Flipping the Typical GD-Class Portfolio Exhibit into a Meaningful Change in the Surrounding Community (And the Students!)

This project—at its base level—is about students uniting to create an exhibition space experience to raise money for a local organization. Simple right? The only stipulations are that, 1) the student chosen recipient must be an official not-for-profit organization; 2) the organization chosen cannot be a political- or faith-based organization (as those create opportunities for considerable division within the students); and, 3) a physical exhibition is presented at the end of the semester for the final phase of the project.

The entire group tasks involve democratically selecting their chosen charity; naming the exhibition; all physical fundraising efforts prior-to and including the final exhibition; and organizing and participation of a singular activity -with- the chosen not-for-profit group prior to the exhibition. For the detail-work with this specific project the class is broken down into various subcommittees to manage those areas. My role with this project is solely as a consultant only when asked, the senior students are required to self-facilitate and take complete ownership of the project.

There are typically two sections of this course running simultaneously during the semester, so a “friendly competition” between the studios begins as the winning team gets a prize package (typically food stuffs and good kitschy things)! But both sections exhibit at the same time, in the same space divided equally by coin flip.

Exhibition work shown here has been created by 2017-, 2018-, and 2019-senior student groups. The amounts raised have steadily increased from the first group’s $600 achievement (one section only that year) to the most recent 2019 combined sections’ total reaching just over $3K!

This specific project is part of a Senior Design Studio 2 (capstone) course. The primary focuses of this course are portfolio development, professional presentation, and professional practices. Students refine projects created in previous coursework for inclusion in a professional interview portfolio, and design an identity/brand for themselves. Applying previously learned methods of brand development, these skills will be applied to professional self-promotion by employing: combination of type and image, organization of large amounts of text in a sequential format, consistent application of personal brand identity and strong conceptual content. Projects include a comprehensive development of a resume, interview portfolio, and simple personal web site. Common professional practices are discussed as are technical print production and printing issues.