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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.”


Black Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition: Faith Allen

In their first exhibition, Faith Allen ’25 (Illustration) went big. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design sophomore submitted two artworks to the Black Art & Design Juried Student Exhibition and reveled in the freedom to create the largest pieces they could.

Product photography serves MIAD alum’s business

Briana Hibbs ’12 (Photography) started her own handmade earrings business, Made by the Lake, in January 2019. She relies on her eye for product photography to show her jewelry in its best light, and the business now boasts a successful following of over 2,000 customers on Facebook.

MIAD student work highlights Unfinished Legacy

Unfinished Legacy, a brand started by Milwaukee artist Brema Brema, enjoyed a promotional video created by current Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design senior Hannah Davis for her Digital Media: Video Production elective course in fall 2022. The semester-long project culminated in a three-minute video and three shorter clips advertising the brand.

Two MIAD alumni featured in Museum of Wisconsin Art

The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), located in West Bend, has announced its “Ten at Ten” exhibition celebrating the work of ten emerging artists for the tenth anniversary in its new Mothership building. Two MIAD alumni, Lindsey Yeager ’21 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts & Illustration) and Eduardo Zavala ’22 (NSP: Fine Arts), were selected to show work at the exhibition.

“Girl Hero” creator, MIAD alum, on art and subversion

During her final year at MIAD, Zachary Ochoa’s senior thesis was majorly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ochoa ’20 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts) bounced back by creating a fantastical universe of paintings featuring Girl Hero, a trans Mickey Mouse-esque warrior.


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