Spring Pathways

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May 10, 2010

This famous verse from the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado kept echoing in my head during the events that marked the end of Spring term at Art Center two weeks ago—the college’s 80th anniversary and formal inauguration of Art Center President Buchman, and the graduation of the Spring 2010 class.

“Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al Andar se hace el camino.”

“Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing more;
Wanderer, there’s no road,
the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road.”

– Antonio Machado,

“Proverbios y cantares XXIX” in Campos de Castilla.

The accepted wisdom that truly there is no clear path ahead of us–that we craft it, mold it, and make it as we go, is not new. Yet during the suspended lapse in time of these celebrations, Machado’s words somehow resonated with new meaning for me, as I looked back at institutional tracks well travelled, and projected forward onto the trails ahead.

We concluded such an eventful, and full term with the student and faculty teams that were part of the latest round of Designmatters projects and courses. There was field time in Guatemala followed by hard studio work as part of the “Creating Social Value Class,”; the rebranding efforts for a name and new identity for Project Concern International that will soon be carried forward by our partner NGO; the making of the Safe Agua Book and film and motion documentaries that will be published and disseminated by fall. And we saw through to completion and roll out the Es Tiempo cervical cancer book with our partners at USC, worked with the PAHO team to deliver the awareness campaigns that the students imagined for World Health Day 2010 on “Urbanism and Healthy Living,” and helped OAS communicate about their values and vision as they mark their first hundred years of lasting commitment to democracy, human rights, security and development throughout the Americas.

We welcomed back Designmatters Fellow Jaime Lopez from Washington DC and PAHO only to send her off again for a post-fellowship internship with the organization this summer. We hosted Emily Pilloton’s Design Revolution Roadshow, closed the student Poster Exhibition about the commemoration of the Human Rights Declaration at the Skirball Cultural Center with a terrific alumni panel discussion, and shared so many of the accomplishments from this body of work with peers at Conferences (NCIIA and ESOMAR), design consultancies (IDEO, Continuum, Fuseproject,) schools (Pratt, MIT, RISD) and UN agencies and NGOs.

Meandering paths well travelled, which get traced as we go along in so many directions at once by the collective and individual talents of our community. The summer now beckons—full of new roads to wander through.