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Founders

Balam Soto – Lead Creative Mind

Our kits are based on the work of award winning artist and developer, and OWL co-owner, Balam Soto.

Photo by Shana Sureck

Balam Soto is an artist and maker of software and hardware. He creates contemporary, exploratory artworks that fuse low tech with high tech, including interactive art installations and public artworks. Working independently on the artistic and technical sides of his pieces, he brings a unique vision to his work.

Originally from Guatemala, Balam was introduced to technology at the mature age of 26, when he touched his first computer and fell in love. After completing one year of school learning to fix computers, he was off and running. He became a self-taught developer, using the tremendous resources available through the open source movement to teach himself about coding, software and hardware. Already a visual artist, he began integrating technology into his artworks as a way of expressing and reflecting contemporary experience.

As Lead Creative Mind, Balam integrates creativity into every Open Wire Lab kit, workshop and residency project that he designs, always with the intention of making technology more accessible.

Expertise includes:

  • Aesthetic and Data Visualization through Artworks
  • Creative Coding for Art
  • Interactivity Conceptualization and Design
  • Research and Development of High Tech-Low Tech Fusion
  • Physical Computing and Implementation in Art
  • Embedded Electronics and Circuit Design
  • Hardware design
  • Instructor of technology and art

Shelli McMillen Soto – Lead Business MindShelli

Shelli McMillen Soto provides the professional acumen to bring Open Wire Lab (OWL) to life. With a diverse background in economic and community development, Shelli understands the business side of the Maker Movement and helps implement Balam’s creative and technical ideas. The Maker and Open Source movements align with Shelli’s strong passion for developing economic opportunities within communities.

As Lead Business Mind, Shelli manages OWL’s finances, marketing and sales campaigns.


Open Wire Lab

Together, Balam and Shelli have created Open Wire Lab to help provide affordable, accessible and creative projects that stimulate STEM / STEAM learning, generate curiosity and encourage a DIY, Do-It-Yourself, attitude and aptitude.

What’s STEAM? Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, & Mathematics