I introduced a community-based project into my Art 329 Graphic Design II class. The project was logo design for the Town of Windham Human Services Department Senior Center, which strives to provide seniors with a place to remain healthy and active through participation in recreational, educational and leisure activities. My class created various design options and the Visual Arts student, Mackenzie Williams’ work was chosen by the senior center as the final design. Working on this project, my students experienced the process in which they apply graphic design knowledge and skills to the real-world practice. And this process helped them get a further understanding of the class topics––logo and visual identity design. It successfully brought the students’ attention to the core concept of logo creation––visually presenting who the clients are and what they do. Staff from senior center, Mary Demarco, Director of Human Services, Kate Cox, Activities Coordinator and one of the senior members, Judy Holiday visited the class and also joined the students’ presentation by the end of this project. The Art 329 Graphic Design II is a Junior level class. Infusing community-based project experience to this level students would greatly benefit their further studies, especially when they take Art 432 Eastern Design Group, one of the DA&D capstone courses, in which community-based project are mainly conducted.
Service learning is blended into my teaching. I strive to find ways to incorporate community-based projects in different levels of my design courses and independent studies.
Projects such as Chaplin Public Library logo design, Pin design for Willimantic 3rd Thursday Street Fest, Windham Senior Center logo design, brochure and poster design for the Windham Region No Freeze Project and etc. were created to provide students the opportunities to connect what they learn in the classroom to real-world challenges.