While preparing for the academic year 2020-21, the SUNY design faculty responded to the need to engage students proactively in promoting individual health and safety for the benefit of the campus community.
A class assignment was built for students to create compelling designs to guide our campus communities in compliance with mandated COVID-19 safety precautions. The results are heartfelt and relatable student-to-student messages that inspire positive action. The designs have been applied on stickers, buttons, T-shirts, masks, hats, emojis, posters, and Instagram. The diverse yet creative solutions to the assignment illustrate that the visual arts play a crucial role in the fabric of our social structure during this unprecedented health crisis.
Participating SUNY design faculty include Mitchell Christianson, Assistant Professor, SUNY Brockport; Szilvia Kadas, Assistant Professor, SUNY Cortland; Judy Livingston, Associate Professor, Alfred University; and Benjamin Santiago, Adjunct Professor, SUNY Purchase.
Graphic design projects featured in the exhibition represent the following students from Alfred University: Ben Yelich, Chloe Chen, Emily Sierzant, Harrison Atwater, Liz Radigan, Molly Fox, Sean Laukaitis, Trey Milward, Paige Castleman, Bobby Hall, Ting Germain, Paige Wetherwax, Carrie Dugan, Joe Brady; from SUNY Brockport: Jessica Barraco, Zachary Bendick, Takara Brundidge, Matthew Colucci, Alexander Hilderbrandt, Indira Marte, Alecia Proctor, Daniel Stone, Leilani Ward, Jonathan Simms, Rachel Wehner; from SUNY Cortland: Leah Bernhardt, Shannon Delaney, Gabriella Grieser, Holly Taylor, Katherine Kresser, Cassidy Light, Sarah-Renee McNeal, and from SUNY Purchase: Catherine Fabrizio, Jason Doherty, Jasmine Everett, Nikita Gotov, Jordan Huynh, Regina McClain, Basil Molina, Stella Picuri, Bonnie Powers, Omar Seda, Gabriella Shery, Daniel Tavares Zlock.
The designs for the COVID-19 Campus Safety Campaign were juried by the four instructors. The best designs were selected to be featured in the slideshow.
Mitchell Christensen is an Assistant Professor of Art at SUNY Brockport's Department of Art. He was appointed in 2016 to teach and coordinate the department's graphic design concentration.
From 2009–2016, Christensen worked as a lead designer as part of the in-house creative team for the University of Rochester Medical Center. His work supported branding and identity initiatives, grant requests, fundraising campaigns, and corporate communications for the public, staff, and donors. From 1993–1999, Christensen was a staff designer for the ViaHealth health system and Rochester General Hospital.
From 2011–2015, as staff to the co-director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Christensen art directed and designed the council's annual Progress Report & Recommended Priority Projects Plan funding request to the Office of the Governor of New York State. In both 2012 and 2014, the reports were designated by the state as "Best Plan Awardee," helping to secure millions of dollars in funding for the region. In 2015 he designed the council's winning Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan "Finger Lakes Forward," a special one-time competition for an additional $500 million in funding for local economic development projects.
Christensen's professional work has won numerous awards, including the Public Relations Society of America PRISM awards and Educational Advertising Awards. Recently, his scholarly professional work has won international and national recognition at the IDA Awards in Los Angeles, the Indigo Awards in the Netherlands, and the Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA).
Christensen received his MFA in Graphic Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New York in 2004. He served there as an adjunct professor in 2005, 2014, and 2015.
Szilvia Kadas' research deals with the Anthropocene and reexamines conventional values of art and design. Kadas believes design has social, cultural, and environmental responsibilities beyond its commercial value; therefore, her work explores the concept of sustainability and the ethical ramifications of design. In her recent work, she strives to build a new visual narrative of ecological preservation. She believes that a form, color, and text serve as catalysts to expose the fragility of our ecosystem. Kadas explains, "I started exploring sustainable practices and materials in graphic design during my MFA training in 2008, where the focus of my work was to mitigate the negative impact of my designs on society and the environment. In my professional practice, I strive to cultivate sustainable processes and turn my attention to social issues and community outreach design. I employ a wide range of digital and traditional media and techniques, such as video, digital prints, and hand-made printmaking techniques, while exploring sustainable materials, such as recycled papers and organic colors. My body of work includes illustrations, advertisements, infographics, posters, logos, and identity designs."
Kadas is an assistant professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media at SUNY Cortland. Kadas received MFA in graphic design and printmaking from the University of Arkansas. Additionally, Kadas earned a Ph.D. in human and community development with a concentration on sustainability and design ethics from West Virginia University and an MA in Art History.
Judy Livingston is an Associate Professor of Design at the Alfred University School of Art and Design in Alfred, New York. Livingston is dedicated to design as a catalyst for ideation, exploration, critical thinking, visual literacy, innovation, and craft. She believes that design is the synthesis of intuitive and rational processes, balancing creativity with intellect, and experimentation with intent. Her research focuses on creative collaborations for positive societal change.
Livingston's current work includes a project to increase the landscape of Jewish inclusion education and open the door wider to full participation in Jewish ritual life and the Jewish community. The project, entitled "Start with YES: Creating Inclusive B'nai Mitzvah Ceremonies," is a multi-faceted campaign to help make it possible for every Jewish child, no matter their level of physical, intellectual, or social ability, to prepare for and enjoy a meaningful bar or bat mitzvah. A "bar mitzvah" (for boys) or "bat mitzvah" (for girls) is a significant religious ceremony recognizing the transition of a Jewish child into adulthood. "B'nai mitzvah" is plural.
Livingston received her Master of Fine Arts degree summa cum laude from the University of Michigan. Her education includes graduate study abroad at Kyoto Seiko University (Kyoto, Japan), workshops at the Basel School of Design (Basel, Switzerland) and the VignelliCenter for Design Studies (Rochester, New York), and continuing non-degree studies at the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, Michigan). Judy is actively involved with AIGA, the professional association of design, Rochester Advertising Federation, University and College Designers Association, and Causewave Community Partners.
Livingston's award-winning work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Gallery IANG in Seoul, South Korea, the Rotonda della Besana in Milan, Italy, the Arts, and Innovation Center, Rowan College South Jersey in Millville, New Jersey, and the Rochester Contemporary Art Center in Rochester, New York.
Benjamin Santiago is currently an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Purchase while maintaining a practice as an artist and designer based in New York, NY. His work has been shown with artists such as Jaime Warren, DJ Rupture, and The Fall of Troy. He has spoken about his work at Wayne State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Benjamin Santiago's work has been featured on Conan on TBS, The Village Voice, Animated Review, and been named a "Must See" artist in Art F City.
Santiago received his BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and has an MFA from The Cranbrook Academy of Art, in the 2D Design department under Elliott Earls.