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define-vertical-neil-webOne day of the year, classes are canceled at MIAD. Not because of snow. Because of a campus-wide open exchange instigated by seniors’ capstone projects. The day is called MIAD DEFINE.

For Grace Blevins (Communication Design), speaking with students about her senior project at MIAD DEFINE was an exciting opportunity to share the inspiration behind her re-branding of the St. Lombard, Illinois, crepe shop, “La France,” and how the shop’s owner is looking forward to incorporating her designs.

MIAD DEFINE places seniors’ work at the center of the college’s learning. The day is a rare opportunity for freshman, sophomore blevins-exhibit-1-weband junior students to discover the journey of a senior directly from exhibiting seniors, and ask questions along the way. Milwaukee’s Fox 6 News was on hand to document some of the seniors in action.

Sculpture major Sarah Meadors described her positive experience from the Preview Night and the opening of the 2012 Senior Exhibition, having sold all of her work on view. She also discussed how contacts she has made at MIAD, both with students and with alumni, will help her move forward in her career. After graduation, Meadors plans to start a custom furniture company with senior Josh Hintz (Drawing).

meadors-head-shot-webMIAD DEFINE emphasizes the importance of dialogue, not only with individual seniors, but also through 17 panel discussions and presentations that explore the MIAD experience. One discussion, “The ‘C’ Word: Critiquing the Critique,” featured lively interaction between the audience of students, faculty and staff, and the panel of experts.

The panel comprised Professor and Director of Academic Service Learning Leslie Fedorchuk; Tom Strini, co-owner and managing edior of Third Coast Digest; Mark Gage ’11 (Communication Design); Ashley Potter ’07, Communication Design faculty; Jamal Currie, Time-Based Media Professor; and Visiting Faculty Member Nicholas Frank.

Within the multiple issues addressed, Frank advised that good critiques are directed, moderated and constructive. He aslo added that critiques are an “essential interchange, a tool for growth.”

define-c-panel-webStudents also sought advice on how to move forward from critiques as a lesson, taking a step back to ask questions. “Getting answers can lead you to a better direction, instead of being sold on one of two directions.”

Strini said artists “need to be open to the possibility that [those critiquing are] right and you’re wrong.”

Fedorchuk offered an important piece of advise to students, saying respect must be “the undercurrent for anyone involved in the critique.”

David Martin, Vice President of Academic Affairs, thanked students, faculty and staff for their participation and contributions to making MIAD DEFINE a success. “The senior presentations were lively, and the panels and forums were terrific discussions. This is all due to the collective intellectual and creative energy each of you brings to the college. MIAD DEFINE is a unique experience in higher education.”

Click here to view the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MIAD DEFINE photo gallery.
Click here to view MIAD Communication Design’s flickr page, with photos from MIAD DEFINE and the 2012 Senior Exhibition.
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Top image: Interior Architecture and Design senior Christa Feider speaks with students about her capstone project. Photo taken by MIAD President Neil Hoffman.
Second image: Grace Blevins discusses her project. Photo courtesy of MIAD Communication Design’s flickr page. Photo courtesy of Blevins.
Third image: Sarah Meadors
Bottom image: Panel of experts from “The ‘C’ Word: Critiquing the Critique.” Photo courtesy of MIAD Communication Design’s flickr page.