Monthly Archives: February 2012

Designmatters Projects Clean Up at the Spark Awards

Three Designmatters projects from Safe Agua Peru are among the winners for The Spark: Concept Fall Winter Awards: GiraDora: Safe Agua won the highest ranking SPARK! Award; Balde a Balde: Safe Agua won a Gold Award; and Vitamigos: Safe Agua won a Bronze Award.

GiraDora, Student team: Alex Cabunoc / Ji A You

GiraDora, by students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You, is a human-powered washer and spin dryer that increases efficiency and improves the experience of hand-washing clothes. For under $40, GiraDora more than doubles productivity, increases health of women and children, and affords the opportunity to begin breaking the poverty cycle. The user sits on top of the drum-like appliance and pumps a pedal with her foot, which agitates, cleans, rinses, then spins-dries clothes. While providing a more comfortable, ergonomic, and efficient way to clean clothes, GiraDora also affords opportunities to generate income.

Balde a Balde, by students Kimberly Chow and Carlos Vides provides running water from any bucket, maximizing cleanliness while optimizing water use.  Nearly half of the world lives without access to running water. Balde a Balde (Spanish for “Bucket to Bucket”) is a portable faucet that provides running water from any container, bringing the health benefits and experience of using a tap to families living without running water. The user attaches Balde a Balde to any container with a universal clip, then begins a continuous flow of water with just a few squeezes of the siphon pump. Users can easily control the exact amount of water they need, with a simple click of the on/off spout or a twist of the valve to regulate flow. Balde a Balde harnesses gravity to bring the dignity of running water to the 3 billion people living without taps.

Balde a Balde, Student team: Kimberly Chow / Carlos Vides

Vitamigos, by students Thomas Kong and Cora Neil, combines water purification and nutrition in a tasty beverage. Kids want it, mom’s love it! For the 1 in 6 people living without access to potable water, purification methods are costly, time-consuming, and often inconsistent. Kids often end up drinking sugary-sodas in place of clean water. Vitamigos combines water purification and nutrition in a tasty beverage, creating a new, fun, playful, and interactive experience for moms and kids living without access to potable water. It is a more convenient and economical alternative to boiling water and healthier than the sugary drinks purchased from the local bodegas. The ultimate goal of Vitamigos is to help reduce the illness and medical costs associated with waterborne disease.

More about all the Safe Agua Peru projects can be found on the Designmatters website here.

Congratulations also to alumnus Dan Ashcraft for his Bronze Award winning project, Aria.

According to its website, “Spark is first and foremost a community of designers and creative people, bound together by the idea that Design can make significant, positive changes in the world and help make it better. The way we promote this Good Design is through the annual organization of international design competitions, exhibitions, blogs and workshops.”

Alumnus Michael Sucsy’s “The Vow” Opens Today

Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams star in "The Vow." Courtesy: Sony Pictures.

Opening in theatres nationwide today–and right in time for Valentine’s Day–is The Vow, a romantic drama co-written and directed by Broadcast Cinema alumnus Michael Sucsy.

The Vow tells the story of a newlywed couple whose life is thrown into disarray when a car accident places the wife–played by Rachel McAdams of The Notebook and Sherlock Holmes–in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, her husband–Channing Tatum of Dear John and G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra–endeavors to win her heart again.

“She’s an artist when we meet her. She’s kind of bohemian and has edgy musical friends. But what she remembers is being in law school, close to her family and engaged to an attorney,” said Sucsy in an promotional on-set interview of what he finds most compelling about Rachel McAdams’ character. “It’s that choose-your-own adventure thing in life, where you go left or you go right.”

Sucsy previously wrote and directed the HBO telefilm Grey Gardens about Jackie Onassis’ eccentric relatives ‘Big Edie’ Bouvier Beale and ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale.

Armory Center for the Arts to Showcase Entertainment Design Department’s “Fantastic Scenarios”

Detail of a painting by Entertainment Design student Annis Naeem.

“I plan on bringing a little bit of Hollywood into this department,” Tim Flattery told us last year after he was named chair of Art Center College of Design’s Entertainment Design Department. “Rather than just having companies come in to look at student’s artwork, we’re also going to showcase the students and the College.”

