Art Center and TEDx Team Up to Fill in the Blank
Orange will mix with red this summer when the student–driven TEDx Art Center College of Design conference takes over the College's Hillside Campus on Saturday, June 9 to explore the topic "Design a _________ for Social Impact."
For the uninitiated, TED is a nonprofit organization that brings together luminaries from a multitude of disciplines to disseminate "ideas worth spreading." The foundation holds two annual conferences, hosts free videos of the conferences' talks on its website, and has spurred the development of TEDx events, independently organized TED events that stimulate dialogue at a community level.
"TED believes in spreading ideas and Art Center teaches us how to implement them," said Mariana Prieto, TEDx co-organizer, seventh-term Product Design major and president of Art Center's Impact Student Organization. "It seemed natural for us to put these two organizations together and to create the first TEDx at our school."
Natural? Yes. Easy? No. The road to bringing TEDx to Art Center began in June of last year, when Prieto and her fellow TEDx co-organizer, eighth-term Graphic Design major and former Student Government President Erik Molano, realized they had independently decided they wanted to bring TEDx to Art Center. The two spent months meeting with TEDx organizers, rallying Art Center administration and setting goals for the conference. Things really took off when they organized a transdisciplinary studio course for the Spring 2012 term with the goal to bring the event to fruition. The course is being sponsored by the College's Designmatters Department, hosted by the Environmental Design Department, and co-taught by instructors Robert Ball (Environmental) and Petrula Vrontikis (Graphic Design).
"Our challenge, in 14 weeks, is to curate a memorable and unique experience," said Molano. "As a class, we're asking ourselves. What does it look like when Art Center takes on a TEDx event? And the bigger question is why do the topics of social change and sustainability have a place at a design school?"
At press time, the TEDx event has confirmed five outside speakers who have all advocated for sustainability and more responsible approaches to design: Douglas Powell, the president of AIGA; Terry Irwin, head of the School of Design, Carnegie M ellon U niversity; Allan Chochinov, chair of the M FA Products of Design Department, School of Visual Arts; Charlie Cannon, a designer at Local Studios; and Robin Bigio, an industrial designer at IDEO.
"The response from students, faculty and staff has been wonderful, which has led us to dream a second dream," said Prieto. "We'd like to turn this into an annual experience where students choose their theme, choose their speakers and continue to inspire our growing community of talented artists and designers that can—and will—make a difference in the world."
Visit artcenter.edu/tedx for more information.rdquo;
Living Large at Dwell on Design
This summer, Art Center is proud to be an official partner of the West Coast's largest design event, Dwell on Design, which boasts three days of the best and brightest products, services and thought leaders in modern design. Dwell on Design will be held from June 22 – 24 at the L.A. Convention Center.
As the only educational institution named a Silver Sponsor, Art Center will make a significant impact during the event. The College will occupy 1,000 square feet of exhibition space; lead a series of creative, hands-on workshops on the show floor; and has lined up students, faculty and alumni presentations on three separate stages at the event. Additionally, Art Center and Dwell are discussing ideas to secure a keynote speaker, host a special event for Dwell VIPs and a private alumni/industry reception.
The genesis of this collaboration occurred last year when Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann, after serving on the jury at last year's Dwell on Design awards, was approached by Michael Sylvester, Dwell on Design Managing Director, with thoughts about striking up a partnership. "We were asked if rather than just having a booth on the showroom floor, if we'd like to curate a compelling design experience for the event,"Hofmann said of her initial conversation with Sylvester. "We thought it would be an exciting opportunity for our Product Design and Environmental Design departments to connect with the Dwell design community, the general public and to convey a clear message about our innovative programs at Art Center."
Of the collaboration, Sylvester said, "Art Center College of Design is renowned as a center of excellence for education and intelligent discourse on important design questions. The experience, insight and creativity of Art Center alumni, faculty and students is an invaluable resource for Dwell as we look to develop the stature of Dwell on Design on the international design calendar."
