Hip Hop Haven
This senior studio worked with Hip Hop Haven, an outreach program for inner-city youth, to produce an exhibition which brought hundreds of visitors to a place that deserved recognition. NCSU students also donated their time to mentor the Haven students. Their coursework turned into contribution to a cause greater than just the portfolio.
Stairwell graphics designed by Toni Chester; Record quote wall, designed by Joseph Mann;
(photo: Nick Schlax)
Introductory shield carved from plywood and adorned with spray paint cans, microphones and headphones, designed by Jamie Wolfe
The Downtown Design Studio, as an extension of NCSU’s College of Design, supports projects related with design studies and urbanism. The studio space is in the city center and the projects are centered on the city. Raleigh is its subject matter. There is outreach into the community by serving “clients” and working on real problems. This upper-level class acted somewhat as a professional studio. Material studies, form-making, and new methods of working were stressed. Emphasis was placed on invention.
This assignment was part of a 6 credit studio that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 hours. Students at the Downtown Design Studio have dedicated desks with 24-hour access to their space. This 6-week assignment focuses on exhibit design. It is the student’s task to research and develop content. There is balance between group and individual work. The class found Hip Hop Haven by recognizing their need for design help and public exposure. Their story is addressed in an article on AIGA’s Voice ★.
Defining the many styles of graffiti, installation, designed by Amber Majors. (photo: Nick Schlax)
Portrait of Anthony Smith.
(photo: Jermal Hooker)
Portrait of Briana Robinson.
(photo: Anthony Smith)
Portrait of Shahndle Smith.
(photo: Dennis Gullick)
Of their own accord, the NCSU students—spearheaded by Nick Schlax, Helen Shaffer and Dan Marino—taught the Hip Hop Haven students about photography.
After presenting the basic functions of the camera, my students set up a photo shoot. The hip hop kids brought in objects that expressed themselves. Lights, camera, action, we have amateurs shooting like professionals.
These photographs were printed larger-than-life and then mounted from the rafters, in the center of the room. All of the portraits were taken by the Haven kids themselves, who had little or no prior experience with photography. This is an important sentiment: setting up real situations to work in, you get real results.
David Maki in front of the Hip Hop timeline, designed by Meghan Witzke and Liz Walters. Haven brochure designed by Jamie Wolfe.
(photo: Nick Schlax)
Signage and prototypes, designed by: Joseph Mann, Toni Chester, Helen Shaffer and Jamie Wolfe
- Research — explore the city, understand public issues, meet potential clients, look at spaces
- Create and present a profession client pitch
- Work with a selected exhibition space and design for its peculiarities
- Understand client’s needs
- Create elevations and propose exhibition ideas
- Spend time in the materials lab working on quick assignments to learn new tools
- Develop individual or group exhibit design
- Design materials to help the Haven
- Dry-run in space
- Modify based on feedback
- Update elevations
- Get client approval
- In groups, identify all production needs and go into production mode
- In groups, install
Crip Walk poster designed by Alison Citron.
Impromptu Hip Hop dancing on opening night by Demarcus McNeill and Jyshawn Barber (with Jada McNeill)
Project designed and implemented
by instructor Kathleen Meaney
at NC State University
in the Downtown Design Studio