KWC expanding graphic design, animation programs | News

The graphic design and animation programs at Kentucky Wesleyan College are expanding to offer more classes and are sprucing up some of the courses previously offered.

Heather Logsdon, the Humanities Division chair at KWC, said she is excited that the department is growing to offer courses to animation majors.

“We have had animation courses within the graphic design program, but now there will be several classes dedicated to animation,” she said.

With plans to further expand the department, Logsdon said a lot of “great things” will be happening.

“Graphic design is where the money is at right now, but animation is increasing in demand because most studios have gone away from traditional hand-drawn graphics to more digital designs,” she said.

KWC houses a Mac Lab with over 20 new 27-inch iMacs loaded with the Adobe Creative Suite, Blendr and Mya programs, as well as several 3D printers.

Shea Stanley, assistant professor of graphic design and KWC’s newest addition to the department, said the visual arts pull from outside of the department was one draw for him.

“What I found surprising when I began teaching as an adjunct at KWC was the number of nonart majors taking art classes,” he said. “That willingness from students to step out from their comfort zones and take up the challenge to try something different, in this case visual arts, can have a huge impact.”

Stanley has been a graphic designer and illustrator for over 25 years and said his greatest influence in the career path has been animation.

“As a kid, I was enthralled by classic Disney animation and the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes,” he said. “I was captivated by the process, and that’s what drew me into my love for drawing, and later my obsession with art and the creative process.”

Logsdon, who became chair in 2019 after working as an adjunct professor beginning in 2010, said growing this program has been something she has been working on for years.

“When I began as an adjunct in 2010, graphic design was only offered for about a semester,” she said. “It was mostly traditional instructors that applied for the jobs. I was a graphic designer, and I always had my sights on putting the classes online.”

Stanley said he thinks KWC, and Logsdon specifically, have done a great job of creating and maintaining enthusiasm for the visual arts program.

“In my experience at other schools, there is definitely a desire for more of these types of classes,” he said. “Animation continues to grow as a medium for telling stories of all types. It is not just a ‘kid’s’ medium. There are plenty of artists out there using the medium to tell complex, compelling and deeply personal stories.”

Logsdon said while her primary goal is expanding the animation program, she has some smaller goals along the way. One of those is offering a 3D modeling and printing course beginning this fall.

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“This program is great for 2D artists who want to expand into 3D,” she said. “I want to marry the two together, and I think students will be excited about this course.”

Stanley said adding a new 3D printing and modeling class will only further the readiness of students within the program.

“As an art form, animation has moved beyond the cynical view that it’s just a thing created to ‘sell toys to kids,'” Stanley said. “Now we can offer our students the tools to tell their own stories at a professional level, as we are using industry standard software in our classes. By adding a 3D modeling and printing course, we’re introducing quickly-evolving technology that is creating an entirely new career path for artists.”

Logsdon said she hopes the new animation courses will be approved because she thinks animation is something that speaks to everyone.

“Animation visually impacts an international audience,” she said. “Anyone, young or old, can enjoy it, from Pixar and Disney to commercials and website designs. It’s inclusive.”

The courses would allow students to use creative thinking while also learning technical skills used within the industry.

“They will be working on hands-on projects right away, within the first week,” Logsdon said. “We would take what’s normally in a book and do all of that in one week and have fun while doing it.”

Stanley said the department wants to continue to let potential and current students know about the quality of the department and educational experience KWC provides.

“As we grow and expand the art program, we plan to offer educational opportunities that few schools in the state and surrounding area offer,” he said. “Our graphic design program has received numerous accolades. We also need to continually rethink the idea of ​​’visual arts’ education at the collegiate level and continue integration of new, constantly-evolving technology into our program offerings.”

KWC’s graphic design program recently received recognition from the Animation Career Review.

“Our program is rigorous, and our graduates have a high employment rate,” Logsdon said. “Graduates have achieved proficiency in industry operation skills, business operation skills and effective client communication.”

Stanley said the department wants to continue to let potential and current students know about the quality of the department and educational experience KWC provides.

“As we grow and expand the art program, we plan to offer educational opportunities that few schools in the state and surrounding area offer,” he said.

Stanley said he is looking forward to the opportunity to provide students with a more updated outlook on what a career in art can be.

“There has long been the stereotype that the only career a degree in the arts leads to is that of a ‘starving artist,’” Stanley said. “That’s simply not the case anymore. Just looking at the world around us, every day we are surrounded by art and design. Be it animation, video game design, filmmaking, fashion, web design and even the packaging design of foods in the grocery aisle.”

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