After School STEM Programs in Westchester

Written by Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations & Founding member of The Digital Arts Experience

When The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) of White Plains opened its doors in July 2012, our main purpose was to provide After School & Summer Tech Camps to kids and teens throughout Westchester County.

As The DAE began to expand upon the courses taught inside our facility, so did the demand for us to bring our programs offsite as well. With this came the idea for our Mobile Classroom, The DAExpress (The Digital Arts Express).

The DAExpress was created to provide the most cutting edge technology in a state of the art learning environment available to the Westchester community.

Inside The Digital Arts Express, or The DAExpress.

Inside The Digital Arts Express, or The DAExpress.

Able to accommodate up to 10 students at once, The DAExpress is designed to act as one of our classrooms on wheels. With this mobile computer lab, we can offer nearly every single class that we teach in our White Plains facility, anywhere in Westchester, Southern Connecticut and Rockland.

The DAExpress is equipped with 10 brand new Mac Book Pros, a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer, and the best digital teaching tools. We bring The DAE to you!

Since its inception in September, we’ve run classes and programs with nearly 15+ unique local schools and organizations, including:

  • Children’s Village of Dobbs Ferry
  • Don Bosco Community Center
  • Greenville School
  • Greenwich Academy
  • Greenwich Country Day School
  • Heathcote Elementary
  • JCC on the Hudson
  • Rye Arts Center
  • SAR Academy
  • Seeley Place
  • Solomon Schechter School of Westchester: Upper & Lower School
  • Westchester Hebrew High School
  • Westchester Library System
  • Westfield Day School
  • White Plains YMCA
  • White Plains Youth Bureau

…and more! We also run private, custom classes that we bring right to your door.

Students at Solomon Schechter show off their final projects in Scratch coding!

Students at Solomon Schechter show off their final projects in Scratch coding!

In addition to that, we don’t always use our Mobile Classroom when we travel to schools. Often times we will drive over and use the school’s computer room or media lab and provide classes out of there. In many cases, schools and organizations do not have the necessary equipment to provide such classes on their own. That is one of the reasons that The DAExpress came about.

The DAExpress allows us to bring everything: instructor, class content, and equipment. And the best part is – we come to you! Topics that we teach include:

  • 2D & 3D Animation
  • 3D Minecraft Animation
  • 3D Printing
  • Game Programming with Java
  • Graphic Design
  • Introduction to Computer Science with Python
  • Scratch Coding
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Visual FX & Video Production
Animation Instructor Nicholas Sceusa teaching 3D Minecraft Animation using a powerful 3D Animation program, Blender.

Animation Instructor Nicholas Sceusa teaching 3D Minecraft Animation using a powerful 3D Animation program, Blender.

We can also provide Professional Development to school staff. In short, there is a lot we could do with our Mobile Classroom. As time goes by, we discover new and unique uses for it. We are excited to keep it “rolling” and see where the future takes us!

Do you know of a school or local organization in need of After School STEM related programming? Contact us at or feel free to visit our website to learn more.


“Scoot & Shoot” MeetUp a Success

Last night, The Digital Arts Experience hosted their 2nd Meetup with group, “Digital Artists of Westchester“.  This time around, it was centered on digital photography. The DAE staff set up different “shoot stations” around the facility. Each Digital Art Enthusiast had the chance to both model – or SCOOT – to each shoot station, as well as actually shoot photos of other scooters. Try to say that 5 times fast?  Camera basics like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO were first taught, discussed, then immediately put into action!  The best part was that each attendee was encouraged to take lots of photos, share with the rest of the group, and receive feedback and tips on how to make their photo look better. Everyone collaborated and helped each other out – providing tips, tricks, and advice which transformed originally subpar snapshots into extraordinary photographs! Among the stations set up were two areas with green and grey backdrops, as well as a dark room for experimentation with light painting.

The images below are just a few examples of some of the amazing photographs that were taken during the evening. Everyone had a wonderful time, learned a new thing or two, and went home with some fancy looking photos!  We plan to host another “Scoot & Shoot” in the near future.  Join the “Digital Artists of Westchester” to stay up to date with the latest happenings!


Do you have an amazing camera but want to learn how to better use its features? Leave your camera in auto all the time? Do you take stunning photographs but don’t know how it happened? Have you ever wanted to lean how to use photoshop to enhance your pictures or restore old tattered prints? Take your camera off of “AUTO” and take a class at The Digital Arts Experience. We take a both creative and technical approach to Digital Photography. You will learn how the settings on their camera affect your photos, as well as the creative concepts used to compose a stunning image. In addition, you will learn to enhance your photos with photoshop, as well as have the opportunity to explore some of the more creative aspects of digital photography, like light painting!  SIGN UP TODAY – we’ve got open enrollment for January classes. Each class runs for 4 weeks and meets once a week for 2 hours. See the dates and times below:

Tuesday Class: Jan. 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th from 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Saturday Class: Jan. 12th, 19th, 26th, and Feb. 2nd from 1:30PM – 3:30PM

“It’s easy to leave your camera set to Auto, but knowing the settings can make the difference between good and great photographs. This course will cover ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture and White Balance, and how each affects your photos.”

Feel free to give us a call 914-644-8100 or “shoot” us an e-mail for more information:

#AskTheDAE Screencast #2: Hosting a Web Site Using Dropbox

You are familiar with the idea of using Dropbox, but did you know that it has the ability to host a website?  Watch our second installment of #AskTheDAE where Rob Kissner goes through this little known, but highly useful, process!  And remember to tweet #AskTheDAE for questions, comments, or suggestions for next week’s screencast.

#AskTheDAE Screencast Series: Encrypting Text in Evernote

Rob Kissner, president of The Digital Arts Experience, explains how to encrypt and unlock text in Evernote. This can be used to keep all of your usernames and passwords in one safe place.

If you have any questions you’d like to submit, or suggestions for a future screencast, please tweet #askTheDAE.