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.
This past May I had the opportunity to participate in a Habitat sponsored AmeriCorps event in Seattle, Wa. For one week the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Seattle, Kings County, hosted numerous AmeriCorps volunteers from across the country to join together and get things done for America. This is a yearly event know as Build-a-Thon, and it is definitely one of the most exciting events of my service term. Not only did I get to travel to the wonderful west, I also had the opportunity to partake in some strategic formwork building and an intense concrete pour! Now… I have helped pour concrete foundations before… but nothing quite like this! The Habitat affiliate in Seattle used the AmeriCorps forces to assist in 3 different projects, I was on the team responsible for ensuring a multi-unit town home doesn’t… well… fall down. Exciting! And messy! I was ready though 🙂
Constructing the formwork took a few days, but the concrete pour took only an afternoon. It took me back to my glorious construction days, and reminded me of how the building processes are an intricate part to the vitality of our constructed world. Along with hundreds of other AmeriCorps members who serve with Habitat for Humanity affiliates around the country, I help build homes, communities and hope. Habitat for Humanity, who is one of the largest homebuilders in the country, relies heavily on the AmeriCorps members to complete projects like this everyday and help make the possibility of homeownership available to a multitude of families. Because of volunteer efforts as a whole, AmeriCorps and beyond, homes are more affordable for Habitat homeowners and their families.
Despite the rain… everyday… a long day on site was complimented with evenings of site seeing and overeating. Who knew Seattle was full of great touristy things to do?? I made sure I made it to see some architectural gems, including the public library by Architect Koolhaas, and The EMP by Architect Gehry. Felt good to see a building that makes your heart flutter…
I feel my charge as a designer is to find the balance between user need, aesthetic quality, budget and environmental issues, and execute a design that satisfies it, with all people in mind. To pay the correct amount of attention to each aspect, understanding that the balance will be different for each design problem and user group, never expecting to retrofit the same solution for different clients. I have the ability to design spatial environments, and it is my goal to never forget this upper hand, and be considerate to those receiving services. A few things I value are fairness, user experience, many options, making more with less, and environment conservation. I like simplicity, and think that many things are to complicated, so design that portrays simple straight forward function, is an interest of mine.