The Plug-In Studio logocollaborations in art and technology
The Plug-In Studio collaborates with young people and adults in underserved Chicago communities.
plug-in graphic
Participants playing art games at the Street Arcade, Sept 2015 (photo courtesy Robert Banke).
Two students demonstrate their interactive sound sculpture.
Exploring electronics through Squishy Circuits.
A student demonstrates an interactive kinetic sculpture incorporating found objects.
A soft circuits workshop at Breakthrough Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A student builds an interactive kinetic sculpture.
Participants playing art games at the Street Arcade, Sept 2015 (photo courtesy Robert Banke).
An artist-teacher consults with a student on his video game.
A student programs a PicoCricket.
An interactive kinetic sculpture.
Artwork for a video game.
A explores inputs and outputs with littleBits.
Students created a collaborative piece using the IR capability of the PicoCrickets.
Exploring electrical circuits with Squishy Circuits.
A student refines his character design for a video game.
A Squishy Circuit fish.
A student demonstrates her Dancing Doll kinetic sculpture.
Exploring Squishy Circuits at an ArtMakerSpace event.
A participant in an ArtMakerSpace event.
A student adds color to orignal artwork for his video game.
Background artwork for a video game.
A young participant explores the rgb LED.
Two students discuss the code for their video games.
Exploring littleBits.
An artist-teacher assists a young participant at an ArtMakerSpace event.
An artist-teacher discusses game design with a student.
A young participant adjusts a littleBit.

Plug-In Studio News

MAY 2016


Join us for the Revelations Opening Reception on Fri May 13, 6-10pm at Chicago Art Department, 1932 S Halsted....



MAR 2016

The Plug-In Studio presented at SXSWedu.

Kerry gave a Playground Talk called The Street Arcade: Socially Engaged Video Games on Monday, Mar 7 @ 4 pm in the Austin Convention Center Ballroom EFG.

FEB 2016

Teen artists can sign up now for REVELATIONS AUGMENTED GRAFFITI, a digital street art project we're doing in partnership with The Graffiti Institute. In this tactical media project, Kerry Richardson and Miguel Aguilar/Kane One will work with 11 teen artists from the Pilsen area to create augmented reality graffiti where digital art is overlaid on a physical space through an augmented reality app on a smart phone. This project is FREE for teens; funds generously provided by Chicago Art Department through its Learning Is A Lifestyle public action project. Additional support from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

JAN 2016

The Scratch Foundation recently invited us to publish a photo essay on our experiences realizing the Street Arcade. Read our narrative detailing the nuts and bolts of the project and the role of the Scratch programming language in our process here.




DEC 2015

The Street Arcade named BEST IN SHOW at ARC Gallery's "I Can't Breathe" juried show.

Register now for Bits + Beats: Creative Coding for Music Videos, a free class for South Side teens at Hyde Park Art Center. Create pulsating patterns of colors and shapes to accompany your favorite song using Processing, a coding language made by artists for artists. No coding experience necessary! More info here.


NOV 2015

The Street Arcade installed at ARC Gallery as part of a juried show called "I Can't Breathe."

Joins us at the opening on Friday Dec 4 6-9 pm. A small version of the Street Arcade (1 console with all the games) will be mounted in the gallery from Nov 25 - Dec 19. More info here.

Other events this fall...
e-Textiles workshop for girls only. Nov 18, Breakthrough Arts and Science Academy in East Garfield Park. Kerry Richardson lead a soft circuits workshop for girls using Adafruit Gemmas and LEDs. More info here.

Electronics && Cardboard!
Three ArtMakerSpace events at Chicago Public Library branches this fall. Young people and their families are invited to join the Plug-In Studio to make interactive, kinetic sculpture at these free workshops at the Avalon, Logan Square, and Sherman Park branches. Registration required, contact the branch for more info.

And some news...
We'll be presenting the Street Arcade project at SXSWedu (South By Southwest) in Austin TX on March 7, 2016. Stay tuned for more info...

SEP 2015

The Street Arcade was a huge success! See photos from the event and play the original social issue videogames here....



Coming in October...
A new digital art course offering for teens: MegaPixels. Taught by Lindsey French, this course is offered at the Hyde Park Art Center and is free to teens attending South Side high schools.

JUL 2015

The Street Arcade videogame project is now underway. Steve Ciampaglia and Kerry Richardson are collaborating with 13 teen artists to create art games based on issues the teens choose. The project culminates in an outdoor Street Arcade on September 2 from 7-9:30 pm with custom-made, old-school console controllers and large screen video projection. More info here. This project is generously supported by A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art.


We are also very pleased to announce that the Plug-In Studio will be collaborating with The Graffiti Institute on an Augmented Reality Graffiti project this fall.

