I've mentioned on this blog before how I am a huge fan of AIGA's Design for Good initiative. I know that giving back can make anyone feel good, but there is something that really resonates with me about this new initiative. It's not that I give back simply because I feel that I have to; I like to give back because it's something that I want to do.
I just finished up one of my courses for school that we need for graduation called Keystone. (Students at my school usually take it their senior year.) This two-session course is basically there for everyone to sit down and examine what they learned beyond academics at my school and how they will take this beyond graduation. We learn four main values here at Stritch: peace-making, compassion, appreciation for the world, and creating a caring community. Part of the course requirements are to make a presentation about these things (including a project) and to write a short paper about it.)
One of the values that I always seem to go back to is creating a caring community. I am an artist and find myself constantly making things. I design logos for clients. I construct plaster casts for sculpture. I illustrate landscapes for painting. I sew clothes for textiles. I write posts for my blog. I find myself creating something new on a daily basis. While all of these things are a great way to keep my ideas flowing, I have to wonder, “Is there something else I can create that benefits more than my career?”
During some of my advanced courses at Cardinal Stritch University I have worked with a few wonderful non-profit organizations. These clients include the Green Tree Garden Club of Milwaukee (a local garden club affiliated with Garden Club of America), Children’s Hope Network (a Mequon-area adoption agency and child services center), and South Division High School (an in-need high school part of Milwaukee Public Schools). Working with these organizations has opened my eyes to seeing how lucky I really have it and trying to pass service onto others who need it.
On March 3, 2012 I went to my favorite tattoo shop, and had the words for good tattooed on my arm in script lettering. While it could be taken as an ironic hipster tattoo (I mean, it is forever….), to me it means so much more. For good means that I will use my arms, heart, mind, and elbow grease to create things that aren’t going to harm anyone. For good is giving back to people who might not be able to afford what I provide. For good is creating things honestly and working with integrity. For good is continuing this mentality the rest of the years I design.