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October 15, 2019Cart


by Westchester County Business Journal

STEM educator Digital Arts Experience moves to Scarsdale

Rob Kissner of Digital Arts Experience. Photo by Ryan Deffenbaugh

The Digital Arts Experience, a provider of after-school and weekend classes covering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), has moved its operations from downtown White Plains to Central Park Avenue in Scarsdale.

The Digital Arts Experience moved in mid-October to a 4,200-square-foot space at 303 Central Park Ave. from its previous headquarters, an 8,000-square-foot office on the first floor of 170 Hamilton Ave. in the White Plains Central Business District.

Rob Kissner, president and founder of the company, said, “We have technically less square footage, but its more usable square footage.” He said the move allows the company to be closer to the Scarsdale and Edgemont schools districts, with which it frequently works.

Most important, it has a parking lot of its own. Kissner said the most common complaint the company heard from parents was about parking in downtown White Plains.

When the company first considered its move, Kissner said it approached some parents about possible locations. “We asked, ‘More convenient? Less convenient? What do you think?’ They were like, ‘We don’t care as long as it has parking.'”

The space, a former gym, also allows for an open layout, with rows of Mac computers lining the building’s main room. Kissner said the company’s previous space had a number of small common areas and hallways that were not usable for classrooms and teaching space.

Working with Rakow Commercial Realty Group, the company signed a lease for the new space in September. Kissner said the conversion from gym to teaching center wasn’t actually that difficult. The gym had been wired for TV screens in its workout areas and even featured a smoothie bar that the company has converted into a snack bar in the waiting room for parents.

The company replaced some of the floors, knocked down walls that once formed the gym’s locker rooms and repainted the walls. A month later, they moved in.

The new space features a main classroom area where students have access to 22 Mac computers, a 3D printer and a number of Mac laptops and Chromebooks. There also are three small private teaching spaces, with a fourth private space currently used for storage that they plan to convert into a multimedia production space with video production and recording labs.

Founded in 2012, Digital Arts Experience hosts summer day camps, after-school courses and Saturday programs for kids and teenagers that cover computer programming, 3D printing, graphic design, multimedia production and app development.

In 2014, it launched a mobile tech lab, dubbed the DAExpress, to offer after-school programs on location in Westchester and Fairfield counties. Last year, the company added a selection of adult courses.

Kissner said the company will adjust some of its offerings to take advantage of the new space, starting with its spring courses. It will also look to add two or three staff members to run additional programs.

The off-site work the company does is the biggest part of its business, Kissner said. It plans to run seven classes per day, five days a week off-site this winter. Still, Kissner said he hopes Digital Arts new presence on the busy commercial thoroughfare of Central Park Avenue brings with it some additional visibility for
its main location.

“We have parents with kids in the car constantly passing by our location,” Kissner said. “So in terms of visibility and the right kind of traffic, this is a very good spot.”