This past Wednesday (May 19th) was the opening reception at the AIGA National Design Center in NYC for the exhibit “Design Journeys: You Are Here” — a showcase of 25 designers from different walks of life. It was a culmination of the AIGA Diversity Task Force that was put together back in 2006 (I was asked and served as the first Chairperson) when Bill Grant was the AIGA president. The idea of the exhibit was to showcase works of designers of color since there was such a lack of showing in mainstream exhibits and to begin educating the design community about its invisible designers. Believe it or not, no designers of brown or black tones had been recognized by AIGA until the task force was created. Subsequently, long overdue AIGA Medals have been awarded to Georg Olden, Gail Anderson and LeRoy Winbush.
This exhibit will be digitally archived (http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/design-journeys) so all members and non-members can access the works of these great designers. It’ll also help design students understand as well as to see that they aren’t alone out here & many of us work and thrive in the design community. The 25 designers are: Gail Anderson, Archie Boston, Andy Cruz, Charles Dawson, Aaron Douglas, Emory Douglas, Rafael Esquer, Karin Fong, Sylvia Harris, Lorenzo Homar, John C Jay, Steve Jones, Garland Kirkpatrick, Saki Mafundikwa, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, Pablo Medina, Rebecca Méndez, Bennett Peji, Samina Quareshi, Edel Rodriguez, Art Sims, Lucille Tenazas, Michele Washington, LeRoy Winbush and Maurice Woods. It’s a great representation of past and present pioneers. Check out more pics at my Flickr site (http://www.flickr.com/photos/soulfuldesign).
It was a pretty good turnout but I wished I had seem more brown and black folks in attendance. Hopefully, this exhibit will help bring in more members who are shades of brown, tan and black. But more importantly, to start the conversation, the recognition, the acknowledgment of design practitioners who have been glossed over or ignored in the design community. Make a trek down to AIGA National Design Center located at 164 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY. The exhibit runs from May 19th through July 23. Go get inspired by some design brilliance!