Visual Culture

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Inneract Project

Inneract Project, is an educational program conceptualized by prominent Bay Area graphic designer Maurice Woods. Its mission is to expose under-served youth to careers in design by providing free classes and mentorship. The idea came to fruition when Woods was a graduate student at the University of Washington and has found success in the Bay Area where he coincidently grew up as a child.

We had the opportunity to dialog with Maurice over the last few weeks and asked him to share insight on the program—how the program came to be, where it is now, and his long-term goals on where he would like it to go. Summer Session for the program is scheduled to begin in early July. To learn more on how to apply go here.

VC: How did the Inneract Project concept come to be?

MW: I started IP because I figured there were other creative kids out there who might not be fortunate enough to go to college. The concept of the program is to expose kids at an early age so that they might be able to find careers in something they have an affinity towards and love to do.

VC: IP was the recipient of a 2009 Sappi: Ideas That Matter award that enabled you to launch an informational ad campaign—tell us a little about the Ad Campaign.

MW: The Ad campaign sponsored by Sappi will be posted in Bus Shelters and Interior bus ads throughout Oakland and SF. The campaign was launched in late April of this year.

Bus Kiosk Ad in Richmond, CA:

The Bus Shelters are riddles of 12 different design professions each linking to our site. Our goal for the Ad Campaign is to raise awareness that these professions exist and then provide free classes to those who might have interest. The biggest debate now about getting under-served kids into design is awareness. We need to be able to show the public that professions exists out there that link from the arts—designers also touch almost everything we see and interact with. Our campaign was not designed to be flashy or geared directly to the kids but to the community as a whole—kids, parents, school administrative, etc.

VC: Inneract Project is currently localized within the Bay Area—specifically Oakland and San Francisco. Do you envision it expanding to other cities and becoming a national program that provides a creative outlet for inner city youth?

MW: Expansion has been a part of the plan since day one. I envision IP being in every major city that needs it. I am working on building a scalable program that can be adopted in other cities and perhaps, countries. I believe kids should have an equal educational opportunity as well as the ability to access free resources that is easy and convenient, yet resourceful and advantageous for both designers and families in the community.

VC: Tell us a little about the assignments/projects that are part of the curriculum at IP.

MW: Our lesson plan for the Spring was based on 2 concepts; Healthy Foods (East Bay Class) and Climate Change (SF Class). The outcome for both classes was to design a system of cause and effect cheat sheets as a series of cards. (See description below).

Getting HotnHere
Global climate change is a heated issue and there are no signs of cooling down. We, as humans, are driving the problem but we can equally make a difference in our daily lifestyle and activities. How can we provoke our peers and community to think about the issue and how do individual choices and consumption play into the equation? What are we doing to cause the issue? Why is it harmful? What can do?

Good Food Dude
We believe healthy food makes for a healthy body. Diabetes rates are on the rise. Obesity is a national epidemic. Shipping food around the world affects global climate change. With range of fresh locally grown food available in California we can change the way we eat. We can make choices about the food we eat and will see the results both in ourselves and in the world we live. What are the short and long-term effects that food has on our bodies? How can we make healthy food appealing to young people?

IP students were challenged to think about these issues and to look at how they could visually communicate the personal and global effects of food consumption and climate change.

VC: Inneract Project is volunteer-based—have you found much interest from the graphic design community at large?

MW: Probably a majority of interest comes from the Graphic Design and Architecture communities. We post needs and announcements on the AIGA SF e-blast and that usually gets the word out to most graphic designers in the area. As we grow, I hope we will be successful at working with a variety of design communities as well. This program is about design as a career, so really it includes all disciplines. We hope other designers from outside the discipline of graphic design and architecture world will join us.

VC: What is the program’s long term goals.

MW: Our long term goal is:
1) I would like to be able to have a dedicated building where we can meet, have community forums, classes, and a staff of people full-time/part –time..

2) I want to develop a portfolio component to the Inneract Project website where our students can login and access their work and/or use to show their portfolios to family, friends, schools (when trying to apply).

3) Develop a stronger program that has a modular component—one that can be adopted in other states by those who are interested. I have received inquiries from people outside the state that want to adopt our program—I want to be able to hand over a “This is how you do it” manual with access to a Inneract Project online network we provide. By doing this, we start to effect change that spreads throughout the nation This is how design changes the world. This is the power of design.

VC: What is needed to reach these goals?

MW: We need sponsors and donations obviously to make our program have greater impact in the local community. Specifically, we need partnerships with corporations, small businesses, foundations and individuals who understand the value of design in our daily lives and are willing to take part in helping us reach out to the community in an efforts to give kids options for careers.

For further information on Inneract Project or to find out how to donate your time/money please visit their website here.

posted by Oberholtzer Creative Staff at 8:42 pm  


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