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CreateAthon onCampus: Good for the Soul

19 Apr
Thank you cards painted by Dalewood Middle School students

Thank you cards painted by Dalewood Middle School students

[Editor’s Note: Co-posted on]

Last weekend I worked alongside thirty-seven fellow students and over forty professionals staying up around the clock doing good for Dalewood Middle School. The experience was nothing less than thoroughly satisfying and overwhelming.

CreateAthon onCampus enables design students to work side-by-side with professionals– designers, developers, writers, architects, interior designers (you get the idea)– and produce creative proposals for non-profit organizations. This year marked the first of many future collaborations between UTC design students, community organizations, and professionals for the benefit of Chattanooga schools.

The thought of working for twenty-four hours straight filled some of us with a bit of trepidation, I’m sure, not to mention the prospect of working side-by-side with professionals. The results far exceeded the expectations. Knowing we made a difference in the lives of the students feels great, but realizing the creative blitz itself positively influenced each of us who participated is even more remarkable to me.The concentrated energy and constant learning during the event fed each of us and propelled us to the finish, student and mentor alike.

Of course, the finish I just mentioned was the end of the twenty-four hours. For me, and I think for others, as well, I won’t feel we are finished until I get the chance to help implement some of the proposals we made for Dalewood Middle School. The excitement I feel in knowing that the work we did isn’t just pie-in-the-sky what ifs, but actually viable proposals that will start benefiting the school right away fills me with awe and I’ve found I’ve been dreaming about the new gallery and art center space. (More on those in the next post.)

I have heard from mentors and fellow students that they are looking forward to working on CreateAthon onCampus again next year. I know I’m not alone in wanting to continue after I graduate  when participation will no longer be a much anticipated requirement, but an amazing opportunity. In fact, I would equate the CreateAthon onCampus to a weekend crash course in teamwork, project management, application training, writing, people skills, and time management–all at the same time–with the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts because of the collaborative energy expended to benefit a worthy cause. And, that is good for the soul.


Featured Mentor: Carla Guerra

7 Apr

Carla Guerra is a “downtowneer” who works, lives, and plays between the Southside and the riverfront. Carla makes art everyday for a living at the corner of Market and Main Street at Battle Academy. Through her partnerships with local arts venues, she promotes art education through student-made public art displays in the community.

Battle Academy Art Studio!/pages/Battle-Academy-Art-Studio/159125102658

Featured Mentor: Daniel Skolfield

7 Apr

Daniel Skolfield graduated from UTC with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2008. He’s worked as an Assistant Curator at the Association for Visual Arts (AVA) primarily working on ‘Art in the Workplace’ and as a senior designer at CreateHere. He’s currently working at Lodge Cast Iron as a designer.


Featured Mentor: Kimberly Soules

7 Apr

Kimberly Soules graduated from UTC with a BFA in Graphic Design in 2009. She moved to Portland, Oregon shortly after graduation where she reveled in the culture of the city and worked at the Portland Business Journal planning events and doing some production design. Kimberly moved back to Chattanooga, got married, and started working at National Print Group all during a 3 week period in September 2010. At NPG, Kimberly does a lot of retail POP design and advertising. She’s a member of the Chattanooga chapter of AIGA where she’s currently helping to design an online newsletter for local members. Kimberly loves design and loves being around other people who love design. She’s super excited to be participating in CreateAthon onCampus!


Featured Mentor: Daniel Ryan

7 Apr

Daniel Ryan, BA MA, is an independent web developer based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He currently serves as the Technology Director for and the Advertising & Branding Chair for the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga.

Featured Mentor: Tara Jacek

7 Apr

Tara Jacek is a native of New York City and currently lives in Chattanooga. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2010 from the art department with a BFA in graphic design. In 2009, her junior class created and presented TasteBuds, a fresh and local food guide to Chattanooga, with a partnership between local leaders. Currently, Tara is a graphic artist at Gold Bond, Inc.

Featured Mentor: Rick Smith

7 Apr

Rick Smith is an independent designer and Chattanooga-native. He studied design at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta before starting his own, award-winning, design studio in Chattanooga in the early 1990s. He later moved to Chicago, where he was design director at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and creative director of Chicago Scene magazine, among others. Rick taught design & typography extensively for Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chicago Portfolio School, before returning home to Chattanooga in 2009.