And now it’s not just the entertainment industry getting a new level of exposure to the work created by Entertainment Design students, but the general public as well, as the exhibition Fantastic Scenarios debuts at the Armory Center for the Arts this Saturday night with an opening reception from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The exhibition, which was organized by Flattery and runs through May 13, features work created by current Entertainment Design undergraduate students.

From the Armory’s website:

Designing new worlds, characters, and objects that have never before been seen requires great imagination as well as an understanding of how things are built — and how to communicate with the people who will build these new worlds. Art Center’s Entertainment Design curriculum helps students develop the skills and creative focus required of concept designers in the entertainment industry.

For more information on the Entertainment Design Department, visit Art Center’s website.

Art Center’s “120 Group” Champions Diversity

Art Center’s 120 Group, an ethnically diverse, alumni-based organization was recently established to promote educational and career opportunities in art and design for underrepresented minority populations. Its members seek to create a diverse, inclusive, culturally- and ethnically-rich global community of artists and designers.

The group’s founding members include Art Center alumni, staff, faculty and students. The group is led by current president Tyrone Drake (GRPK ’96), who himself is both alumnus and faculty member, as well as Creative Director at Natsun America.

What’s the group’s ultimate goal? “Our goal is all about connection. We encourage all alumni to come back and get involved with this very passionate group,” Drake says. “Together, I believe we can make a difference and become a valuable resource for the entire Art Center community.”

120 Group serves Art Center College of Design and the greater art and design community through three key areas: Diversity and Inclusion, Outreach and Accessibility, and Mentoring and Support.

Although its members are primarily committed to increasing diversity at the College, they also seek to create awareness and opportunities for underrepresented minority students, faculty, staff, and alumni interested in studying, teaching or working in art and design related fields.

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

Artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. in conversation at Art Center College of Design.

In addition to mentoring and outreach efforts, 120 Group seeks to bring a diversity of creative voices to Art Center. In November 2011, 120 Group, in conjunction with Art Center’s Archetype Press and the Southern California Chapter of the American Printing History Association, co-sponsored a lecture and workshop series with guest artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. The artist is a letterpress printer and bookbinder based in Gordo, Alabama. At age 40, unsatisfied with his comfortable, middle-class life, he abandoned the traditional American Dream to follow his own. He traded in his computer for a printing press, his white collar for overalls, and is now a self-proclaimed “humble negro printer” whose letterpress work raises emotionally charged questions about race and individuality.

The founding members of 120 Group invite interested Art Center alumni to assist in their mission by becoming part of this valuable network. Please contact Dana L. Walker at or visit the group’s website to join today and get more information.

Emilie Halpern’s Latest Explores Works “Never Seen”

Emilie Halpern's "Mother (Happy), Mother (Sad)," 2012.

New mother and Art Center alumna Emilie Halpern–who graduated from the Graduate Art department in 2002–has an exhibition of new work on view at Pepin Moore in Chinatown.

The exhibition titled Jamais Vu, which translates as “never seen,” includes new photographs and sculptures that explored her feelings about her status as a soon-to-be mother.

“By the time I make the next show, so much will have happened; I’ll have such a different point of view on the purpose of art,” Halpern recently told Flaunt Magazine. “There’s this real fear as an artist that when you have a baby, do you continue to be an artist?”

Halpern’s Jamais Vu is on view until February 18.

College Art Association Names Jacki Apple Distinguished Teacher of the Year

Jacki Apple, an Art Center College of Design faculty member of over 28 years, as well as a practicing visual, performance and media artist, critic and writer since the early 70s, has been awarded the 2011 Distinguished Teacher of Art Award from the College Art Association. This award is presented to an artist of distinction who has developed a philosophy or technique of instruction based on her experience as an artist; has encouraged her students to develop their own individual abilities; and/or has made contributions to the body of knowledge understood as embracing technical, material, aesthetic and perceptual issues.

From the official announcement:

For the past twenty-eight years, Jacki Apple has provided students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, with a dynamic, inspiring, and evolving model of the possibilities and rewards of an interdisciplinary practice. An artist, writer, and producer, she has produced work in multiple modes—performance, installation, drawing, book art, photography, film, radio, text, and audio—and presciently engages the opportunities afforded by new technologies. Praised by students and colleagues alike for her intelligence, generosity, enthusiasm, and critical discernment, Apple adeptly bridges various disciplines using a wide scope of knowledge about contemporary culture and technology and a depth of understanding about the history and practice of the visual and performing arts. A gifted communicator, Apple is exceptionally effective in encouraging students to think for themselves.

