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Art students take on festival marketing
[April 07, 2007]

Art students take on festival marketing

(Times-News (Burlington, NC) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 7--GRAHAM -- An unlikely group has gotten a gig with the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival.

Second-year graphic design students at Alamance Community College have taken on the marketing for this spring's festival in Chatham County.

For a little while at least, their classroom has become a real-life design studio. A row of rainbow-colored posters sits along the wall, and handbills and magazines featuring festival ads are stacked all over the place.

Last year, festival coordinators agreed to give the students a shot at the project and chose two designs. This year, Jordan Puryear and Lissa Farrell liked so many of the designs that they chose nine.

Farrell said it worked out well, because different designs appealed to different target audiences in publications like Carolina Parent, Blue Ridge Outdoors and Endurance Magazine.

And as for the students, they have some good work for their portfolios and experience in working with a client.

"The students have to make a presentation to the client and sell it to the client," said instructor David Davenport, who functions as the creative director on the project. A second instructor, Denise Archuleta, handles the production end of things.

"We're after customer satisfaction," Davenport said. "Because it's a real-world project, they work harder and they'll push it farther." Davenport said a former student knew someone on the festival's board, and he followed up by pitching a student project to the organizers.

Not many graphic arts programs at community colleges take on real clients, but Davenport and Archuleta think it's important for their students.

The students went to the Shakori Hills fall festival first to get a sense of the place. Then they met with Puryear and Farrell in January to talk about the different sorts of people the festival draws, as well as the wide range of folk and roots music it offers.

"I think I would be stale if I was just giving canned projects," Davenport said. And for student Kim VanWieren, whose poster was chosen to be posted in store windows all over the place, "It builds credibility in her portfolio." VanWieren, who lives in Pleasant Grove, said she "was inspired by the music in the fall" as well as the non-stop dancing when she came up with her wavy design.

"From that I gathered a feeling of movement, and that's why I had the pictures on a tilt," she said. She tried "to make it bright and springtime and just fun." VanWieren said she learned "that what you first put out isn't the final piece." In the real world, clients want changes -- sometimes at the last minute.

Another student, Whitney Cox of Graham, had her design chosen for a handbill packed with details on the event. Above her photo montage of festival-goers, she created a brightly colored background that "looks like a sunrise." "It gives you real experience just knowing how to talk with a client," Cox said.

Puryear said using students as designers fits in well with the festival's mission of reaching out to the community. And he's been "very happy with the results." In fact, he's impressed that the students have met every deadline and every specification needed to go to press.

Copyright (c) 2007, Times-News, Burlington, N.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
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