It is customary for the University of Arkansas School of Art’s senior graphic design class to display a show of their work at the end of the spring semester each year. In this season of precaution, however, the senior class of 2020 opted to move to the digital space and make their show completely virtual.
In partnership with Crystal Bridges, the virtual graphic design exhibition called Frankly will be featured in Gallery 5, an interactive, real-time 3D rendering of the museum’s Modern Art Gallery created by The Tesseract Center for Immersive Environments and Game Design, a campus center that produces video games and virtual reality content for teaching and research.
Using a computer, visitors can virtually walk through the space and view the bios of each student artist and their work through a wide variety of forms including apps, community projects, printed artifacts, and games. The gallery opens today, May 7, at 5 p.m. and will remain open for the foreseeable future. At that time, the tour can be accessed on the exhibition’s website.
According to the 24 graduating seniors who contributed to this show, Frankly is an exhibition that allowed each student to speak their truth and “speculate recklessly with a greater good in mind.” Each student dedicated their final semester to researching and designing a speculative solution for a systemic problem of their choice.
“As we began to develop the overarching identity behind our show, we saw in each other the courage to confront wicked problems and the acumen to address them using design,” the students note on the exhibition’s website.
With topics ranging from developing self-confidence and managing mental health, to interventions in sex education and local politics, these projects showcase the versatility of the graduating design class, all of whom are pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Arkansas.
For example, William Clift, a student designer from Joplin, MO, expressed his truth that “frankly, everybody deserves to exercise their voice in their community.” After interviewing residents in his hometown who were eager to participate in community organizing but not sure how to fit it into their schedules, Clift developed the idea of a system called Community Blueprint, a virtual meeting platform with a sleekly designed interface.
In another example, Hannah Rainer, a student designer from Texarkana, TX, expressed her truth that “frankly, kids have anxiety, too.” After some extensive research and concept development, Rainer’s degree project focuses on providing more mental health support for kids through a mindfulness subscription box. InsideOut, for kids ages 6-11, is a concept box equipped with activity cards, books, toys, and more that help kids manage their stress and anxiety through practicing mindfulness.
Discover each student, their project, and their design concepts in the virtual show, Frankly.
“Regardless of where our paths lead us in the future,” the students have stated, “our time together at the University of Arkansas has shaped us into dynamic, forward-thinking designers eager to tackle any design problem thrown our way.”
Tour the virtual show and learn more about the students here. [P.S. – the virtual show works best using a Firefox browser.]
Read the UA Newswire release here.
Digital Innovation and Virtual Experiences supported at Crystal Bridges in part by J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. and PRISMA.