YPSILANTI – Professors Leslie Atzmon and Ryan Molloy and students in two Intermediate Graphic Design classes at Eastern Michigan University have received a prestigious national design grant, “Sappi’s Ideas that Matter Grant,” for their proposal to transform the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti from a rental space for art events to a local community hub.
The design team is creating branding materials for the center, including a new logo, promotional street banners, building signage, and brochures.
Each year, the Ideas that Matter grant offers funds to 10 designer/non-profit teams across North America that aim to transform society in positive ways. This annual award is presented by Sappi, a global company that supplies customers with dissolving wood, paper products, and biorefinery solutions.
This year’s winners were recognized last fall at the 2017 Design Conference in Minneapolis, hosted by AIGA, a national organization for graphic design professionals.
“The people at Riverside Arts Center are very invested in changing how they interact with the Ypsilanti community, so we were incredibly excited to be awarded this grant,” Atzmon said.
The Riverside Arts Center, located at 76 N. Huron St. in downtown Ypsilanti, supports the Ypsilanti arts and cultural community by providing arts education, performing arts, and visual arts programming.
Emily Tuesday, Riverside Arts Center’s Executive Director, said, "The Ideas That Matter grant allows Riverside Arts Center to push the boundaries of how we grow and what we could be for Ypsilanti."
The EMU team will also design “Creativity Toolkits” for FLY Creativity Lab, a Riverside Arts Center program that fosters creative thinking and collaboration among Ypsilanti families, school children, working artists, and educators. The Toolkit contains 48 art and design projects that promote creative problem solving while educating students about how they can transform social and cultural problems. Creativity Toolkits will be delivered to Ypsilanti schools and will also be available online.
Students in Intermediate Graphic Design I and Intermediate Graphic Design II classes worked on the project with Atzmon and Molloy during the fall semester, and the project will be finished this winter term.
The design team says it hopes its project will engage EMU students and faculty with the local community, particularly young children, while cultivating Ypsilanti’s blooming art scene.
About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.