WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Nov. 16, 2018 — Visual Communication Design students joined a community effort sponsored by Pittsburgh designers to support the Tree of Life synagogue as a result of the Oct. 27 mass shooting in Pittsburgh.
“Each student enrolled in my design class has been asked to create and submit a card design that symbolizes love, support and hope for our fellow human beings,” explained professor Sarah Davis, who teaches in the Visual Communication Design program and resides in Pittsburgh.
AIGA Pittsburgh is one of 72 chapters of the professional association for design and according to its website, the project will support the “grieving community by creating cards that we can deliver to the Tree of Life Synagogue, the local Jewish Community organizations, the police station, and the greater Pittsburgh Community.”
“This is not only a chance for students to realize the power of their visual communication skills, but to practice looking beyond their own opinions and beliefs to instill a sense of acceptance and compassion toward others,” she said.
“My students turned in their designs this past Monday and are now revising them after an in-class critique. These final designs will be submitted to the AIGA website by Monday (Nov. 26),” said Davis.
Professor Davis is education co-director on the AIGA Pittsburgh board. Her former student, alumna Sydney Bennett was instrumental in initiating this project and also serves on the AIGA board.
Bennett now lives in Regent Square, near Squirrel Hill. She previously resided in Follansbee, W.Va. and graduated from Brooke High School.
“Pittsburgh is such a neighborhood-focused community, and to have something like that happen and tear apart the family and community aspect of my neighborhood, was awful. I reached out to one of my fellow board members and discussed what we could do.
“We wondered what would be valuable. We wanted it to be an act of kindness and also a way for designers to express some much needed love. Since I’m on the board it felt right that I would do this,” Bennett said. She’s been asking other chapters of the national organization to get involved and share cards as well.
“The more the merrier,” she said.
Bennett now works at ThoughtForm, a design-consultancy firm located in Pittsburgh.
Eventually the WLU cards will be shown to the public as an art display on the WLU campus in the new pop-up gallery, known as the Moon Gallery, located in the Media Arts Center.
All cards also will be distributed to the Tree of Life Synagogue and community members like first responders in Squirrel Hill, once completed. The card distribution will likely take place in early December, according to Bennett.
The Pittsburgh chapter of AIGA is also planning a card-making workshop for local families and a “pop-up shop” in Squirrel Hill to display and distribute the cards for free.
WLU students are encouraged to volunteer and attend the workshop, Davis said.
The Visual Communications program is just one of the majors offered in the College of Arts and Communication and for more information, please visit WLU’s Visual Art webpage at westliberty.edu/art.