AniMakerspace, created by Redlands-based Garner Holt Education Through Imagination, is one of the 2021-2022 recipients of a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The award is presented by the Themed Entertainment Association, a global organization representing creative design and production companies and attraction owners.
AniMakerspace is an immersive educational experience that allows students from elementary school to middle school to complete a program in a learning space designed to mimic a real theme park design studio.
“We are grateful to TEA for this wonderful recognition,” said Garner Holt, founder and president of Garner Holt Productions Inc., in a press release.
“I think the AniMakerspace is the most important job we’ve ever done. It helps give kids something totally different in school. It inspires the next generation of dreamers and actors, ”said Holt.
“The AniMakerspace is like a miniature of Garner Holt Productions,” Ryan Rainbolt, president of Garner Holt Education Through Imagination, said in the press release.
“Students learn about the creative process of animatronics, from the initial concept to programming and everything in between. They have all the tools and learn all the ideas to have a realistic creative experience in a super detailed environment, ”Rainbolt said.
The first AniMakerspace opened in 2018 at Franklin Elementary School in Redlands and since then nearly a dozen more have opened in elementary to college schools in California. Garner Holt Education Through Imagination plans more across the country.
Each AniMakerspace features design elements unique to its host school, but with a similar complement of high-tech machinery, tools and instruction for students, according to the press release. The curriculum built around these tools and techniques focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
“Makerspaces are nothing new to schools,” Rainbolt said in the press release. “But we’ve taken that concept to the next level with a thematic environment and related curriculum. We teach STEAM concepts but geared towards things like rides and attractions with animatronics.
In the AniMakerspace program, students learn character design, show writing, sculpture, engineering, costumes, lighting, voice recording, video production, commissioning programming, and more.
Garner Holt Education through Imagination is a subsidiary of Garner Holt Productions Inc., a designer and producer of animatronic figures for theme parks and attractions.
For more information, visit educationthroughimagination.com and garnerholt.com.
For more information on the Themed Entertainment Association, visit teaconnect.org.