PlayBuild: Connecting Design Leaders with Budding Designers to Wish New Orleans a Happy Birthday
Photos taken by Liz Maute Cooke for AIGA

What do you get when you take a room full of 20 rambunctious elementary schoolers plus 20 professional designers and throw in a challenge to wish New Orleans a Happy 300th Birthday?

We found out on Wednesday, October 7th, before the AIGA Design Conference. Local New Orleans design education non-profit, PlayBuild, partnered with AIGA and the AIGA New Orleans chapter to host a Design Career Day at KIPP Central City Primary School, a K-4th grade elementary school in a neighborhood a short distance from downtown.  

Volunteers and instructors from PlayBuild and after-school partner DiscoveryFEST were on hand along with AIGA national and local team members to facilitate the afternoon of show-and-tell and hands-on design activities.

Design educator Jacinda Walker facilitated the afternoon, which was designed to both allow the kids to meet and greet future career role models as well as present them with a hands-on Design Challenge.

Speed Networking with Design Leaders

DSC_0391_credit-liz-cooke-for-aiga-new-orleansFour local designers—Justin Shiels, Derin Lindsey, Reba Joy Billips, and Brandon Washington—were joined by AIGA Design Diversity Chair from St. Louis, Antionette Carroll, to host small group “speed dating” sessions with the KIPP-sters. Each gave a short presentation about their background and career path, with each one sharing images and examples of their past and current work through slide presentations and materials for show and tell.


How Do You Wish a City Happy Birthday?

DSC_0763_credit-liz-cooke-for-aiga-new-orleansFor the “real world” Design Challenge, we were also joined by Jeremy Cooker, VP of Marketing for New Orleans Tourism & Marketing, who briefed the kids on the City’s upcoming Tricentennial and the plans underway to celebrate New Orleans’ 300th birthday. Jeremy and Jacinda presented the Tricentennial Design Challenge: “How can you explain the New Orleans Tricentennial to your friends, and what can you create to show how important it is?”  

Volunteers from a diverse array of backgrounds including companies like Facebook and Marriott and institutions like Johns Hopkins coached the kids through the exercise and helped them present their work to the group at the end.

Thanks to all who took part in this inspiring afternoon including local pizzeria Reginelli’s whose contribution enabled us to cap off the afternoon with a pizza party for our newly minted designers!

Big kudos to the team at KIPP Central City Primary Academy who allowed us to host this enriching experience for the kids.

For more photos of the event, check out our Facebook album.

Photos taken by Liz Maute Cooke for AIGA
By Angela Kyle, PlayBuild founder
Published October 19, 2015