Design / Events

Baltimore designers spent a Saturday helping nonprofits stand out

Grassroots DesignFest, held at MICA, provided opportunities for students to get experience helping local organizations.

The scene at Grassroots DesignFest. (Photo by Landon Green, courtesy of MICA)

On Saturday, February 24, MICA debuted the Grassroots DesignFest. The10-hour event brought designers and local nonprofit organizations together for a day of workshopping and web design exploration.

Throughout the event, students and designers grouped together with nonprofit representatives to work on logo designs, website updates, branding strategy, infographics, and more in a combined classroom-workplace environment. The nonprofits involved included Arts Every Day, Bike Maryland, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

The event was held at MICA’s RK&K building, and the attendees consisted of high school, college, and professional designers from MICA, UMBC, Stevenson University, and the Baltimore city school systems.

“The thing that makes this pretty unique is the mix of designers and the day-long involvement of the nonprofits,” said Maya Kosok, DesignFest’s coordinator, explaining that nonprofits often show up to design-a-thons at the end and participation is limited to a single school.

Among these working groups was one for Motor House, including Natalia Arias, a JHU Nursing graphic designer; Chad Greenberg, a graphic design graduate student at MICA; Destiny Bennett, an architecture student at the Baltimore Design School; and Charlotte Tegen, a senior graphic design student at MICA. The team was tasked with reconciling Motor House’s old interface design with its new developments, including the cafe and black box theatre.
“They have a comedy night and a game night, so we’re trying to figure out a system so that the color relates to that,” Arias said.
Connections to MICA were evident. Bennett got involved in the event through the arts college’s accelerator program.
“I think there should be more opportunities likes this,” Tegen said. “I’m sad that this is the first time I’ve gotten to do one and I’m going to leave since I’m a senior.”
Sponsored by the T. Rowe Price Foundation, DesignFest was the brainchild of the Foundation’s president, John Brothers.
“This event provides a win-win opportunity for the nonprofit community to access creative talent to help advance their missions, for students to develop and learn from real-world situations, and for T. Rowe Price’s associates to use their skill-sets to have a positive impact in the community,” he said in a statement. “We hope that our contributions to this event, which go beyond financial sponsorship, will continue to support the development of local talent in Baltimore.”


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