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Inspire Creative Camp Thrives in its Second Year

Students build a portfolio of creative work at the Inspire Creative Camp in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University.
Students build a portfolio of creative work at the Inspire Creative Camp in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University.

By Nicole Gennarelli

The School of Visual Communication Design is preparing students for a future in graphic design with Inspire, A Summer Creative Camp. In its second summer, the camp’s curriculum covers print design, three-dimensional design, motion and animation, photography and illustration.

The camp is for high school students and incoming freshmen who are 14-19 years of age, have an interest in design and are interested in developing their own portfolio for college admissions. Students can choose to attend the overnight camp, where they stay in residence halls for the week, or the day camp which goes from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

VCD Assistant Professors Jillian Coorey and Gretchen Rinnert direct the camp, and VCD graduate students and undergraduate students serve as instructors and mentors of Inspire. The week long camp ends on Friday, June 21 with a gallery reception from 4:30-6 p.m. where students can show their work to family and friends.

According to Inspire's website, the camp “is designed to foster creativity, encouraging students to "spread their wings" in a learning-centered, collaborative and fun environment.”

“I think one of the great things about Inspire is that it is a camp-like environment,” Coorey said. “The students are working with other creative kids their age and doing various activities throughout the day without the rigidness of grading; they’re free to explore anything they’re interested in. We do a variety of activities throughout the week including photography, illustration, 3D design and interaction design. It allows the students to be exposed to all areas of design.”

Getting the chance to work with Kent State University faculty ensures that the students have the best experience possible during their time at camp.

“I love the fact that we alternate projects and it’s not completely focused on one type of design,” said Gracie Harms, a second year returning camper from Bay High School. “My favorite project last year was the 3D letters where we created 3D letters out of recycled materials. I thought it was really interesting and I had a lot of fun.”

“The project ideas are creative, so that yields creative results for me,” said Peter Kratcoski, a second year returning camper from Archbishop Hoban High School. “I think this camp has given me a bigger picture view of what design is. I’ve also gotten a better taste and feel for campus life.”

Students also experience the transition to college by working with undergraduate and graduate students during camp sessions.

“I think that a lot of high school students in our country do not get exposed to graphic design before college,” said Larrie King, Inspire camp instructor and VCD graduate student. “This camp allows them to get a taste of what the industry is like and what they can expect in a graphic design program. It’s a huge industry and it’s important that we expose them to this field as early as possible.”

At the end of the camp, students will walk away with a well-rounded, creative portfolio to submit with college applications or show during job interviews.

“All these projects will help students as they enter a design program,” said Coorey. “Additionally, because VCD is now requiring an entrance portfolio to join our program, attendees can use the projects created at Inspire to apply. Our main goal is to ease students’ college transition and allow them to get a jump start on design terms and design education.”

View more photos on the Inspire Camp website and Facebook.

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