, and local scientists.
Over the past year, students from schools across Cambridge and Hertfordshire have been creating works of art inspired by the molecules they have discovered while exploring the Protein Data Bank. This week, PDBe hosted a private viewing of the exhibition to celebrate the fantastic work created by these young artists. The exhibition, hosted in collaboration with the Art Societies Granta and CANTAB, includes a range of artworks including prints, sculptures, ceramics and more!
This year we had five schools involved in the project, with 135 students (aged 12-17) creating over 200 pieces of art. Deepti Gupta, who coordinates the PDB Art project, introduced proceedings, emphasising how impressed she is with the "maturity, insightfulness and talent of these young people." She also spoke of how indebted the PDBe is to the fantastic teachers involved in the project, many of whom joined us for the opening, highlighting how these "open minded and enthusiastic teachers were totally up for this challenge."
One of these teachers, Alison Elmslie from Impington Village College in Cambridge, gave her own perspective on this interdisciplinary art-science project. She emphasised how centering the art classes around the 3D molecular structures in the PDB really helped give a focus to the art students. This enabled the students to gain experience in a number of art techniques, including print-making, batiq and sculpting, while also obtaining an insight into the impact of these tiny molecules.
Also speaking at the opening was Ewan Birney, co-director of EMBL-EBI, who talked of how impressed he was with the work produced by these students, describing the exhibition as "just brilliant". Ewan also highlighted the PDBe calendar, filled with examples of the previous year's artworks, as a fantastic way for this work to be further shared with the scientific community.
The prevailing opinion from long-standing supporters of the project was that it has gone from strength to strength throughout these 4 years. We hope that PDB structures will continue to provide inspiration for young artists, providing a unique and insightful view of the molecular world.
For more information about the project, please visit our dedicated PDB Art page. The PDB Art exhibition continues at the Michaelhouse Cafe, Trinity Street, Cambridge until Saturday 27th July.