Is design art?

Is Design Art?

Is Art Design?

I love hearing those two words together when having this dialogue about the distinction of art and design especially as I work alongside amazing artists, designers and leaders on Festival of the Arts.

The 50th Anniversary of this legacy event happens June 7- 8 & 9, 2019.

Gayle Debruyn, Associate Professor and Chief Sustainability Officer for Kendall College of Art and Design would challenge all of us to see that design/art are always together.  I teach alongside Gayle in the Collaborative Design program with such talented students creating design solution with an art lens.  It’s the design within art and the art in design that provides the insight and solution.

Gazing upon La Grande Vitesse by Alexander Calder in Downtown Grand Rapids or viewing Gilded Champagne Gardens Chandelier by Dale Chihuly at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, one has to marvel that the intersection of design and art.  The fluidity, brilliance and balance of both sculptures represent masterful vision. =

For the 50th anniversary of Festival of the Arts, we needed to renew the vision for the Festival brand. A refreshing, modern reflection of the energy of the event became the focus.  Building the new website, upgraded print material for recruiting, and clear communication of Festival’s event started the list of priorities. The mission remains the brand should match the quote from Alexander Calder, “Above all art should be fun!”

We discovered the great team at Well Design Studio and started working together in June on the vision and direction.  Josh Leffingwell, Tyler Doornbos, and Amar Džomba partners/owners of Well Design Studio became excited at the prospect of working with Festival of the Arts.  The work together continues to yield the best of art and design.

Well Design has been working with organizations and businesses around Grand Rapids for the past 4 years, working with organizations like Kids Food Basket, Civic Theatre, City Built Brewing, and dozens of other clients.

Well Design Studio has a long history of working with non-profits and foundations, as well as local businesses across the country. Their emphasis focuses on visual communication, including branding, print design, web design, and advertising.  All of their values drive added success for small businesses and community organizations.

They understand that graphic design is bigger than just logos and websites, and they work with non-profits and companies on expanding their services or creating new ventures with a specialty in facilitation design, marketing strategy, and non-profit program design.  They derive their inspiration from the community and the art this region so values.

The design for Festival of the Arts set the stage for the energy ahead.  The 50th Anniversary Festival of the Arts design draws on the work of Alexander Calder, the designer of the Festival logo and ‘La Grande Vitesse’, to bring renewed energy and life into the 50th Anniversary. Calder’s work is full of energy, from the bright primary colors to the movement of his mobiles in the air; it reminds all of us of what Festival means to our community. Festival of the Arts brings people of all different backgrounds, food histories, musical tastes and arts styles together. It continues to bring creativity, entertainment and expression to Grand Rapids, even after 50 years. Their design work for this year looks to the similarities of Calder’s work. His use of organic shapes and primary colors convey feelings of familiarity, vibrancy and life. This is who we are as a region and community; diverse, willing to share and learn. This celebration is a reflection of our community and that is what drew Well Design Studio to Festival of the Arts.

So the answer remains Art is Design and Design is Art!

This week Festival of the Arts launches the application process for the performing artists on our 11 stages planned for the 50th Anniversary event, June 7-9, 2019.  Our community eagerly anticipates the great entertainment talent we have in our eight-county region.

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