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Milwaukee Ballet sponsor features work by Illustration senior

Working through the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s (MIAD) Lubar Innovation Center, Illustration senior Kayla VanProoyen was hired to produce an ad highlighting the Milwaukee Ballet’s presenting sponsor, the Herzfeld Foundation.

The Milwaukee Ballet’s spring production, “Cinderella,” was presented by the Herzfeld Foundation, which awards grants to Wisconsin-based non-profit organizations supporting arts and culture, education and civic improvements. The Herzfeld Foundation collaborated with the Lubar Innovation Center to select a student to conceptualize and produce an ad for the ballet program.

“For the design of the ad, I researched the director, Michael Pink, and his rendition of “Cinderella” to become familiar with the project,” explains VanProoyen. “As for inspiration, I looked at old ballet paintings, specifically Edgar Degas’ work. I wanted to translate the chalkiness and elegance present in his work into the ad I was creating.”

VanProoyen wanted to make sure the ad fit in with the rest of the ballet’s branding. “I worked with the colors in the current identity of the “Cinderella” ads to ensure cohesion, and I included subtle flecks of green as a callback to the Herzfeld Foundation,” she says.

A senior at MIAD, VanProoyen balanced this project with preparing for her senior capstone work, an animated pilot episode called “Staircase to Elsewhere.” VanProoyen’s capstone project, as well as that of 210 other MIAD seniors, are on view at MIAD’s Senior Exhibition April 19 – May 11, 2024.

After the project concluded, VanProoyen was invited to a showing of “Cinderella.” “It was incredibly rewarding to see Michael Pink talk about his direction at the show, witness the mastery of the ballet, and see the ad in the program booklet,” she says. “I’m incredibly grateful I could work on such an awesome project.”

MIAD’s Lubar Innovation Center connects MIAD students with companies to work on paid creative projects while providing support and guidance through the process.

“Working with the Innovation Center is always a pleasure! I think it’s great they connect students with professional projects that allow us to gain experience and develop our portfolios,” says VanProoyen. “Even outside of the projects, I encourage any student to check out the Innovation Center and talk to [Drew Maxwell and Kyle James], as they are amazing resources for advice and portfolio reviews.”

Keep up with VanProoyen on her website and learn more about MIAD’s Innovation Center!


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