Five students create four videos and give us more reasons than ever to care about poverty


students create videos on povertyAUArts faculty and students. Left to right: Colin Celino, advertising major; Rochelle Singh, graphic design major; Nia La Grandeur, advertising major; Neil Smith, advertising major; Scott Cressman, Chair, School of Communication Design; Eva Janke-Furman, illustration major.

We know that 1 in 10 Calgarians live in poverty, but this isn’t always easy to see. So five local artists from the visual communication design program at Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) came together to help our community visualize it in a new way.

“Our intention is to spark the conversation,” says Neil Smith, fourth-year advertising major at AUArts. “Bringing it to life is super exciting.”

The artists—graphic design, advertising, and illustration students who are wrapping up their studies at AUArts in 2019—collaborated with United Way during a public design course overseen by Scott Cressman, School of Communication Design Chair at AUArts. The public design course, which has been in place for more than 30 years, allows students to give back to the community by providing project assistance to a nonprofit.

In partnership with United Way, the students set to work to help make an issue that is often invisible, visible. The end result was a series of animated videos that break down complex issues related to poverty in a clear and approachable way. See all the videos up top.

“One of the things I love so much about design is the power of visual communication,” says Nia La Grandeur, an advertising major at AUArts. “Through these videos, we made (poverty) easily understandable.”

“It’s about rethinking how we think about poverty”

We had a chance to sit down with the young artists and Scott to get their take on how the project came to life, and why art is a powerful way to shine a light on the issue of poverty, and the many people across our community that are working and struggling. Check out the interview below.

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