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MIAD students design selfie museum at The Avenue in Milwaukee

Feb 22, 2022 | News

From the infinite to the past, to nostalgia for Disco, to alien abductions – the imagination and creativity of MIAD students knows no bounds in another successful project through the MIAD Innovation Center.

In what may be one of their most unique experiences, MIAD students were tapped by Josh Krsnak, CEO of Hempel Real Estate, to design 24 immersive scenarios for the selfie museum at the 3rd Street Market Hall, the project Krsnak is co-developing at Milwaukee’s The Avenue.

The project resulted from the reputation the MIAD Innovation Center and students’ work has gained with clients throughout the greater Milwaukee region.

Challenger Deep room at selfie museum

Challenger Deep room by Lydia Kolinski

Lydia Kolinski ’21 (Product Design), one of the eight students selected for the paid summer project, said she was drawn to the project in part by “the story of the Grand Avenue Mall itself,” which she remembered growing up.

“So with this experience … it made me really want to help bring back life to [The Avenue]! It also was a great professional opportunity to get my feet wet in the display/exhibition design industry,” Kolinski said.

Sophomore Paolo Vacala (Communication Design) agreed, adding, “I was very eager to … get a feel for what working for a client is like.”

Checkmate room at selfie museum

Checkmate room by Paolo Vacala

Kolinski designed the Challenger Deep, Paint Utopia and the Fragmented Universes rooms; Vacala designed the synthwave-inspired room, along with the Green Keys and Checkmate rooms.

“The students were part of this project throughout the entire process – from concepting to sourcing materials for the booths to overseeing installation of the designs,” said Drew Maxwell, executive director of the MIAD Innovation Center.

As is the practice with the center’s real-world projects, client interaction is key. “Students met with the client and toured the space to learn about the client’s needs and vision, brainstormed ideas, designed multiple concepts and then presented them to the client. Students worked with the client to refine their amazing ideas and make them come to life,” said Maxwell. “Not only did the students design the booths, but they also took initiative to pitch ideas for the selfie museum’s name, branding and merchandise.”

According to Krsnak, booth designs in the selfie museum will rotate throughout the year, with MIAD students working as consulting artists.

In addition to Vacala and Kolinski, Colleen Schinler ’21 (Illustration), Michael Garcia-Krapfl ’22 (Illustration), Kayla VanProoyen ’24 (Illustration), Olivia Paul ’21 (Product Design) and Sophie Yufa ’21 (Communication Design) and Griffin McDermott ’22 (Communication Design) designed rooms in the selfie museum. Watch Michael Garcia-Krapfl discuss the design and installation process, and his collaboration with the MIAD Innovation Center. 

Disco selfie museum booth

Disco room by Griffin McDermott

Alien abduction selfie museum room

Alien abduction room by Michael Garcia-Krapfl

Dive bar bathroom selfie museum photo

Dive bar bathroom by Colleen Schinler

Monet Park selfie museum booth

Monet Park by Colleen Schinler

Related stories:

Read more about Milwaukee’s The Avenue and the soon-to-open MIAD Gallery at The Ave, which will provide hands-on experience, training students in gallery curation, art preparation and the business of art and design.

Read more about the MIAD Innovation Center and its clients.


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