Real Education for the Real World
- Stories about taking students beyond the classroom
Class projects may elicit a rapid heartbeat and sleepless nights, but students in Elizabeth Halfacre’s art classes typically look forward to their assignments because they know their work may be used for more than just a grade. Halfacre finds projects for her assignments that allow students a glimpse of how art gets used in the real world.
“The choices range from entering community logo competitions to designing materials for community projects such as whimsical road signs,” Halfacre said. Much of her students’ work has found its way into the community, even gracing the covers of the Combined Fund Drive (public employees’ annual fundraising campaign) brochures over a four year period. These designs were also produced as posters that were distributed across the state.
“This is pretty significant as the brochures go to virtually every state employee,” Halfacre said. The campaign has raised more than $84 million since it began 23 years ago.
This quarter, the students designed logos for the SHAREWHEEL/TENT CITY (Seattle Housing and Resource Efforts and Women's Housing, Equality, and Enhancement League) and Team Survivor Northwest.
Halfacre’s students also designed a logo for a new Writer in Residence Program at Echo Lake Elementary. The school had partnered with Pacific Northwest Writers Association this past year to help cultivate strong writing skills in the next generation.
“You have to show the students that you respect their work,” said Terry Stevens-Ayers, who coordinated the logo project. “They became serious about their work and the program when they saw how important it was to the teachers and parents.”
Steven-Ayers, a member of the Site Council at Echo Lake, worked with Halfacre and her students in the production of the logo. “We didn’t have a budget to hire a designer to design the logo, but we knew there was a lot of talent at the college,” she said.
The Echo Lake students experienced the process of working as clients with the college designers. In the end, the logo created by SCC student Sara Patten was selected to be used for fundraising and advertising purposes, in books compiled with the children’s work and other various uses.
Stevens-Ayers said that another valuable outcome of the logo project is that the Echo Lake children got to see that their outside community is really invested in them and cares about them
Students enrolled in Halfacre’s class this winter had another logo creation opportunity; this time for the new Urban Poets Group which is offered through the C Art Gallery in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Seattle. Halfacre, who is very involved in the community art scene, asked owner, Cheryl Shaw if she would be interested in students creating logos that could be considered for the poetry series.
Gallery owner Cheryl Shaw liked the idea so much that the students’ logo ideas will be exhibited and voted on at an upcoming art fair. Their submissions will be shown at the Urban Art Fair on March 8 at the gallery, located at ArtSpace Hiawatha Lofts, 855 Hiawatha Place S. in the Rainier Valley area of Seattle. More than 50 Northwest artists and arts organizations will exhibit that day.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Halfacre said. “Their work will be out there for lots and lots of people to see.”
Shaw is currently planning this season’s schedule for C Art Gallery which, when finished, will bear a logo from one of Halfacre’s students.
-- Donna Myers, SCC