Dwell on Design and Dwell Design Week, a series of L.A.-design focused activities leading up to the main event, encourages both design professionals and consumers to experience the best in modern design. Free admission is offered to those working in the design trade, including faculty and alumni, on Friday, June 22 and Friday attendees will receive a free weekend pass for the rest of the show. Students with valid ID will be admitted for free throughout the weekend as well. Don't miss out.
For more information and to get your tickets, visit dwellondesign.com.
Civil Discourse for a Civil Society
What does it mean to be "civil" in a world that seems at times to be on the verge of falling apart? What is the role of higher education in encouraging civil discourse, whether discussing art, politics, science, religion, healthcare, literature, lifelong learning or when engaging in everyday business activities, community relationships, and household matters? What does civility mean in the context of an art and design education? This month, Art Center President Lorne M. Buchman will engage with leaders from Pasadena's other higher education institutions in a panel discussion moderated by Southern California Public Radio's Larry Mantle to discuss the notion of civility. Honoring Civility for a Civil Society is the first event of its kind—a forum organized by Pasadena's higher educational community and inspired by Pasadena's City of Learning initiative to generate intelligent, thought-provoking discussion and connect Pasadena's academic leaders with the community. Organizing partners include Art Center, California Institute of Technology, Fuller Theological Seminary, The Huntington Library, Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena Community College and Flintridge Center.
How Will You Kickstarter Your Next Project?
Conscious Commuter. One Bad Thing. [SIC] Apparel. spnKiX. Turtle / Turtle. These are just a few of the projects Art Center students, faculty and alumni have successfully launched with backing from the Kickstarter community.
What is Kickstarter? Kickstarter is the world's largest "crowd funding" platform, providing individuals an outlet to ask friends and strangers alike to support creative projects by making a small (or large) donation in exchange for a modest award, which may be a magazine hot off the press, a limited edition print, or your name in the credits of a film.
At the same time, Kickstarter says, "This is about more than money. It's about enabling pure creativity, outside of the constraints of traditional systems." Project creators always keep full ownership and control of their work, and in the process gain direct access to an audience deeply connected to their efforts—an audience which is more likely to provide financial backing.
Film student Domenic Moen was one of the first to inform Art Center of the possibilities. "One Bad Thing was such an ambitious project but Kickstarter enabled us to reach out to a vast network of generous and creative people," the film's writer and director said. "We not only raised the money we needed, but formed professional relationships that have opened many doors for us, and built a huge buzz on the Internet that is helping us promote the film in ways we never dreamed of."
Kickstarter recently acknowledged Art Center as one of the world's foremost creative communities by inviting the College to curate a page of its very own. This allows Art Center to curate all the great projects being dreamed up by our talented students, faculty and alumni in one place. One important distinction: Kickstarter projects are all individual efforts. This isn't the College asking for money. The request comes directly from the artists or designers themselves and the money goes directly to them as well. A curated page simply allows Art Center to round up the Kickstarter projects being conceived of by our creative community to help generate awareness for those bold ideas that need a little funding to get off the ground. Much like the College's recent partnership with Behance, the promotional opportunities afforded Art Center students, faculty and alumni with this online platform are limitless. To inform the College of any recent, current or future Kickstarter projects that you'd like us to feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
DOT Launch Event Peeks Inside Incase
If you own an Apple product, chances are you own an accessory designed by San Francisco-based company Incase. The company, known for its minimal and functional products ranging from iPhone cases to backpacks, visited Art Center's L.A. Times Auditorium this February for "Inside Incase," a standingroom only lecture and Q&A featuring company co-founder and alumnus Joe Tan PROD 94 and Vice President of Design Markus Diebel PROD 94. The event was presented by Art Center's Alumni Relations Department and the College's new DOT Launch Entrepreneurial Initiative.
