An inspirational meeting of the minds took place on campus in June 2012, when 350 big thinkers from more than 50 institutions attended the first TEDx Art Center College of Design conference. Featuring a diverse slate of A-list speakers on riveting topics ranging from oceanography and anthropology to human trafficking and responsible design, the event generated more than 50,000 Twitter impressions.
TED, the global foundation dedicated to “ideas worth spreading,” spawned TEDx, a local version modeled on the annual conferences and web lectures at TED.com. The aim of the independently organized TEDx events is to stimulate dialogue at a community level.
A year in the making, students Erik Molano GRPH 12 and Mariana Prieto PROD 12, built a case, found support and developed the TEDx Studio class to spread their message about the value of design for social impact. With guidance from faculty members Rob Ball and Petrula Vrontikis, a team of more than 40 students produced the successful day-long confab.
Following an exhilarating performance by soul violinist Lee England, Jr., Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman cited artists such as Beethoven, Keith Jarrett and Jackson Pollock in his presentation exploring improvisation through the relationship between making and knowing.
Don’t despair if you missed this thought provoking summit. All videos are posted online, plus the word on campus is more TEDx events are in our future.
Board of Trustees Adds Magnificent Seven
This past academic year, seven new members joined Art Center’s Board of Trustees. With backgrounds as diverse as they are distinguished, our new board members are unified by the desire to build upon Art Center’s strength and stature in the world of art and design. It’s a role that not only keeps them up to date on the school’s people, programs and priorities, but allows them to champion the college in both their professional and personal worlds. By stewarding its assets, they help to ensure that Art Center remains first choice for students, parents and donors.
Art Center’s new trustees provide their distinct knowledge, expertise and creativity to strengthen the College now and into the future.
Ronald I. Bension is CEO of House of Blues Entertainment, a Live Nation Company. He is focused on consolidating the brand’s 34 venues into a national platform. While chairman and CEO of Universal Studios Recreation Group, he founded the Discover A Star Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to high school graduates.
Wesley A. Coleman is the former executive vice president and chief human resources officer at The Walt Disney Company where he oversaw employee development, compensation and benefits for Disney’s more than 125,000 employees worldwide. Prior, he was vice president of global human resources at Nike, Inc. He serves on the board of the Los Angeles Urban League and assists the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the United Negro College Fund and other organizations dedicated to youth and education.
Linda M. Griego is president and CEO of Griego Enterprises, Inc., a business management firm she founded in 1986. Her extensive background combines business with government and includes an appointment as deputy mayor of the city of Los Angeles, as well as serving as president and CEO of Rebuild LA and the Los Angeles Community Development Bank. A graduate of UCLA, she is the recipient of its highest honor, the UCLA Medal.
Charles Floyd Johnson is an Emmy Award–winning producer with many notable projects, among them: NCIS and JAG, for television, and the feature film, Red Tails, for Lucasfilm and Twentieth Century Fox. He is a champion of the Samburu Project, which brings water to thousands of people in Kenya’s Samburu District. A graduate of Howard University, he was honored with its Outstanding Alumnus award.
Molly M. Morgan is the vice president of private banking at J.P. Morgan where she advises clients on a broad range of wealth management matters, including financial planning, asset allocation, tax strategies, trust and estate planning, and charitable giving. She serves on the board of the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.
Bonnie R. Nash is the founder of Bonnie Nash Consulting, which provides strategic planning, team building, executive coaching, human resources support and career consulting services to organizations and individuals. She is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization and has been a presenter at the Young Presidents’ Organization and Los Angeles Junior Chamber.
Charles E. Nearburg is president and owner of Nearburg Producing Company, a private oil and gas exploration company, which has received two environmental awards from the Bureau of Land Management. A passionate car racer, he has driven in the LeMans and Daytona 24-Hour Races and set a new land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in a car he designed and built.
Inspiring Sneaker Design from Pasadena to Portland
In May, a group of 20 Art Center students took a road trip from Pasadena to Portland, Ore., for a deep dive into the footwear industry.
For 14 long days and many late nights, students were in residence at the Old Town/Chinatown studio of the PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy founded by D’Wayne Edwards, the former design director for Nike, Inc.’s Jordan brand. With industry professionals guiding them and providing valuable feedback, the students worked on intentionally unorthodox shoe designs.
Edwards, an Art Center adjunct faculty member, challenged students to “design something that’s not in stores” and to “think about things other than what’s common.”
The intensive design workshop culminated with a presentation to footwear industry professionals, many of whom were alumni. Innovative designs included footwear for everybody from busy moms and roofers to trapeze artists, break dancers and paratroopers.
