Great Potential

May 12, 2009

The MFA Design Department recently opened its annual thesis exhibition showcasing products, campaigns and services developed by students graduating from the program. This year’s show, titled “Potential Energy: 19 Designers Set Their Ideas in Motion,” is curated by faculty member Dorothy Twining Globus, who is also curator of exhibitions at the Museum of Arts & Design in Manhattan. Each of the 19 students’ projects is meant to be both commercially viable and culturally significant, and runs the gamut from clothing and accessories to Web ventures and public-service campaigns.

One project that has already sparked a great deal of interest is Areej Khan’s We the Women, a campaign to ignite dialogue regarding a woman’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. The project was the subject of an extensive recent post by Robert Mackey on The Lede: The New York Times News Blog. Also at The Times, columnist and longtime human rights observer Nicholas Kristof blogged about it for On the Ground; click here for his post.

Among the other projects on view are:

  • Kristina Critchlow’s Web site Swap Hive, which invites creative professionals to barter their skills.
  • Stephen Haslip’s Dirty Weekend, which encourages designers to ‘unplug’ through a series of hands-on workshops.
  • Hyun-Jung Hwang’s Voya, a line of dressing aids for people with reduced mobility that empowers the user through function and aesthetic.
  • Theresa Rollison’s Live Don’t Learn, an activity book for young women themed around the transition into adulthood.
  • Steven Smith’s Tiny Hands, an online, open-source art collective that strives for a more inclusive creative communit.
  • Scott Suiter’s Bluespot, a custom surf apparel line that promotes the preservation of beaches and oceans.

“Potential Energy” is at the Visual Arts Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, through Saturday, May 16.

Image: Areej Khan, We the Women, 2009.

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