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MIAD named a top graphic design school for fourth consecutive year; two students receive top honors

MILWAUKEE (April 19, 2019) …. For the fourth consecutive year, MIAD Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) magazine has named MIAD a Top Graphic Design School. GDUSA also recognized two MIAD Communication Design students—junior Cera Propper and senior Tony Holz—as 2019 Students to Watch.

GDUSA offers the Top Design School distinction to colleges across the country that excel in preparing students to work in the field of graphic design after graduation.

“It’s a priority to make sure there are professional experiences for students while they’re at MIAD,” said Dale Shidler, MIAD’s Chair of 2D/4D Design.

This year, MIAD Communication Design students have gained professional experience working with companies and nonprofits such as Colectivo Coffee, First Stage Children’s Theater, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Fromm PetFest, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin and more.

“In other programs, students may only work with a professional partner once, at the end of their academic career. At MIAD, this happens several times throughout their time here,” Shidler added.

Another standout aspect of both MIAD’s Communication Design program and the entire college’s curriculum is the integration of technology, such as laser cutting and 3D printing.

“Students are learning these tools as regular parts of what they’re doing, so that they are already familiar with them post-graduation, when they may have to use them again,” Shidler said.

Cera Propper

Cera Propper


For Cera Propper, a CD junior from West Bend, Wis., having real clients has helped solidify why she loves design.

Some students might relax and stop innovating after being named a 2019 Student to Watch. But for Propper, the recognition is extremely motivational.

“It’s a great feeling to be acknowledged for my work and as a person,” she said, “but, it just makes me want to try new things, push myself and get even better.”

Tony Holz has also enjoyed being involved in curricular partnerships. Some of his work for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee has appeared all over the city, including on the front of Bublr bikes. In addition, his work was accepted in 2017 to the Society of Illustrators Annual Student Scholarship Competition in New York City. He also won a 2019 Alumni Thesis Scholarship award. The scholarship is funded through donations by MIAD alumni, and winners were chosen by a panel of alumni. The award money directly supports fabrication and installation of thesis projects, which in Tony’s case was a series of animated videos as part of a transgender and gender nonconforming youth suicide prevention campaign.

Tony Holz

Tony Holz

Tony appreciates the flexibility MIAD’s Communication Design program offers, allowing him to work his love of illustration into his projects. The combination has served him well as a motion design intern at Blackbox Visual, a design and animation studio in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

As a recipient of MIAD’s Board of Trustee scholarship, Holz has sincere gratitude for individuals who have made it possible for him to attend MIAD. “They are why I can be here. And being here has led to my involvement in all of these great projects and opportunities.”


Ordinary people doing extraordinary work: Growing Resistance

In the 50th anniversary year at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the college presents “Growing Resistance: Untold Stories of Milwaukee’s Community Guardians,” an exhibition in the Brooks Stevens Gallery running January 8 – March 2, 2024. Related programs include zine making, a book club, student-guided tours and a story circle with community partners.

Metalwork and molds: MIAD alum on Kohler Residency

Eye-opening and awe-inspiring: this is how Nirmal Raja ’08 (Painting) describes learning to work with liquid metal. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently completed the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Residency in Kohler, Wisconsin.

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Dale Shidler

Dale Shidler, Professor of Communication Design, received the January 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Dale’s nominations highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity, Kindness and Community.

MIAD students, alumni, faculty create work for ThriveOn King

Four Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) community members will contribute to the first floor of the new ThriveOn King community hub on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They make up part of the 20 Milwaukee artists who will convey the history and heritage of Bronzeville in this collaborative space.

MIAD Board of Trustees welcomes new members

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Board of Trustees welcomed two new members at their January 2024 meeting. Dr. Daniel A. Schroeder, co-founder and president/CEO of Organization Development Consultants, Inc. (ODC), and Noah Stone, reference librarian and circulation assistant at North Shore Public Library, joined MIAD’s Board.


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