Industry reviews were extremely positive. Alumnus Al Van Noy PROD 87, vice president at Adidas AG, told one local reporter that the Art Center students did the same things he’s tasked to do at Adidas, but did so in ways that were surprising. He said they’ve stretched each brand’s boundaries.
“Growing up, my dream was to become a footwear designer, but I could not afford to attend design school,” Edwards remembers. He kept his dream alive by working at L.A. Gear as a temp, where every day he dropped his shoe designs into the suggestion box. The company president noticed this motivated young man with hundreds of ideas and decided to give him a chance. Edwards says, “I created PENSOLE to provide students the opportunity I never had.”
PENSOLE’s mission is to give talented young design students— regardless of socioeconomic background—an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers.
Karen Hofmann, chair of Product Design at Art Center, points out that this Pasadena-Portland educational partnership represents her department’s commitment to building its concentration in wearables and soft goods—an area of growing interest for Art Center and an industry in which the College’s alumni are leading the way. This collaborative program would not have been possible without generous support from Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, Vans, Disney Consumer Products and OluKai, all companies that currently employ Art Center graduates.
Edwards encouraged each participant to reach out and mentor two younger individuals to keep the chain going. “It just keeps spreading, and we have this culture of like-minded individuals that this industry needs,” he said. Edwards also gave each student his direct phone number and personal email.
Plans are underway to host Edwards and his team on campus soon. Plus, the College has committed to offering the Portland opportunity to students again in 2013.
Faculty Share the Knowledge Capital
What special skills or knowledge does one need to bring into an Art Center classroom? What challenges are inherent in teaching at one of the world’s foremost art and design schools? How can faculty best utilize their professional connections to benefit Art Center students? Shortly after the launch of Art Center’s strategic plan, Create Change, President Lorne M. Buchman encouraged a core group of faculty to host a conference on the profound issues of teaching at Art Center. The faculty put their heads together and decided to raise the bar with an initiative they’ve branded “Faculty Commons.” Instead of a single conference, they’ve envisioned a series of professional development and research opportunities for faculty. And to best serve their audience, the workshops and symposia will be based on emergent themes identified by faculty interests and discussions.
The first such symposium took place this fall with guest officiate Glenn Adamson, Deputy Head of Research and Head of Graduate Studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he leads a graduate program in the History of Design. The day included hands-on workshops in which faculty brainstormed around issues related to technology and craft, the relationship between thinking and making, and moving beyond Art Center’s transdisciplinary studio model.
“Lorne has given us an amazing opportunity,” said Sean Donahue, who teaches a number of Media Design, Graphic Design and Humanities classes at the College. “Faculty Commons allows us to develop a sense of community and share in the enormous knowledge capital of the smart and talented people who teach here.”
With teaching-focused events taking place each term and a website being developed to house documentation and ongoing conversations, faculty members will have a chance not only to discuss teaching and resources, but also to engage with one another as professionals who are eager to educate the next generation of artists and designers.
Pushing the Boundaries of Packaging
Ever wonder what makes you choose one brand off the grocery store shelf over another? Experts agree packaging plays a big role in the consumer decision-making process.
Esko, considered the global leader in packaging product software, recently donated multiple user licenses of industry-leading Studio and ArtiosCAD technology to Art Center. The gift marks the Belgium-based firm’s first donation to a design college and underscores the pivotal role graphic designers play in package and brand development.
“With these new tools, students will develop a comprehensive understanding of the workflow from start to finish,” says Gerardo Herrera, Art Center’s director of packaging.
Working closely with fellow instructor Dan Hoy, Herrera designed a curriculum that gives students a rock-solid knowledge base about the various properties of the different materials used.
During a special workshop last summer, students explored the different types of packaging applications that this software can render, such as stand-up drink pouches, candy bar wrappers, snack bags—even diaper bags. They learned how to create a bag from scratch, taking full advantage of Studio’s tools palette, including pan/rotate, zoom, fold line, mesh, puller, freeze, align graphics and visualization, allowing settings for contents of air, liquid, material stiffness and rounding.
“Designers can quickly visualize what they create for the brand owner, making changes on the spot if necessary,” explains Herrera. “Now, when students learn how to make a box, they can see it on the computer using the Studio Visualizer tool in real-time, add specialty finishes and see how that impacts their designs.”
College Welcomes New Advertising and Interaction Design Chairs
Two new department chairs are bringing their distinctive insight and expertise to Art Center’s already robust collaborative cross-disciplinary community.
User-experience pioneer Maggie Hendrie is leading the College’s new Interaction Design Department—created as part of the Create Change initiative—in which students will learn to think deeply about user experience, apply technology creatively and invent new approaches to interaction and design.
