Civic Design is a student-based communications group established to provide professional communication solutions to area nonprofit organizations. It benefits students with real-life job experience by working on print, web, social media and digital projects, which may include problem solving for brand building, fund raising, event promotion, and strategic planning. Students will learn to develop the design, communication, and inter-personal skills necessary to be successful in the business world.
Also offered as a course, Civic Design fosters group critique, creative thinking and problem solving, research, preparing creative briefs, and client presentation skills. It operates as a realistic professional design studio. The course is open to designers, painters, photographers, illustrators, and creative writers.
Clients include The New Britain Museum of Art, The Children’s Museum of West Hartford, The New Britain Youth Theater, The Ron Foley Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, The Canton Public Library, and The Hartt School.
Students in Assistant Professor Cat Balco’s Arts in Healthcare course use art therapy to engage residents at Wintonbury Care Center in Bloomfield, Conn. Students apply skills gained from professional artists and art therapists to help them connect with Wintonbury residents, bringing out their artistic sides.
Ceramics major alumni Lucia Esposito says, I have been making art ever since I was little, but most of that art was for myself. I wanted to start sharing my art with other people, so I signed up for the Hartford Art School's Arts in Healthcare class with Assistant Professor Cat Balco.
Over the course of this semester, my classmates and I have visited the Wintonbury Care Center in Bloomfield once a week to work on art projects with its residents. We like to engage them in activities that get their minds going and put smiles on their faces. I can tell we are lifting the residents' spirits and bringing them out of their shells.
Some students are helping their new friends paint, draw and sculpt. I am making sock puppets. During each session, I show Mario, who I am paired with, a book of animals. He decides what kind of puppet he wants to create. I help him cut different shapes for mouths and tongues, and then we glue them on. We put on a puppet show, with our animals telling jokes. I even made a video of the show so Mario can remember me after the semester ends.
After I graduate, I hope to go to school for art therapy and eventually open my own practice, so I can use art to affect the lives of others.
When available, vacant retail spaces in nearby locations (i.e. Blue Back Square, West Hartford) are used by HAS to coordinate pop-up shops featuring the work of faculty, staff, alumni, and students for fundraisers.