An advanced design class has provided students an opportunity to join the Milwaukee Bucks and Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s long-term efforts to promote literacy among area youth.
The work of Kaycie Dunlap ’11 (Time-Based Media) and Alex Groh ’11 (Illustration) was selected by Northwestern Mutual and the Bucks to support the team’s 2011 Read to Achieve program and Reading Challenge with the Milwaukee County Library System.
"The Bucks are pleased to further our advocacy in youth literacy by joining our longtime partner, Northwestern Mutual, in a unique collaboration with the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design."
– John Steinmiller, Bucks Vice President
Dunlap designed, illustrated and wrote the comic book, "Battle for the Library," marking the feature debut of Bucks mascot Bango, who plays the central character fighting for literacy and the Milwaukee Public Library.
Groh created the poster and scorecard used to support the effort, and help children track their reading progress.
Bango’s print debut kicked off at Milwaukee’s Central Library on March 19, and at the Bucks game on March 20, where thousands of children received the comic book. Thousands more will receive it through Bucks community events.
"The Bucks are pleased to further our advocacy in youth literacy by joining our longtime partner, Northwestern Mutual, in a unique collaboration with the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design," Bucks Vice President of Business Operations John Steinmiller said. "Reading is unquestionably the key to success for all young people, and creative methods of reaching them … are critical in these times."
As part of the class, students attended Bucks’ games and events to understand Bango’s representation of the sports franchise, and the potential of supporting materials to encourage children to read.
"The collaboration was a very work intensive yet rewarding experience," said Dunlap. "Because the comic book was meant to be targeted to fourth-sixth graders, I went for a story that was action-packed, yet campy at the same time. I am grateful for the opportunity for my art to reach a wide audience and greatly value what I have learned in the class."
Groh described the project as "tough," yet also rewarding both educationally and socially.
"We had a lot of late nights … doing stuff we’d never really worked with before, but by the end of the project that group of people ended up encompassing some of my best friends at MIAD. We came out with some really tight stuff that was a lot of fun to do."
Northwestern Mutual Vice President Donna Tillisch summarized the project as one among "concerned community organizations to make reading materials accessible and entertaining for local kids."
"Reading is unquestionably the key to success for all young people, and creative methods of reaching them … are critical in these times."