Arkansas teachers learn new skills at UA Little Rock graphic design workshop

Art educators from around the state participate in a free professional development summer workshop for graphic design at UA Little Rock. Photo by Ben Krain.

Stacy Owens, an art teacher at Pinnacle View Middle School, found the opportunity to take a free graphic design workshop for teachers at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock this summer serendipitous, considering she will begin teaching graphic design again this fall after many years of not teaching the course.

“I was a graphic designer for 10 years before I was a teacher,” Owens said. “I decided this was a kismet (destiny or fate) thing that right before I was supposed to teach design again, this workshop became available.”

Kevin Cates, associate professor of graphic design at UA Little Rock, taught a free week-long graphic design teacher workshop in June in UA Little Rock’s Windgate Center of Art and Design. Participants learned principles and practices that are helpful in building a foundation for innovative graphic design trends.

The workshops are funded by a $754,108 gift from the Windgate Foundation in January 2019 that enabled the university’s Department of Art and Design to establish a series of free educational art workshops for art teachers and high school students in Arkansas and surrounding states.

“These sessions will be designed not only to instruct or train participants in a particular technique or process, but also to introduce them to our highly skilled Department of Art and Design faculty and the up-to-date equipment and facilities of the Windgate Center of Art and Design,” said Thomas Clifton, chair of UA Little Rock’s Department of Art and Design.

Owens found the workshop a good way to reboot her skills and to come up with some lessons for her students in the fall.

“It’s been the reboot I’ve needed,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s good to get a clean start and see what others are doing in the field before you get too comfortable. I’ve really enjoyed the program, and I’m making sure I’m first on the list for next year when the new classes and workshops are posted. I’m going to modify the exercises we’ve learned to a middle school concept for my students.” 

In the upper right photo, art educators from around the state participate in a free professional development summer workshop for graphic design at UA Little Rock. Photo by Ben Krain.

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