CAA will formally recognize the recipients at a special awards ceremony during the 100th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, on Thursday afternoon, February 23, 2012, 12:30–2:00 PM, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Led by Barbara Nesin, president of the CAA Board of Directors, the awards ceremony will take place in West Hall Meeting Room 502AB, Level 2; it is free and open to the public. The Los Angeles Convention Center is located downtown, at 1201 South Figueroa Street adjacent to the Staples Center.

For more information and to read the full announcement of all the CAA 2012 Awards for Distinction, please see

Trustee Charles F. Johnson Flies High with “Red Tails”

"Red Tails" Executive Producer and Art Center Trustee Charles Floyd Johnson.

One of Art Center’s newer Trustees, Charles Floyd Johnson has a long-standing and successful career as a producer in the entertainment industry. He first started becoming familiar with the College during August of last year, became a Trustee earlier this year, and is looking forward to assisting Art Center in a number of different capacities, from outreach to fundraising.

“I came out for a graduation and was so impressed with Art Center, its students, and its plans for the future, that I said this is the place for me,” said Johnson, who points to being particularly impressed by the College’s Strategic Plan. “It felt to me like a very forward-thinking agenda, in terms of both making the school more user-friendly for the students and also making Art Center more dominant. Art Center already has a wonderful reputation in so many of its areas, but the College is interested in becoming even stronger.”

Johnson is currently serving as executive producer of the CBS television drama NCIS, which celebrates its 200th episode on February 7. He is also one of the producers of Red Tails, the Lucasfilm feature about the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first all African-American aerial unit who both helped bring down the Nazi war machine during World War II and challenged racial stereotypes back home. Defying the odds, the film starring an all African-American cast — including Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker and David Oleyowo — debuted last weekend in second place by bringing in nearly $19 million at the box office.

“It’s a story that has resonance with a lot of people,” said Johnson of the film which he and fellow Red Tails producer George Lucas had been trying to get off the ground for 23 years. “These young men were not encouraged to fly for their country. They were not expected to succeed. But they triumphed over adversity. These were men who fought racism at home and fascism abroad. They did it successfully and they were heroes, not victims.”

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Take Action! Volunteer for a “Day of Service in Pasadena”

Continuing a volunteer initiative launched in celebration of the College’s 80th Anniversary in 2010—and in support of the National Day of Service inspired by the life of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.—Art Center is proud to bring back “Art Center Takes Action: A Day of Service in Pasadena”.

“Art Center Takes Action: A Day of Service in Pasadena” will kick-off at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 18 on the rooftop of the College’s South Campus. Volunteers will have breakfast with College leaders and representatives from participating organizations. From there, teams of Art Center volunteers will grab a boxed lunch and be dispatched to locations around the city to take on such tasks as collecting food, facilities improvement, environmental clean-up, beautification projects and special activities.

Day of Service 2012 Poster

The "Art Center Takes Action" poster was originally designed by Advertising student Ray Allan David.

The local organizations that Art Center volunteers will engage with this year include: AIDS Service Center, which develops and delivers services, advocacy and education tailored to improve the quality of life for those impacted by and at risk for HIV/AIDS; Arroyo Seco Foundation, which promotes the preservation and promotion of one of Southern California’s greatest natural treasures; The Boys & Girls Clubs of Pasadena, whose goal is to improve the lives of children by helping them build self-assurance and develop leadership skills while reinforcing positive values; and Villa Gardens Retirement Community, a premier retirement community steeped in tradition, culture, caring and a love of life.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, friends and family are all encouraged to volunteer. Sign-up now using the online registration form to volunteer with your organization of choice or visit the CSE office at Hillside Campus to sign-up in person. For more information, please call 626.396.2323 or email

*** You must sign-up prior to the event to ensure we’re best prepared to serve our community and that we can provide enough meals for volunteers.

Art Center volunteers beautify the courtyard at The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena in 2010.