Kate Warren, executive director of Art 120, is thrilled about this year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire. A participant of the inaugural 2014 Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, Kate reflected on her positive experience and expressed her excitement for the years to come. For last year’s Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire, a team from Art 120 and several local artists created the renowned ‘Fire Tornado.’ Kate Warren, Conrad Tengler, Mike Harrison, Andrew Nigh and Brian Dyer all collaborated to build the purported, “largest known outdoor Fire Tornado ” Named ‘Mr. Twister,’ this Fire Tornado plays on the natural phenomenon of fire rising in a spiral− given the correct apparatus and atmospheric conditions. As an added bonus, Mr. Twister has a logic board that synchronizes music to the spiraling fire. Kate commented that Mr. Twister is, “better enjoyed at night,” but that didn’t stop the popularity of last year’s presentation; we learned that people were coming from Atlanta and Nashville to see Mr. Twister.
Warren said the team took approximately two months to build Mr. Twister, but the main leg-work took place in the two weeks before the presentation. When Art 120 isn’t building reusable fire structures, they are busy teaching youth how to build ‘art bikes.’ Art bikes are what they sound like− creative and embellished bikes, adorned with ornaments and themes. Using the concept of the art bike, the team used trial and error to connect a recumbent bike to a propane tank and turret. Although the team had doubts, they managed to create this masterpiece full of both creativity and technology. When we asked if Mr. Twister is going to make an appearance for this year’s Mini Maker Faire, Kate said that Art 120’s plans are, “bigger and better than ever.” Although we cannot reveal what Mr. Twister has up his ‘spiral,’ if you will, we can promise that the innovations are impressive and ingenious.
Behind Mr. Twister, there is an incredible non-profit organization. Art 120 creates an interactive way to raise awareness and boost the creative community in Chattanooga. Art 120 offers programs for underprivileged youth and thrives on the mentality of, ‘what inspires the youth.’ The art bike program, a concept carried over from Kate’s hometown of Houston, Texas, has had tremendous success in the community and in the lives of underprivileged children. “The best part of what we do,” says Kate, “is bring joy to the community.” That’s exactly what Art 120 does. If you’re in the neighborhood on September 19, come to the First Tennessee Pavilion to support this labor of love and witness the new-and-improved Mr. Twister.