“Designmatters allows us to look at the world as a classroom with an eye toward changing it for the better. We aspire to redefine and expand the role of the artist and designer into one who is a catalyst for social change and innovation.” Mariana Amatullo, Vice President, Designmatters Department
An engaged mode of art and design education that forms creative leaders, Designmatters provides the know-how and aspiration to shape the futures we truly desire for a more sustainable and equitable world.
Through research, advocacy and action, Designmatters engages, empowers and leads an ongoing exploration of art and design as a positive force in society.
Designmatters is integrated across all the educational departments at Art Center College of Design. Activities are organized at 3 key levels:
As an educational magnet and research division for the college, we conceive of projects for the curriculum, oversee the DM Concentration at the undergraduate level, and partner with Graduate Media Design Practices in the MDP/Field Track;
As an agent for social impact educational projects, we are a guarantor for implementation and assessment of projects led by students, faculty and alumni;
As an external relations center for strategic partnership building, we leverage art and design education as tool for positive change in the world.
As Art Center’s social impact department, Designmatters is where local, national and global issues are encountered head-on. Participants are in the world, with the world.
Values that are embedded into the department are filtered into the curriculum, programs and projects. These values represent the spirit of Designmatters, and consist of:
Commitment: We are dedicated to looking at, confronting, researching and addressing real-world issues, and we endeavor to innovate through art and design.
Relevance: We strive to be a model for relevancy in education. We open doors for organizations to engage with artists and designers and see them as key contributors to their mission.
Engagement: We look at the world as our classroom, with an eye toward changing it for the better. Our students engage in experiential learning, giving them an insider’s awareness of the challenges confronting communities around the block or around the world.
Collaboration: We view art and design as a space that invites collaboration with other disciplines, such as: development, science, business, engineering, and anthropology. It is in the intersection between distinct areas of inquiry that we often find the most opportunity for innovation.
Empathy: We believe that artists and designers can be uniquely compassionate as how they relate to the lives of others, and with that comes great responsibility.
Action-led outcomes: We see art and design students as having the gift of creativity and the skills to execute a vision, and when immersed in a real-world context, they can be empowered to become changemakers.
“Turning outward is key to the future of higher education in art and design. Designmatters provides the platform where that can happen.” Lorne M. Buchman, President, Art Center College of Design
At the environmental, social and economic levels, this pillar addresses global challenges by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future.
With a focus on mobilizing decision-making and provoking change at the policy level, this pillar explores communication tactics and advocacy strategies.
Touching on health issues that impact global populations, this pillar creates the designs of environments, products, systems of delivery, and communication portals.
Using innovative, market-based approaches to create social and environmental impact, this pillar guides a new generation of innovators who want to do well by doing good.
Gala Narezo (Photography and Imaging ’01) is also a graduate of Yale University. She started her career in television and film production before focusing on photography. Her projects have been exhibited internationally. Her book of photographs, “Locales,” documenting quickly disappearing local shops in the gentrifying neighborhood of Colonia Roma, in Mexico City, was published by Artes de Mexico. In her photography and collaborations Gala specializes in creating platforms for social issues using design thinking, and storytelling. Currently Gala works as a multidisciplinary art director. Her recent projects have included social awareness campaigns, urban interventions and curricula development for topics as varied as immigration, sustainability and mindful education.
Public Interest Design
By John Cary and Megan Jett
Public Interest Design posts 2nd infographic representing 100 people and teams working at the intersection of design and service. The infographic features Art Center students and designers of GiraDora, Ji A You (Environmental Design) and Alex Cabunoc (Product Design).
89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio (blog)
by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
Public radio station KPCC covers the Uncool Children’s book reading and illustration workshops.
Designmatters was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant to help fund the 2013 Designmatters Symposium. For this grant cycle, the NEA awarded $26.3 million in grants to 817 nonprofit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.
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