Cultivating the Next Generation of Designers
You probably couldn’t pay me to go back to middle school. I’m okay having only experienced that life once. However, last month I found myself standing in front of a classroom of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls at East Ridge Middle School. I was thinking back to the days of not even knowing what design was, much less that it could be my career, and I would have an opportunity to speak about my journey to others.
Myself and Cat Collier-Martinez (our AIGA Cha President) were contacted by Madeleine Dougherty who runs the Girls, Inc. program in Chattanooga, last summer. Cat and I spoke to East Ridge Middle last semester and were invited again this semester to speak to new group of girls.
Last semesters presentation consisted of the work I’ve done as a designer. Starting with my very first projects in high school, to very recent work. It was incredible to listen to the girls reactions to both mine and Cat’s work. But I wanted to leave them with more this time around. I crafted a presentation that spoke about more than just design. Of course my basis was again around my practice and how I have grown in design, but it focused more on tips that would apply to any future these girls desired.
That was important to me. To show them that design isn’t limited. And to show them that what urges my interest and keeps me going are simple tips that anyone can apply to their dreams. Although these girls hopefully gained some insight into a design future, I was the one who gained so much inspiration from them. I wanted to engage them, and in turn they made an impact on me, they encouraged and inspired me. It’s incredible how creative and open they were to learning more. Specifically I could relate to one little girl who said her art teacher was telling her how to paint a particular scene and she just wanted to make abstract art. I had the same feeling at her age. It was that moment of being able to talk with them and answer their questions where I was reaffirmed that you can be anything you want to be. I’m so glad Cat and I, on behalf of AIGA, was able to participate.
Looking Ahead + Moving Forward
Thoughts from Board Retreat, 2015
On March 7, 2015 our board convened on Stringers Ridge for a full day of evaluation, reflection and strategy building. Aswas stated in an earlier newsletter, 2015 is the year of communications. A big part of the retreat involved streamlining communication efforts, both internal and external, as well as scheduling upcoming events and programs that uphold AIGA’s mission and vision. One thing’s for sure, we’re all excited about the momentum we have built in the past few months and look forward to building upon that momentum even further.