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IDEA Collective was founded by Sam Castner and Lindsey Dean, otherwise known as Sam + Lin Designs.  Their studio resides and operates on a farm overlooking Keuka Lake, which for 9 generations has been intimately intertwined with their community in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. They lead numerous community-driven public art projects, create and collaborate on sculptures, and offer branding services to help local businesses promote their identities through metal outcomes. As a team, Sam and Lindsey have been exploring new ideas to bring hands-on, art-integrated learning to youth.


Sam Castner recieved a B.A.F.A. in Metal at Alfred University, tought at Hobart and William Smith College, and has led numerous craft workshops for grades K-12 and beyond.  Sam grew up on a 400 acre farm in Penn Yan, NY where working with his hands was second nature to him. He never did well in grade school, yet was ingenious, innovative, and a born leader.   The methods in which kids are "suppose" to learn never worked for him. He would draw pictures all over his notebook to learn vocabulary words and twiddled pencils with his hands to understand Spanish.  He was a visual and experiential learner informed by his farmer mentality to learn by doing, rather that being told.  Years later, now living and growing with the same community in the Finger Lakes, Sam's mission is to give back to students similar to him and be the person he never had.

Lindsey Dean, also know as the Welding Witch, is a craftswoman, sculptress, and jeweler from the Hudson Valley Region of New York.  She reiceived a B.F.A. in Metals at SUNY New Paltz, served as the Wood Studio T.A. at Peter’s Valley School of Craft in NJ, and has led her own hands-on workshops in New York City.  When she was 6 years old she wrote in a journal that one day she would grow up and become a teacher and make sculptures.  She collected dinosaurs, cars, and mini construction equipment and followed her creative impulses to paint, draw, and play with any "gendered" toy she wanted.  In High School she really wanted to take wood shop class because she didn't have the innate ability to construct things and wanted to dive into the unknown.  She was way too self-conscious because there were a lot of boys in the class, and decided against it.  Years later, she is currently living in Penn Yan where she met Sam and helped start IDEA. Since High School it has been her mission to dream the impossible, follow a mantra of inclusivity, and be the Welding Witch for youth women she never had.


IDEA Collective is supported by the Penn Yan and Dundee Central School Districts, ELEVATE Youth, and the Yates Community Center.

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Footage provided by Sarah Alexander