Contact: Tom Oswald, Media Communications, Office: (517) 432-0920, Cell: (517) 281-7129, Tom.Oswald@cabs.msu.edu; Vincent Delgado, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, Office: (517) 884-1940, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Aug. 22, 2012 E-mail Editor
EAST LANSING, Mich. — After spending a week in Detroit this summer immersed in the technical and creative culture of the Motor City, a group of Michigan State University freshmen will retire to the classroom this fall to put what they learned to use in a new course.
The 11 students were all taking part in a special program titled “Freshman Seminar Away: Cultures of Creativity in Detroit.” They will now spend their first semester on the MSU campus working on a project that brings together technical savvy and artistic talent.
“They will be putting what they learned into action,” said Vincent Delgado, an instructor in MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities who helped develop the course. “The interdisciplinary team of engineering and RCAH students will design and build a mobile app that will allow users to learn more about a local piece of art.”
Specifically, the students will be designing and building an application for mobile devices that will help tell the story of a unique “art wall” that is part of Peckham Industries’ 331,000-square-foot facility in north Lansing.
Peckham Industries is a nonprofit, vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job-training opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The wall, currently a 40-by-200 foot grey piece of concrete, will eventually be decorated with self-portraits of many of the people who work at Peckham. The mobile apps will help tell the story behind each portrait.
For one week last July the students, freshmen for whom this was their first college experience, lived in and visited various sites in Detroit, including museums, the General Motors Tech Center, and the Russell Industrial Center, which houses more than 150 commercial tenants, including painters, architects, glass blowers and metal sculptors.
“Not everyone knows that Detroit has a very robust art scene,” Delgado said, “in addition, of course to its strong engineering and manufacturing scene.”
The work is supported in part by a grant of $17,000 from the Ford Community Fund.
For more information on the Freshman Away Seminar, visit http://undergrad.msu.edu/detroit.