Student Designs Displayed, Times Square

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Six billboards dealing with issues of tolerance, created by high school students through the mentoring program ‘Create! Don’t Hate.’, will be on view July 6th – 31 on the Clear Channel Spectacolor billboard in New York’s Times Square.

The work is by students from New York City’s High School of Art and Design. The billboards were created as part of a Design Ignites Change mentoring initiative by professional designers from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

The final student designs address a wide variety of issues such as gay rights, racism and body image. Over the course of two months, the mentors led students through the design process – from brainstorming and sketching to producing the final designs on the computer. Twenty-two students participated, with six of the designs ultimately chosen for display in Times Square on prime advertising space donated by Clear Channel Spectacolor.

The winning billboard designs will be unveiled on Spectacolor HD during a launch event at the corner of Broadway and 47th Street July 6 starting at 12:15 pm. The mentors, project coordinators and representatives from Worldstudio and Clear Channel Spectacolor, along with the general public, are invited to celebrate with the students and their families. Additionally, all twenty-two designs will be displayed in an exhibition at the AIGA National Design Center Gallery (164 Fifth Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets) beginning now until July 22.

Deanita Redwood, whose billboard on gay marriage was chosen, says, “I think that having my design displayed in Times Square is the most incredible opportunity I could have hoped for. Hopefully, the message will catch someone’s eye and change their mind. If only one person’s mind is changed about gay marriage then that’s enough for me, because that means Karin’s (mentor Karin Satrom) efforts and my efforts were truly worthwhile.”

As part of the mentoring process, the students were taken on a fieldtrip to Clear Channel Spectacolor’s Time Square office to see where their billboards would be displayed and get an inside look into the business of outdoor advertising. Mike McGraw, vice-president of creative and marketing for Clear Channel Spectacolor, talked to the students about what makes a successful billboard and took questions from the students to help guide them in their design process.

The AIGA/NY mentoring program has the mission to provide youth with every opportunity and tool to achieve their dreams. As a part of creating valuable programs to help young people succeed, the mentoring program helps to build meaningful relationships that have the potential to positively influence both the students and the mentors.

Melanie Carnsew, who mentored student Sara Ott, says, “I learned just as much from Sara as she could have learned from me. The students are very smart, hard working and always make me laugh; they offer a fresh perspective on the world. The project was also a great networking opportunity with other professionals in my field.”

The program was conceived and implemented by Worldstudio, a unique New York City-based firm that specializes in creating programs for the public good. Andréa Pellegrino, a partner in the firm, says, “The Times Square project is a perfect example of Worldstudio’s core mission as an organization – to bring together seemingly disparate groups around common goals that serve the greater good.”

One Response to “Student Designs Displayed, Times Square”

  1. Chris Cowlbeck Says:

    Great to feature the youth and the industry efforts to teach and kindle their creativity.

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