My year as a MACC VISTA is definitely a year I will never forget. I have been able to not only be part of this amazing Corps, but also have been able to make a significant change in my program, Artward Bound, and the students I serve. Artward Bound has helped me to do both of my passions of education and creating artwork within the program. Each event and project I have worked on has given me valuable and long lasting experience that I know will help me in my future career.
One of the beginning projects I was able to take lead on was the academic tutoring and data collection with help and support by our grad-assist, Chris Wiley. We were able to assess what systems were needed to keep proper track of the students academic needs and also the time management of the tutors. I designed an academic tutoring sheet that had student info, date that they meet together, what the academic subject focus was, next plan of action for the student, and tutor comments. Chris was able to to turn it into a fillable PDF and share it through Google drive. Our English tutor was able to utilize this academic sheet and make some progress with many of the students. With this success, the sheet will be utilized more in the upcoming academic year and hopefully have even more success for the students. The creation of the sheet helped me head an even bigger project in the program, leading their new brand identity.
To create the Artward Bound brand, I had to lead the creation of the logo, marketing material, and any digital content for the website. After doing extensive research on the Artward Bound mission and MassArt visual standards, I was able to create a brand look that was similar to MassArt’s look while still being unique to the Artward Bound name. I first started with student and staff posters, then I created a graphic for our mission statement. The project that really solidified the brand work I was doing was the creation of the marketing and recruitment material. I created informational post cards, fliers, and a newly revised and updated application. The newly designed application paved the way for our new online application that makes the whole application process faster and more efficient. This recruitment material is now in a template form with our brand identity and consistent content, and the pictures can easily be updated to create a shelf-live for these materials.
The next project I worked on was creating and directing the new recruitment video. I wanted Artward Bound to have a recruitment video that made visiting to high schools easier. To do this we had clips of actual students in the program talk about their experience and also be able to show artwork that has been created throughout the year. We also provided in class video clips of the students to show what the classes looked like on the MassArt campus. This gave high school students a real look at the program and what they should expect when joining. This video is now online on our site and will be the template for our next updated video. I was also given the chance to create an updated banner and gif for or website and online application in order to fit it to the new brand identity we have created. All this work lead up to one of the biggest and best projects I have worked on in the program.
When the senior class graduation show was coming up, I wanted to create a yearbook as a congratulations gift. The project turned into more of a booklet about Artward Bound and the students to give to family, friends, and funders for the program. It was a lot of work to create a booklet that had 5 years of info about the program in 2 months, but it was finished on time. The booklet was received greatly by the students and the MassArt community. It is also now being used as our information booklet to give to anyone who wants to know about the program. This project started out as a simple yearbook and has now become an informational booklet that archives our 2015-2016 year.
These projects definitely helped me grow during my VISTA year. I went from learning and performing administrative duties to creating and maintaining content for the program. I was able to learn how to lead a design team and delegating jobs to people’s strength. One of the greatest things I probably came out of this service year is learning perseverance. I was able to handle and manage multiple jobs that sometimes left me very exhausted. I had to do a lot of task with little reward, but in the end I knew it was all worth it. I have learned of course how to save money and be very frugal with my earnings, but I have felt reward in my student’s achievements. Seeing the seniors graduate from our program and get into college really made all of this creating and late nights worth it. This is the kind of feeling a VISTA year should leave someone with. Being able to feel accomplished from your student’s gains and achievements really shows me how much my VISTA year has changed me. I am grateful for this chance and experience. Thank you to MACC VISTA and Artward Bound for this life changing moment in my life.