Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
Recent advertising graduate Savannah Benavides ’17 reeled in a National Silver ADDY after hooking the judges with her witty 3-ad campaign for Ugly Stik, a company specializing in fishing tackle. The campaign had previously won a Gold ADDY at the local level and a Silver ADDY at districts, propelling her work to the national stage.
“I was really surprised, but mostly I was excited,” said Benavides. “It felt awesome to receive recognition for some of my work, but I was even more excited to work harder in order to create more for my portfolio. Winning awards is really nice, but it’s so important to learn as much as you can in the process.”
Fishing for Ideas
Benavides’ winning campaign was produced as an assignment for an introductory copywriting class she took her junior year under the direction of Lou Schiavone. For this particular assignment, students were to create advertisements for a brand of their choice. Benavides decided on Ugly Stik because of the challenge it would present her, and went to work on a list of ideas.
“My creative process is, in a word, exhaustive,” said Benavides. “I do my best to get out all of my ideas on paper as quickly as I can. My best ideas come when I’m rapid-firing them onto a piece of paper or into a blank document.”
Benavides decided to poke fun at the fisherman stereotype and produce a humorous campaign that would resonate with the target consumer audience. As the idea was further developed into three advertisements, Benavides gained constructive feedback whenever possible.
“Each step of the way, I had amazing peers and mentors giving me feedback, including criticism,” said Benavides. “It’s been so helpful to receive the insight and opinion of others, because it helps build me into a better creative.”
Enjoying the Ride
Benavides admits that she wishes she would have known the importance of finding fun in her work earlier on. In fact, her best work came when she stopped stressing and started producing because she wanted to.
“Of course, getting an education at Michigan State is something to be taken seriously, but it was so important for me to find the time and energy to fall in love with my work and the creative process,” said Benavides. “I really think the most vital part of the creative process is to be in love with it and to enjoy every minute of it.”
Benavides advises other students to pursue their passions and take pleasure in the process.
“Find a way to feel comfortable having fun and enjoying the field that you chose to pursue,” said Benavides. “But if you don’t enjoy the field that you’re in, change it. Life is short.”
By Kaitlin Dudlets
Friday, June 16th, 2017
These are the words, accompanied with expertly designed graphics, that earned Lauren Cutler ‘16 and Matt Richter ‘16 a National Gold ADDY. During an intensive advertising portfolio workshop, the then-students were given a creative brief to invent a micro-brewing company that is by women, for women: Lumberjane Brewing Co. was born.
“Our strategy in this campaign was to address the archaic “just for men” culture surrounding beer, so we created a microbrewery brand specifically for middle-class, hard-working women,” said Cutler, a junior art director at Güd Marketing in Lansing. “We created a campaign that is caught between delicate and rugged, for a semi-feminine beer with a punch of attitude.”
The campaign has been wildly successful. Lumberjane is the winner of a Gold ADDY for Integrated Campaigns, a Gold ADDY for Packaging and a Judge’s Choice Award at the 2017 Mid-Michigan ADDY Awards Show. Following its success at the regional level, Lumberjane has gone on to win a District 6 Silver ADDY, as well as the National Gold ADDY, which Cutler accepted at the awards show in New Orleans on June 10.
“I have a few other ADDYs, but this one being a national award definitely takes the cake,” said Richter, who is currently interning at 360i in New York City. “ADDYs are great resume builders, and they definitely substantiate your work.”
While Cutler served as Lumberjane’s art director, Richter was the copywriter – though the distinction between their roles was often blurred. Cutler accredits much of the project’s success to the collaborative effort between Richter and herself.
“Concept development is the most important part, and both Matt and I spent a lot of time making sure the goals of the campaign completely lined up with the way we would execute it,” said Cutler. “I think that’s why it’s been so successful.”
The Summer Intensive Workshop
Lumberjane was created entirely in the realm of ADV 455, the Intensive Portfolio Workshop that is only offered during the summer semester. Cutler admits that the workshop is not for the faint-of-heart, as it is held Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.‒5 p.m.
“The Intensive Portfolio Workshop is an absolute must for creative advertising students,” said Richter. “It’s the closest you will ever get to working in an agency while still in school. Deadlines are strict, it involves a lot of late nights and you will regularly get scolded, but at the end of it all, you will have some really great work to show off to recruiters.”
While Cutler advises other students to “Have fun, work hard and believe in what you do,” Richter wants advertising students to take advantage of everything the program has to offer.
“Do everything. Take the summer Intensive Portfolio Workshop,” said Richter. “It’s not just a great portfolio builder, it gives you a taste of what work will be like after school. It also leads to the creation of great relationships with people like Henry Brimmer, Ross Chowles and Lou Schiavone. These aren’t normal professors. These are people who will bend over backwards to get you a job, because they believe in you.”
By Kaitlin Dudlets
Thursday, June 15th, 2017
AND THE AWARD GOES TO….
Well, actually, five awards. ComArtSci faculty and WKAR colleagues brought home five wins from the 2017 Regional Emmy® Awards on Saturday, June 10, at the MotorCity Sound Board Theater in Detroit.
