What moves you? That’s the question three UCF graduate students pose in a new interactive art installation to be featured during Orlando’s 3rd Thursday Gallery Hop next week.

The installation, dubbed “CONNECTIONS,” is a 10-foot sphere illuminated by projections of images and videos about movement. It’s inspired by recent debates over creating alternative transportation in and around Central Florida, including the SunRail commuter train and Florida High Speed Rail.

Viewers of the installation are asked to respond to the question, “What moves you?” They answer by sending text messages that are projected onto the sphere.

“We were inspired by the transformative potential of SunRail and Florida High Speed Rail to change the way Central Floridians move and engage with their communities and beyond,” says Dave Moran, one of three UCF Digital Media and Studio Art master’s students who created the installation.

Ultimately, “CONNECTIONS” aims to encourage dialogue about mobility and community design in Central Florida through art, Moran says. The commuter and high-speed rails offer alternatives to Orlando’s auto-centric community design and have the potential to improve the quality of life for Central Floridians, he added.

Moran and fellow students Jillian Perez Dudziak and Gary Seymour Jr. created “CONNECTIONS” as part of a semester-long class project with Digital Media Associate Professor Phil Peters, and they began showcasing the exhibit at local cafes and markets in April.

“The students were tasked with creating an innovative, interactive installation about our environment,” Peters said. “This project is unique in the way that it engages the community to celebrate the relationship between art and urban policy and planning.”

The installation will continue to engage viewers beyond the classroom when “CONNECTIONS” is featured at Orlando’s Downtown Arts District 3rd Thursday Gallery Hop on Aug. 19.

The hop officially starts at 6 p.m. Moran says “CONNECTIONS” will be on display from 8 to 11 p.m. outside the CityArts Factory, located at 29 S. Orange Ave.

Third Thursday is a monthly event that invites attendees to celebrate art and culture during a “hop” through galleries, restaurants and boutiques in Orlando’s Downtown Arts District. The students’ art inspired this month’s theme, which explores the relationship between art and transportation through a series of installations and pieces designed by local artists.

“We were thrilled when the UCF students approached us to host ‘CONNECTIONS’ and were inspired by their energy and ideas,” said Shanon Larimer, executive director of the Downtown Arts District. “Our installation exhibition allows Central Floridians and visitors alike to consider all of their alternatives to travel and how they impact their wallets, conveniences, environment and the overall economy.”

The Downtown Development Board, the City of Orlando and Metroplan Orlando joined UCF and the CityArts Factory in supporting this month’s 3rd Thursday event. Airstar America donated the sphere used in the installation.

To learn more about “CONNECTIONS,” visit www.txtart.info, or become a fan of “CONNECTIONS” on Facebook.