Summer Studio: Discovering Graphic Design

Launched in July of 2021, Summer Studio is a free four-week program for 10 talented Bridgeport rising high school juniors and seniors interested in the visual arts. Built to encourage emerging artists to exercise their creativity, Summer Studio teaches the basic principles, skills and tools of great design while showcasing the possibilities of a career in the design industry.

What is Summer Studio?

Led by educators and industry professionals, Summer Studio explores design challenges like typography, composition and animation, while giving students hands-on Adobe Creative Suite experience. Participants complete projects that let them flex their vision while implementing the real-world skills they’re gaining in the program all while building a design portfolio.

Summer Studio is built to break barriers for better design. It aims to help remedy underrepresentation and diversify the creative industry of tomorrow. We recognize accessibility to tools and education in design is limited for most inner-city talent, and we’d like to change that. All supplies are provided free of charge, including a Microsoft Surface laptop, a year subscription to Adobe Creative Suite, meals and transportation. The estimated value of this program is $2,500 per student. Summer Studio prepares participants for college, especially if they choose to pursue a design major. Additionally, we’d like to show that graphic design is a pathway to a creative career in many industries. Students meet mentors in industries like media, entertainment and advertising—opening career pathways where art is an option.

Summer Studio was created by Haddad & Partners in partnership with AIGA CT and Sacred Heart University, and will be coming to more cities in 2022. If you’d like to help us make this happen, or you want to be kept in the loop, drop us a line.

Our Partners

The mission of AIGA CT is to champion, inspire and activate the Connecticut creative community.

AIGA advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts, and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all.

Sacred Heart University, rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, embraces a vision for social justice and educates students in mind, body and spirit to prepare them personally and professionally to make a difference in the global community.

As high school kids, when our parents and mentors tell us ‘You will never make money as an artist,’ the silver lining here is that at least someone cares, and that’s really the most important part. The problem is that they lack the vocabulary and the experience to articulate the full spectrum of high-paying careers that the term ‘artist’ entails. DJ Haddad, Founder & Creative Director, Haddad & Partners

I remember when I was little, I always wanted to do art. But they never had descriptor words or jobs that I could have potentially seen for myself. But I feel like Summer Studio definitely opened me up to more than just ‘oh you can just major in art and you’ll be fine.’ Megan Harris, Participant, Summer Studio 2021

In the field of graphic design, underrepresentation–specifically in terms of racial diversity–is still a very real problem. We designed Summer Studio to help break down some of the contributing accessibility barriers, with the purpose of helping build a more inclusive next generation of industry creatives. Nicolet Gatewood, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Haddad & Partners

The students learned that they can actually have a career in this and make money doing art. That’s a really wonderful realization and that was really inspiring for them. Mary Treschitta, M.A., M.A.T., M.F.A.
Associate Professor, Chair of Art & Design Department, Sacred Heart University

We captured a pool of talent that has a personality, that has a point of view and something to say, and that’s something that’s difficult to find. Julio Ramirez, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, AIGA CT

Graphic design allows me to continue doing the art that I want to do. It gives me opportunity, and this program as a whole opened my eyes even more. Kothan Nieves, Participant, Summer Studio 2021

Get involved!

Interested in joining us next summer? Drop us a line!

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