The panel at Tuesday night’s BmoreTech event. From left: Andy Mangold of Friends of The Web, Mike Wolf of Cynergy, David Gracyalny of MICA and Technically Baltimore co-founder and panel moderator Brian James Kirk.
Tuesday night’s BmoreTech meetup at Cynergy‘s offices in Harbor East asked one question: how good does the interactive design scene in Baltimore look right now? [Full disclosure: Technically Baltimore is the organizer of the BmoreTech meetup.]
Mike Wolf, principal architect at the Baltimore office of the international, digital-design firm Cynergy, said “there’s a great design community in Baltimore,” citing the history of print design in this city — including the historic Globe Poster company, which closed shop in Charm City in 2010.
But what’s lacking, said Andy Mangold, one-fourth of Friends of The Web, is the networking between design companies in the city and students at Baltimore’s premier art institution, the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Indeed, that was some of the thrust behind the evening’s meetup: figuring out how you keep good designers from fleeing for such other cities as New York City and Washington, D.C.
David Gracyalny, the dean of professional and continuing studies at MICA and the third member of the night’s panel, said that while MICA might not say so explicitly, it is a goal of the school to keep its graduates around.
“We really do believe that Baltimore is a place with opportunity,” he said. “It’s a growing, dynamic environment for ambitious, entrepreneurial-minded students.”
Mangold, a MICA graduate, said that he and the other co-founders of the Friends of The Web settled in Baltimore because they “can afford to take more risks we couldn’t take in a bigger city,” largely because it’s cheaper to live in this city. Which means the Friends could spend time working on projects like Jittergram, instead of just projects that will pay them well.