Two ComArtSci faculty members, Troy Hale, professor of practice in the School of Journalism (J-School) and the Department of Media and Information, and Geri Alumit Zeldes, associate professor in the J-School and director of journalism graduate studies, brought home an Emmy for their project “Run Jump Paddle.” The 27-minute documentary follows the experiences of three extreme athletes, each in their own relentless environment.
“Troy came up with the idea to follow extreme athletes as they become one with the environment,” said Zeldes. “We, the team, brainstormed and found three athletes, exemplary of the concept of taking on animalistic qualities to become one with nature.”
The team also included two students, who have since graduated: Jennifer Berggren ‘14, who served as the films’s director and editor, and William Bridgforth ‘15 as the cinematographer.
The documentary developed from a pitch given to The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, in response to an open call for projects. The Center agreed to fund the film.
“I think they liked it because it wasn’t the “normal” environmental film,” said Hale. “We tried to make a fun film that had an environmental message, but was entertaining first.”
The J-School’s Mike Castellucci, professor of practice, also brought home a win for his 6-minute video called “Steam Medicine.” The documentary follows Kim Springsdorf, who heads the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, MI, and was shot entirely on Castellucci’s iPhone.
This was Castellucci’s first time entering the solo journalist category, though he has won Emmys in five different regions across the country.
“I specifically entered this category for the JRN school to show students that you can shoot a broadcast quality, award-winning story on your phone,” said Castellucci. “I usually want my iPhone work to compete against everybody else in the business who have two-person camera crews and who use broadcast cameras and equipment.”
J-School faculty members have a combined total of nearly 55 Emmy Awards. This is Hale’s 23rd, Zeldes’ third and Castellucci’s 22nd Emmy win. According to Zeldes, these awards hold great significance for the J-School.
“It means they have professors who can compete with professionals in real time,” said Zeldes. “It means that the School of Journalism is a destination for outstanding storytelling.”
Tim Zeko, executive producer, and Rob Stephenson, host and writer, accepted the Emmy in Children/Youth/Teens – Program/Special for the “Curious Crew” episode “Wheels and Axles.” The award for Interview/Discussion went to the host and producer for “Evening with the Governor,” Tim Skubick.
Michigan State University Athletics Spartan Vision productions won another four awards, bringing the Spartan total to nine Emmys. These awards recognize excellence in the television industry, and Michigan State was certainly in the spotlight this year.
By Kaitlin Dudlets
Monday, March 27th, 2017
MI 491: Game Writing
Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D.
Offered Fully Online
Summer 2017, July 5 – August 18
Are you interested in writing for games? Video games, role playing games, text games, board games, choose-your-own adventure stories, you name it!
Don’t know where to begin or know where to begin but need to develop your skills and portfolio for industry or independent work?
Jump into the online summer course Game Writing, where you’ll:
– Learn about game writing techniques for industry and indie game development
– Explore readily available tools to increase skills in game writing
– Create a portfolio-ready game writing sample
No previous experience required!
Open to all students in Communication Arts & Sciences and Arts & Letters.
For an override, go to: override.cas.msu.edu.
For more information, contact Elizabeth LaPensée at email@example.com.
Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
Each year, young creatives from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences submit their work in the hopes of winning an ADDY Award. The annual award ceremony is organized by the American Advertising Federation and the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance and recognizes students and professionals for their work in TV, print, design and digital.
Above: Ad created by Madison Johnson for her brand “Bad Habits Brewing Company,” won her a Gold ADDY and Judge’s Choice award. She won 11 awards in total.
The submitted works were judged by a panel of professional advertising creatives, including Andy Azula, the creative director and vice president at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia; Silver Guellar III, from Van Winkle + Associates in Atlanta, Georgia; and Melanie Wiesenthal, a partner at Deerfield, a branding and design studio that focuses on fashion and beauty in Brooklyn, New York.
Eric Schwartz, advertising senior and Silver ADDY winner, looks forward to the ADDYs each year, as they promote and reward students in the MSU Department of Advertising + Public Relations and local professionals for their hard work.
“The ADDYs to me is such a great way to celebrate the work that students do in and outside of the classroom, and the hard work that professionals are doing in the industry just down the road,” said Schwartz. “The students in the creative concentration within the advertising program are small and few, so having an event to celebrate and bring all of us together is really special – it’s a family reunion of sorts.”
This year’s entries included ads for Fruit of the Loom, Walgreens, Best Buy as well as companies and brands created by the students.
Above: Ad created by Madison Johnson, won a Gold ADDY for TV Advertising and an Excellence in Diversity award.
Students stole the show with stunning work
Recent advertising grad Lauren Cutler was awarded a Gold ADDY for work on a brand she created called Lumberjane, with fellow student Matt Richter. The brief they were given was to create packaging and advertising for a brewing company – for women, by women. Cutler also won a Judge’s Choice award for the brand, which she was excited to receive from judge Andy Azula.
