After a great deal of planning, DESIGNCONNECT held its inaugural FUN& FUND Raiser on April 25, 2019 at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art. With the goal of supporting visual arts students at Detroit School of Arts (DSA) in mind, advocates came out to enjoy a night of fun which included a silent auction, dedicated giving, as well as the premier of a short film by Julian Carmona about the state of arts program at DSA, and the support DESIGNCONNECT will provide to the visual arts students at DSA.

Explore Creative Career Series

On Tuesday April 23rd, designers from Czarnowski and Patrick Thompson Interior Design spoke to the 80 students in the DSA visual arts program. Ivory Alexander from Patrick Thompson Design shared details of her role as an interior designer and the exciting projects they’ve worked on around Detroit. Kevin Calabrese from Czarnowski introduced branded experience design and showed the students many projects they’ve worked on around the world.

Fiat Chrysler Design Center Field Trip

On Tuesday, March 26th, the first Design Up Close event was held. Sophomore and Junior Visual Arts students visited the Fiat Chrysler Design Center in Auburn Hills. The students were able to see an Exterior Design Studio and were exposed to the different aspects of the design process including creative clay sculpting, 2D and 3D sketching, color and materials design, and 3D modeling.

Pilot Program Launch

After months of planning, our pilot program at Detroit School of Arts (DSA), a Detroit public high school, has officially launched! The first in-school workshop, part of the Explore Creative Career series, was held on Tuesday, February 26th. Three designers from General Motors, Justin Salmon, Tara Ellis Magee, and Jenna Grabowski, spoke to the 80 students in the DSA visual arts program.  

The designers not only explained their different creative roles in the automotive design process, they also shared their personal stories and the very different paths they took to get where they are today. They answered a ton of questions from the students and gave solid advice on pursuing a creative career. The students left inspired and looking forward to the upcoming field trip to the FCA Design Center in March.

Soft Launch Event

The DesignConnect soft launch event was held on September 29, 2018 at the Welburn Group Ladder 12 Studio in Corktown, Detroit. The event was hosted by Ed Welburn, former Vice President of GM Global Design, and attended by our stakeholders and supporters. The event was a great success! Everyone is very excited about the mission of DesignConnect and ready to take action.