And industry leader Gary Goldsmith ADVT 81 is now heading up Art Center’s Advertising Department. The program has been at the heart of the College since influential adman Edward A. “Tink” Adams founded the school in 1930, and Goldsmith is positioned to propel the field into its ever-evolving future.
Hendrie is the principal of Maggie Hendrie Design, a business solution firm that provides apps, social media campaigns and online tools and marketing for Fortune 500 companies such as PepsiCo, Mattel and Toyota Motor Company. In 2004, she founded Sony Pictures Entertainment’s User Experience Competency Center, where as director she worked with Sony divisions worldwide to integrate usability, information architecture and interaction into the company’s devices and cross-platform projects.
“Maggie has a proven track record of weaving cross-departmental, multidisciplinary programs that leverage human-centered design,” said Provost Fred Fehlau on Hendrie’s appointment. “We’re confident in her ability to drive the institutional, technical and design factors needed to deliver those skills and vision to our students.”
She received her MA in Liberal Arts from Edinburgh University, her MS in Communication and Information Sciences from the Nouvelle Sorbonne University in Paris and her Diplôme D’Etudes Approfondies (DEA) in Multimedia Design and Communication from Paris Diderot University.
“Interaction designers must be prepared not only for multidisciplinary projects and work environments, but for a medium that can range from gestural sensor-driven networks to gameplay to wired cities,” said Hendrie. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to join a world leader like Art Center to educate the next generation of visionaries in this field.”
New Advertising Chair Goldsmith is the co-founder of Underhead, a network of creative resources and companies that brings together talent in every discipline, including advertising, digital and social media, package design and film.
“Historically, Art Center’s program has played an important role in shaping the advertising industry,” said Fehlau of Goldsmith’s appointment. “Today, much of that industry has changed, and Gary has led that change.”
Goldsmith graduated with honors from Art Center in 1981 with a BFA in Advertising. He began his career at Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) in New York, working on campaigns for Volkswagen, IBM and Hershey. In just four years, he became the company’s senior vice president and creative group head. In 1987, he co-founded Goldsmith/Jeffrey, an agency that produced award-winning work for clients such as J.P. Morgan, ESPN and Barneys New York. During his career, Goldsmith also held the positions of co-creative director of the Chiat/Day New York office, chairman and chief creative officer of North America for Lowe Worldwide, and chief creative officer of North America for Young & Rubicam.
“The landscape of advertising has changed drastically, and in five years most of the current sources for jobs won’t exist,” said Goldsmith. “But I believe Art Center, with its strong parallel programs in entertainment, film, photography and environmental design, is positioned to build not only the first truly modern advertising program in the world, but one that will prepare our students to tap into broader sources for careers than ever before.”
Both Hendrie and Goldsmith came to the College as the result of extensive international searches conducted by committees of faculty, alumni, students and staff.
A Legacy 40 Years in the Making
After more than four decades of dedicated service to Art Center and its students, Laurence Dreiband, chair of the College’s undergraduate Fine Art Department, announced in early June 2012, that he will be retiring at the end of the year.
“In 1970, I began teaching at Art Center, and two years later I became the youngest department chair,” said Dreiband in his announcement to the Art Center community. “I believe that I’m now the oldest, and while I would not have chosen growing older, it is, as Woody Allen put it, ‘better than the alternative.’”
Dreiband leaves the College with an impressive roster of accomplishments: A robust program with plans for future growth; an impressive list of distinguished faculty and alumni; plans for Artmatters, a new area of emphases in public art and social engagement; and, most significantly, a dedication to the importance of the fine arts in the life of the College and of the culture at large.
“I am deeply grateful for all that Laurence has contributed to us throughout these years and saddened to think of an Art Center without him,” said Provost Fred Fehlau. “We appreciate the substantial contributions he has made to our students and alumni, and to the content and pedagogy of all of Art Center’s degree programs.”
After the announcement was made, emails from alumni poured in. Rene Martinez FINE 10 said Dreiband’s leadership provided him with the understanding “to navigate through this strange and beautiful world.” Michel Bernstein FINE 05 recalled the first day of Dreiband's Critical Thinking course, which took place the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in which he presented the tragedy as a way “to pose the questions of who or what we were.” And alumnus and former faculty Agustin Garza GRPK 81 wrote to Dreiband, “I had the privilege to have you as an advisor during my post graduate studies. Not only did I learn from you as a Fine Art student, but you also inspired me to be a better teacher.”
“I have made some of the best friends of my life at Art Center, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work with you,” said Dreiband in his announcement. “I am grateful to all of you for helping make my career as an educator at Art Center successful and so personally rewarding.”
For an in-depth interview with Dreiband, visit the Dotted Line blog.