Willimantic 3rd Thursday Street Fest hosted by Willimantic Renaissance, Inc. (WRI) promotes the culture, spirit, and historic architecture of Williamntic. Every 3rd Thursday from May through September, five stages host music and entertainment while over 100 crafters and vendors showcase the wealth of goods and foods produced locally and regionally. It's a great opportunity for my Graphic Design II class to participate in this town fest. We developed several pin designs for this event and those designs were also planned to be printed on the T-shirts of the fest. As an enrichment project to the class, I set the goal not only to help students study the visual principles that can be applied to a successful graphic creation, but to get further understanding of conceptualizing and visualizing ideas with a real-world parameter. The introduction and event photos presented by Jean de Smet and Karen Gilbransen from WRI provided the class a closer view of WRI formed as a grassroots organization to revitalize downtown Willimantic by using the arts to enhance diversity, build community and attract consumers. It was a great experience for the students to understand the nature of this street event and to create the visual message that WRI was trying to convey under color and size limitations.
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.