Around the Way: Rhythmic Metals

Ed Lay, a computer programmer, finds his way to construct metal artworks and instruct community members at the Richmond Art Center.

Ed Lay, 56, has been writing software for the School of Education at UC Berkeley for the last 30 years. Although his job requires him to sit in front of a computer and solve problems in a virtual environment, Lay’s career trajectory took an interesting turn by accident.

He started taking his daughter to classes at the Richmond Art Center almost twenty years ago and got tired of just dropping her off at the kids’ studio. The metals and jewelry studio right across the hall caught his attention. He decided to take a few classes himself and see what happens. However, it turned out to be something that kept fascinating him for the next 17 years.

“I realized early in my metals education that I would never learn everything,” Lay said. “The prospect of there being always something new to learn I found very attractive.”

He gradually rose through the ranks thanks to his background in science and education, eventually becoming Richmond Art Center’s head metals teacher. Having taught computer programming and physics to naïve students who had no notion of the subject, Lay said he’s still doing the same thing at the art center despite the differing nature of metals and programming.

“It’s something that’s always fascinating me,” Lay said. “The moment when a student learns something is very exciting to me.”

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