Everyone loves their Sundays. You may spend it going to your chosen house of worship, having brunch with family and friends, going on a long drive, or, as I like to do, reading the New York Times Sunday edition. But there’s something new in the air to do that also relates to Sunday (and New York). Today, Sunday, September 20, 2015, the people of Red Hook and surrounding Brooklyn, along with other New Yorkers, will be able to see something quite spectacular on the water there at Valentino Pier besides the sunset. It is the first radio-controlled and 3D printed boat race on the waterfront. And it’s organized by young people in the community who are enrolled in a technology/3D printing training program ideally leading to employment in the technology sector.
Beginning at 4:00 PM, the public is invited to cheer on as “3D-printed boats race to deliver mini-cargo along the pier.” The event is organized by Red Hook Initiative’s Digital Stewardship Program. This is a great program that employs young adults, ages 19-24, training them to use technology for future employment and community-building. Digital Stewards spend the first six months receiving training in technology and media production. Then, a three-month community-building development initiative culminates in a tech-based business internship. RHI has graduated 15 Digital Stewards, with 75% of program graduated attaining further employment and education, technology fellowships, and training programs.
On the RHI Digital Steward blog post, the event is described as follows:
“The race will consist of these 3d modeled boats that the Digital stewards created with help of David and Cassie from Pioneer Works. The stewards were able to get familiar with the software ‘rhinoceros’ and then set their paths on figuring out how to create cargo boats, in attempts to replicate Red Hook pier in the early 1800’s and late 1900’s with the loading and unloading of the cargo on the ports in red hook. The boat race is called the ‘Red Hook Regatta’ and the event will be taken place on September 20th from 4-7 PM at Valentino pier. See you there!”
The regatta is a collaborative effort between Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation and Red Hook Digital Stewards. Laurenzo Reed, a graphic designer working on a clothing line, and Jesus Benitez, a game designer interested in 3D modeling, animation, and project planning, decided to merge Red Hook’s shipping history with 3D printing technology– all as part of their Digital Stewards capstone project.
Benitez, who first got exposure to 3D printing through the program, explains:
“My job as a digital steward is to show everybody the ways of technology and introduce it to everybody.”
Impressive. The regatta was conceptualized and organized by the two program participants, who will finally get the chance to show off their new found 3D design and printing skills in a way that truly involves their community. As far as I am concerned, they are hired! But I am sure they have also been learning that 3D printing is not just a job, it’s a passion.