The senior exhibition for BFA Design students is now open! Design students graduating this May have the chance to present their work in the BFA Senior Design Practicum Exhibition. The exhibition is showing now at the Student Exhibition Center until May 14.
On display are works from students who are currently enrolled in DES 490. In this course, students finalize their portfolios and other promotional materials, establish an online presence, and finally, work alongside a client on the completion of a ‘real-world’ project. “Since this is the last design class for most of our students, we focus on how students will present themselves, discuss interview strategies, help them finalize their resumes, and share any internship or employment opportunities that come our way,” shares Maria Gerasimchuk-Djordjevic, assistant professor in the Art + Design Department who also teaches DES 490.
The course teaches students the best ways to market their work, as well as themselves as an artist. Students do this by creating a set of elements that will be useful as they begin their professional careers—“this means designing personal branding tools: logos, business cards, stationery, postcards and even some souvenirs for prospective clients,” shares Jacek Fraczak, also an assistant professor in the Art + Design Department who teaches DES 490. “Students also get knowledge and a bit of practical training in making offers, preparing contracts, invoices, and most difficult, reasonably estimating quotes for their work.”
Students are responsible for finding the client they work with during the semester. Each client has a different need students solve through their work, in areas such as “visual communication, branding, editorial graphic design, image creation, book and magazine illustration, poster design, etc., etc.,” Jacek says. In this process, students communicate directly with their clients, determining what elements need to be created as well as the timeline by which they are to be created. Students “analyze and define their clients’ problems, do proper research and find solutions, design prototypes, and often assist in commercial production,” shares Jacek.
All throughout the BFA Design program, students are in preparation for what is to come following graduation. “Our students are prepared for the ‘real world’ throughout their education within our program,” shares Maria, “conceptual and practical aspects are a part of every assignment that our students complete, and the exhibition happens to be the end of their journey with us.” Students worked for a wide variety of clients this year: local businesses, large businesses, churches, charitable institutions, a newspaper representing local minority communities, museums, educational institutions of all kinds, book publishers and other media, a veteran’s hospital, community associations, gyms, nonprofits, the Graduate College of MSU, and even a bakery!
Presenting in this exhibition is a huge steppingstone for students as they transition from academic to professional work. One of the biggest takeaways from the client projects is learning how to communicate and collaborate with a client. COVID-19 restrictions made these client projects a little more difficult than past years. “Both Jacek and I have found various tools to assist our students […] in class,” Maria says, “and despite having sessions via Zoom, Slack, and email this semester, students have been producing quite interesting projects.”
Throughout these projects and this class as a whole, students gain confidence in their skills, with the goal of expanding those skills through lifelong learning, even after school ends. “I am always proud of my students’ effort that well addresses clients’ needs […] in a really creative, visually appealing way,” shares Jacek, “and when clients recognize my students’ skills, creative minds, fresh attitudes to solving problems, and when they are happy with the results and use them for their purposes.” This closing exhibition is also extra-special in that it will be the last exhibition at the current Student Exhibition Center location. “Although this year has been challenging for students and faculty alike, it is an optimistic feeling that we are able to have a physical show this year,” shares Maria, “[it will be] a bit nostalgic for all of us.”
Students with work in the exhibition: Caleb Allen, Kelly Baker, Katie Batliner, Alexandra Bohnert, Gretchen Decker, Cariann Dureka, Gabrielle Eisterhold, Holly Elijah, Kathryn Garbee, Alisha Heitz, Erin Hoyt, Craig Hunter, Hannah Hurst, Shelby Lews, Katie Lloyd, Lancer Moyer, Kjella Page, Briana Perrin, Keaton Sharpe, Bri Shatto, Bill Sioholm, Ellen Steckler, Natalie Sykora, Emily Thornborrow, Madison Weiss.
The exhibition is showing at the Student Exhibition Center. Address: 833 E. Walnut St. Springfield, MO 65805. Hours: 1pm-6pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; Tuesday 2-5pm; and Saturday 11am-5pm. Please wear a mask and practice safe distancing when visiting. Call 417-836-6999 or 417-836-6996 for additional details. You can also view the exhibition online, at www.gradualgraduation.com.