Not every act of philanthropy to Art Center involves writing a check. It should come as no surprise that friends and alumni of this artistic mecca are naturally predisposed to get creative with their giving. Sometimes gifts come in the form of goods and services. Computer software, fonts and even lighting are some of the in-kind commitments made to the College that are powerfully shaping the Art Center experience.
A recent sizeable gift of 3D design software and training services from Autodesk is providing Art Center students with hands-on experience using the same technology preferred by professionals in industry. The software is currently installed on Art Center’s 500 Macintosh and Windows personal computers and accessible to all undergraduate and graduate students. The donation benefits designers in every program, particularly those in the departments of Environmental Design, Film, Product Design and Transportation Design.
“As the world becomes exponentially more competitive, it is critical our students enter the workplace proficient in the same software used throughout the industry,” says Emil Mertzel, Environmental Design instructor at Art Center and partner at Lookinglass Architecture and Design.
A 2012 gift from Monotype carries similar benefits. The global provider of typeface solutions provided all full- and part-time students enrolled at the College with free access to and use of 58 desktop fonts in a “Student Font Pack” as well as the company’s complete slate of web fonts.
“High quality font designs with depth, breadth and extended value can serve as a foundation for building strong typographic skills,” says Allan Haley, Monotype’s director of words and letters and the driving force behind the company’s gift. “When I was a student, type for projects was limited to my feeble hand-drawn headlines, half-used dry transfer lettering sheets and the few complete fonts of metal type available in the design lab. After graduation it was an epiphany for me to see what terrific graphic design could be produced when a deep, rich and wide typographic palette is available.”
In-kind gifts, such as a significant commitment from architectural lighting firm Vode, are also playing a role in the expansion of the College’s South Campus. Facilitated by company co-founder Scott Yu BS ’82 Transportation, the company’s long-lasting and environmentally mindful fixtures will light up Art Center’s new Illustration and Fine Art Building in 2014. “We saw an opportunity to help Art Center update to the latest technology while harvesting significant long-term savings through reduced energy costs,” says Yu.
He adds that designers who are alumni are often in a unique position to benefit the College. “Having been through the Art Center educational experience,” he explains, “we often understand better than many others the needs of students. And as creators of innovative products and services, we often have resources at our disposal that can help meet those needs. I would encourage alumni to bring to bear the problem solving skills they acquired at Art Center and in their careers to help future artists and designers.”