Countless Opportunities to Delve Into Real-world Work

I like to say that I’ve been drawing ever since my teachers started telling me to write. I’ve always loved art, but I’d never been able to put it to any practical use– I’d never been able to see it as anything other than a hobby for me.That’s what I would have said before I came to Mount Vernon. I was lucky enough to be a part of Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma program, which has provided me with countless opportunities to delve into real-world work with businesses and organizations, allowing me and my fellow members to discover how we can use our talents and strengths for a better cause.

Currently, my iDiploma team and I were given the amazing opportunity to be working with Atlanta’s #1 rated museum, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, where we are creating a Virtual Reality based exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. The exhibit uses one of King’s speeches, The Drum Major Instinct, examining the strides that present-day America has taken, and how we have taken part in living out Dr. King’s legacy.

It is through this work, where I was able to truly discover how to connect my mere knack for art into a skill that I can use in work– for iDiploma, and beyond.

James Hayes, Director of Exhibits & Design at the @Ctr4CHR, experiencing a sneak peek of our #VR exhibit launching in May, “visiting” historic Ebenezer church. #mvpschool @MVPSchool @MViDiploma #getcentered

New Territory of Logo Creation

Graphic design was a field that I had never dipped my toes into, until this project pushed me into the deep end. I was tasked with creating a logo for this exhibit– a logo which would be presented on walls, websites, and everything in between. At first I was intimidated; I knew how to draw, but creating a logo that would represent the country’s flagship Virtual Reality-based museum exhibit, an entirely student created museum exhibit, at that– this was beyond the realm of what I ever thought I’d be able to do.

Powerful morning capturing stories and personal reactions with @MViDiploma in Memphis for the #MLK50 commemoration. Author Caroline “Q” Qatsha featured left.Before I knew it, I was thrown into the tricky seas of fonts, icons and sizing. I had to figure out the impact that curves would make, versus the feeling a sharp box of text would communicate; I had to explore these uncharted waters, the new territory of logo curation. Dozens of YouTube tutorials, prototypes, and bouts of feedback later, I slowly came to feel awakened and excited by the immense power that graphic design can have on one’s mind– the way fonts, shapes and sizes can impact one’s impression of something. This project that I had, just one month earlier, seen as a blockade on the road to this exhibit’s success, had turned into a door of opportunities that I wished to explore.

Now, I have been activated in an interest to further study graphic design. I’m working to advance my skills and knowledge of this, and am seeking prospective opportunities in graphic design work. This is now a field that I have truly become passionate about, and an area that I plan to use in my future, throughout Innovation Diploma and the years beyond.

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