SPARK 216: Engaging the Future of Design #TheRecap
May 25, 2018
Activating the next generation of creative youth by providing opportunities where they can experience and grow their creativity alongside other creative professionals is an important need. I would speak persuasively that it is key to have role models and mentors to coach and support youth that are curious and contemplating gaining skills in creative careers. I often jump at the chance to support any initiative that focuses on these things and attempts to make an impact. The inaugural Spark 216 event was just that. Brainchild of designers Jacinda Walker, Jamal Collins, Jermel Wilkerson Sr. and Robert Gatewood, Spark 216 is an event for youth, ages 11-15, who are curious about design and design-related careers. The inaugural event was held on March 10. Attendees had the opportunity to expand their creativity by participating in thirty-minute sessions of design learning activities led by local design professionals. The activities exposed the next generation of youth to graphic design, web design, architecture, photography, illustration, and design thinking. Each session included local design volunteer leaders working to choreograph introductory activities for youth participants
As an Architecture Information Station volunteer, I was fortune to be teamed up with Mandisa Gosa, Interior Designer at local firm ThenDesign (Bialosky at the time) and David Jurca, Associate Director at Kent State’s CUDC. We were able to work one on one with the youth attendees in rotating slots. Students explored a basic understanding of architecture and interior design careers through practicing communicating design by determining scale, building models and drawing their model in plan, elevation, section and perspective views. Students were encouraged to make their model with Disney character clients in mind.
Though the Spark 216 event was not specifically targeted for future designers of color, the audience in attendance was. Though it was a cold March day in Cleveland, the temperature inside the host venue, Full Spectrum GamerHaven, felt like summer bliss, vibrant with fresh new talent exploring the opportunity to be a designer for a day and helping hands and minds cultivating leaders by sharing a wealth of information. There was even a special session for parents that gave an overview of how to support emerging creatives. Even though no official vote was collected and tallied, I believe our table was the crowd favorite, I may be biased though!
Someone once told me that the english language often does not have the appropriate words to describe our experiences, and after participating in Spark 216… I can confirm that I agree. Stay tuned for more events like this coming soon.
Check out the event video here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgaDII2F_UM