Tan and Diebel's presentation provided insight into their company's background, projects and design process. The two shared stories behind several of their company's products, including: an iPhone case inspired by the Beijing National Stadium; a Macbook sleeve made out of Neoprene ("There's quite a few surfers at Incase."); products designed in collaboration with others (artist Shepard Fairey, skateboard designer Paul Rodriguez); and its latest endeavor, the Audio line of "natural sound" headphone products.
DOT Launch Director Mateo Neri GRPK 93 called the event a huge success and said both the presentation and the networking that took place afterward fit perfectly into DOT Launch's goal of putting entrepreneurial students, alumni and faculty in touch with likeminded individuals. "The whole mission of DOT Launch is to empower design entrepreneurs," said Neri, who added that upcoming DOT Launch events include a crowdfunding event in the summer and a pitch event in the fall.
College Expansion Serves Students, Generates Strong Alumni Support
President Lorne M. Buchman recently announced that Art Center will expand its educational reach and resources with the acquisition of the former U.S. Postal Service property adjacent to South Campus. The acquisition is part of the College's strategy to create three centers of learning— an expanded South Campus, a renovated Hillside Campus, and a virtual campus— each optimized for the particular needs of promising artists and designers, while at the same time fostering new collaborations among disciplines. The expansion also provides opportunities to strengthen Art Center's engagement with diverse communities because of the proximity of South Campus to public transportation and the continued presence of Art Center's Public Programs at that location.
The need to further develop South Campus from a satellite of our Hillside operations into its own fully functional center of learning and activity boils down to the education of our students. "They need more space to work," Buchman stated. "This new property enables expansion and development of our programs and infrastructure and enhances our capacity for teaching, learning, creating and collaborating. We are ensuring that Art Center is able to fulfill its mission to educate students, now and into the future."
Not only do students need more space, they need different kinds of spaces. Early ideas for an expanded South Campus include areas for fullscale prototyping, "clean" and "dirty" spaces for learning and making, dedicated studios for transdisciplinary projects, collaborative environments in which to convene diverse disciplines, and, eventually, student housing—an important step toward lessening our students' financial burden.
The focus on students is what many alumni have responded to. So far, alumni have donated $5 million toward the $7 million cost to acquire the new property. Significant gifts include three seven-figure irrevocable bequests made by award-winning environmental designer Richard Law ind u 58 kinetic sculptor Steven Rieman prod 74 and his wife, Ruth; and Bruce Heavin ill u 93 and his wife, former Art Center faculty member Lynda Weinman, owners of the innovative online learning company, lynda.com.
"We aren't as interested in a new building as we are in the education inside that building, and in recognizing the excellence of Art Center students and the critical importance and impact of what they do," the Riemans said of their bequest. "It's clear to us that Art Center is serious about broadening students' opportunities and experience by embracing new technologies and new ways of collaborating and creating in new spaces."
"This is exactly what Art Center should be doing," Law said. "The property, in an urban environment on the edge of Old Pasadena where all the action is, as well as public transit, is a great example of renewing older areas, creating a vital, energetic place. In today's culture, this is exactly how a campus should be."
Plans to develop a shuttle service between campuses and to move some programs to the expanded South Campus will further relieve stress on our students but are also, in part, a response to neighbor concerns. "I have a lot of respect for our Hillside neighbors," Buchman said. "While it's my responsibility to provide our students with the best art and design education possible, I want to do so in a way that's in sync with our environment."
Buchman is no stranger to thoughtful and sensitive approaches to campus expansion. As president of California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in the '90s, he spearheaded the development of the college's San Francisco campus, adapting a former Greyhound Bus shed into what is now among the most notable "green" buildings in the city. Buchman reinforces that expansion of Art Center's resources must be in service to the College's educational values and mission. "Not too long ago, our community came together to envision Art Center's future and create a strategic plan to realize it. Expanding our academic programs—and providing the facilities they require—plays a central role, and this purchase is a crucial first step in achieving our goals," said Buchmann. "All our plans are rooted in strong educational values and principals. It's all about our students."