Also this summer: Plug-In Studio artist Anthony Ladson taught two summer camps for elementary and middle school students at Oak Park Education Foundation's BASE camp.

APR 2015

The Plug-In Studio is very pleased to announce that we were named 2015 Fellows by A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art.

From A Blade of Grass (ABOG):
ABOG selected seven artists and one artist collective as 2015 recipients of the ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art. Sol Aramendi, Laura Chipley, Steven Ciampaglia & Kerry Richardson, Suzanne Lacy, Mary Mattingly, Nigel Poor, Dread Scott and Adaku Utah will receive a one-year fellowship that pairs project support with strategic assistance, assessment tools, video documentation, and other tailored resources. Fellows applied via a nationwide open call and were chosen for their outstanding artistic ability, the innovative and ambitious quality of their proposed projects, and the viability of their projects in everyday life.

Our ABOG Fellowship will support The Street Arcade, a collaborative, community-based, new media art project set to begin this summer in Chicago.

MAR 2015

LEVEL UP: 3D Video Game Design for Teens, taught by Anthony Ladson at the Hyde Park Art Center, is free to teens attending South Side high schools.

JAN 2015

A course offering for teens: Video Game Design. Taught by Miguel Perez and Anthony Ladson, this course is offered at the Hyde Park Art Center and is free to teens attending South Side high schools.


DEC 2014

The Plug-In Studio is hosting an ArtMakerSpace event at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Join us for an afternoon of physical computing using cardboard + electronics at the MCA's December Family Day program. Best for ages 3-10.

Saturday DEC 13 from 11am-3pm


NOV 2014

Steve and Kerry presented at the Creative Technologies Symposium at Teachers College Columbia University in New York. We hosted one of our ArtMakerSpace events for participants (cardboard + electronics) and presented a poster on our 8-bit Art Games projects.


OCT 2014

Kerry and Steve presented at FabLearn 2014: Conference on Creativity and Fabrication in Education at Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto. We presented "The Plug-In Studio: Art Education for the Maker Age" and hosted a workshop roundtable on the hand-cranked cardboard automata projects we've done with 1st year BFA students at SAIC, adult learners at the Harold Washington Public Library, and pre-service art teachers at NIU.


OCT 2014

The Plug-In Studio was recently highlighted on the website of the Scratch Foundation. The Scratch Foundation supports projects to make coding more accessible and appealing for everyone. The Foundation Retro 8-bit Video Game Lab. Read more about our art game classes and use of Scratch here.


FALL 2014

This fall, we're offering the Art + Tech Maker Studio for teens attending South Side high schools. This class is offered in partnership with the Hyde Park Art Center and starts September 30. Students will make interactive, kinetic sculpture and installation works using littleBits, including the new programmable Arduino Bit.


AUGUST 2014

Steve and Kerry (and Luca) presented at the Scratch@MIT Conference on Aug 6-9.

Poster session Aug 7:
The Plug-In Studio: a Portable Classroom
Poster session Aug 8:
Creating 8-Bit Art Games with Scratch
Panel Aug 9:
Scratching Deeper: Expanding Accessibility


SUMMER 2014

The Plug-In Studio is leading free workshops at the Chicago Public Library Innovation Lab:

Jun 14:   Scratch
Jul 22:    Scratch
Aug 25:  Handmade Cardboard Automata

Workshops are free and open to anyone 14 years + older.


MAY 2014

The Plug-In Studio was featured on the littleBits website. littleBits are one of the tools we used in the ArtMakerSpace series. littleBits highlighted the project as a case study for a Nonprofit Out-of-School Education Program. Visit the littleBits blog here.
Download the pdf of our interview here.


APRIL + MAY 2014

ELECTRONICS + CARDBOARD = ArtMakerSpace!
The Plug-In Studio hosted a series of pop-up, drop-in, art + tech maker events at community partner sites around Chicago. Read about the ArtMakerSpace series here.

See tons of photos and videos here.

Funding for the ArtMakerSpace series is generously provided by The Propeller Fund.


SPRING 2014

The Plug-In Studio is currently offering a class called ROBOTIC ART at our partner site, the Hyde Park Art Center. Students are using PicoCrickets to design, build and program interactive, kinetic sculpture from Legos and found materials. Plug-In Studio Co-Founder/Co-Director Steve Ciampaglia is teaching this class along with Miguel Perez, a recent graduate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


JANUARY-MARCH 2014

The Plug-In Studio offered 8-Bit GAMES, a video game class using Scratch and the old school, 8-bit aesthetics of Atari at our partner site, the Hyde Park Art Center. Plug-In Studio Co-Founder/Co-Director Steve Ciampaglia is teaching this class along with our fantastic teaching assistant Miguel Perez.