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Business of Art & Design students take a bite out of the Big Apple

South Boston News / April 09, 2010
March 3-7 found a group of Digital Art &Design and Product Design &Development high school dual enrollment and community college students taking a bite out of the Big Apple. The purpose of the trip was to study design, art, and creative careers. During their stay in New York City, students met with leaders in the design industry and toured several prestigious design focused institutions. In addition, students were placed into small teams to document the trip using audio, video, and photo techniques. “Everything we did was with an eye towards design,” said Business of Art & Design Coordinator Ben Capozzi.

Business of Art &Design students began their first full day in the city with a tour of the 5th Avenue Apple Store. They participated in a workshop on Apple iMovie where they were able to make a short movie of themselves and burn it to DVDs to take home. From there, the group toured the world renowned Parsons The New School for Design. Students from across the nation attend Parsons’ prestigious programs in fashion, photography, and design. It is also the filming location for Lifetime’s popular show Project Runway. Halifax County High School senior Cody Thomas was impressed with the school, “It’s not your average school. The student environment is free and fun, but you still get work done,” he said.

The day concluded with visits to Core77 and Kidrobot. Core77 is an online magazine about all things design. “Core77 is one of the world’s largest websites for design and design related careers. Their site receives about 3 million hits a day,” Capozzi said. Students had the rare opportunity of spending an hour with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, the Graphic Designer, and the head writer. They shared tips on how to succeed in the design world, and expressed how important it was for students to get their ideas out there, even if they didn’t think they were that good. “It was a fantastic experience. The students were wonderful, and they asked great questions,” Capozzi said.

Kidrobot is the world's premier creator of limited edition art toys and apparel in collaboration with many of the world's most talented artists and designers. For Product Design & Development student Ben Scarbrough, this was an invaluable experience. “We saw hand carved, limited edition toys selling for top dollar. They weren’t complex designs—they were clean, elegant, and engaging for kids, teens, and adults,” Scarbrough said. “Kidrobot was great because both Product Design & Development and Digital Art & Design aptitudes are strongly expressed in their product line.” Scarbrough was so inspired he is now developing his own prototype of a customizable wooden toy sheep.

South Boston News

The next two days in New York City were filled with tours and unique design experiences. Students visited the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum where they viewed the Contemporary Innovation in the United States show and participated in a workshop on Graphic Identity where students created hand designed business cards. “It was an amazing show that covered everything from fashion to architecture and home décor, and examined how design plays a roll in everything,” said Capozzi.

For the students, the one-of-a-kind experience has left a lasting impression. HCHS senior Jamaca Davis said, “It was exciting seeing something totally different from South Boston,” and classmate Charlie Holt agreed that it was “an exciting and fun experience.” Amber Gauldin found the trip shaping her career goals, “I’ve decided I want to go into the design field since seeing all of the opportunities available,” she said. For Ben Scarbrough seeing the opportunities that exist for creative professionals made the trip worthwhile, “To see that jobs are out there, and the opportunities that exist was hugely hopeful for me,” he said.

Exposing students to the career possibilities art and design offers was one of Business of Art & Design Coordinator Ben Capozzi’s goals for the trip. “I keep coming back to what graphic artist Alan Hurt told my creative thinking class about there being 1500 names in the movie credits of Avatar. Those are all creative professionals making a living using art and design,” he said.

The trip was made possible by generous funding from the Halifax Educational Foundation. Capozzi extended his thanks to them, and others, who made the trip possible, “We appreciate the support of the Halifax Educational Foundation, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Halifax County Public Schools and the culture that encourages this kind of activity.” He hopes a trip to New York City will become a regular feature of the Business of Art & Design program.

The Business of Art & Design is an initiative of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, and includes academic tracks in Digital Art & Design and Product Design & Development offered in partnership with Danville Community College. For more information about the program visit or call 434-572-5440 and toll free 1-800-283-0098.

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