“This year’s ADDYs was really wonderful. The student work was exceptional, even compared to last year’s,” said Cutler. “The most rewarding part of the whole experience is seeing your classmates and friends be recognized for the awesome stuff they do and to celebrate all our hard work together!”
A total of 60-plus awards were given to students in MSU’s Advertising + Public Relations program this year. However, if this were the Olympics, senior Madison Johnson would be Michael Phelps. She left the ADDYs as the most decorated student of all time. With 11 awards, ranging in color from Bronze to Gold and a Judge’s Choice, Johnson said she felt very lucky.
“The awards I am most proud of are my Judge’s Choice and Best in Show for Bad Habits Brewing,” said Johnson. “I created the project over the summer in the Intensive Portfolio Workshop with Henry Brimmer and Lou Schiavone, but kept working on it afterward which is something that I should do with all my projects. Because I spent so much time on it, refining and adding, it was really great to get recognized for the hard work.”
Another honorable mention includes Tiffany Nagy’s “Coming Out” film trailer, which won gold for Television Advertising.
Above: Ad created by Tiffany Nagy, won gold for Television Advertising.
Celebrating creative work
Ross Chowles, professor of practice in the MSU Department of Advertising + Public Relations, compared having an ADDY award on a resume as “ringing a bell” that the student has something special about them.
“You could have a nice portfolio, but having an award starts to ring a little bell that this person is different,” said Chowles. “More important, I guess, is that competitive spirit, that belief in their work. The problem with our business is it’s all of gut feel. It helps
acknowledge your gut feel when someone says ‘Yeah, it’s great’, but even then, it’s the judges’ opinions.”
A Gold ADDY allows the winner entrance into a regional competition and, depending on performance, potentially entered at the national level. We wish our Gold ADDY winning students the best of luck in the upcoming competitions!
View all of the ADDY Award entries on the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance’s website.
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
In the class MI 497: Game Design Studio, media and information students with enthusiasm for game design are given real-world opportunities to create digital gaming experiences for users. A team of six students from the class, ranging from 3D art, programming and design roles, created a game called “Bunny Skate,” which reached #38 in the kid’s 9-11 category on the App Store in December 2016.
“We wanted to create a fun mobile experience that anyone could play,” said Sage Miller, a media and information senior. “Most feedback came from friends and family, however, we were able to connect with many gamers from across the world through Twitter and sent them early versions of the game.”
The creators describe the game as an “endless skating adventure.” The object of the game is to control the bunny and skate around an ice rink through a variety of environments, collecting carrots meanwhile avoiding wolves and other obstacles along the way. Once you have collected the carrots, you can use them to purchase a chest, which allows the player to receive a random hat throughout the game. The goal is to obtain as many hats as possible, with a number of 50 possible during the course of the game. Some of these hats hold a secret power that can assist your character through the course.
“I think the idea sparked from the time of the year and what fit for our scope of the project,” said media and information senior Evan Jones. “We wanted to make a mobile game so we had to keep it simple and fun. We knew we wanted to release it around Christmas time so ice and other snowy environments were necessary.”
Bunny Skate was approved and published on the App Store and Google Play just a couple of days before Christmas. The students said they are pleased with how the game turned out, but it was no walk in the park to create the successful finished product.
“We had a rough beginning. We started with a different kind of game and we struggled to find the ‘fun’ in what we were doing,” said media and information senior Clark Ruiz. “But after four weeks, we scrapped that idea and started working on what would become the game you know (Bunny Skate)! It was great once we had the final idea, since we were able to polish something simple.”
Miller said one of the greatest features of the game is that it’s accessible, “It’s easy for anyone to pick up and have fun with it.
Each team member highlighted how important it is to collaborate with others and be on the same page. Trusting each other’s skills while allowing each person to take charge of certain elements was critical to overcoming obstacles as a group and making it to the finish line.
“The collaboration between the team members was great,” said Jones. “We all came together with our different strengths and used them to our advantage. I think teamwork and being able to work well with others will make you a better person in the long run.”
Jones continued, “Communication is the key when working with a group. Making sure everyone was on the same page and on task was something that we did well.”
Clark Ruiz – 3D Art
Evan Jones – 3D Art
Alec Velthov – 3D Art
Matthew Smith – Programming
Homer Chen – Programming
Sage Miller – Design
By Emmy Virkus
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
Immersive experiences within new spaces at the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences are empowering students with the acumen they’ll need to excel in competitive, tech-driven media careers.
The college’s new Spartan Newsroom and Immersive Media Studio invite students to collaborate, gain real-life experiences and build professional skills. The newsroom welcomed its first students in fall 2016 and went “live” during the General Election, while the immersive studio opened for classes in January 2017. The innovative, cross-functional spaces equip students for 21st century jobs by engaging them in the development and delivery of news, animation, game design and immersive interactive media content involving motion capture, augmented and virtual realities.
“Having the experience to work within a professional pipeline facility will make a student’s transition into a real-world situation smoother and more successful,” says Stacey Fox, professor of animation, mixed realities and immersive journalism in the MSU School of Journalism. “It also teaches students the importance of respecting a production space.”
The expansive learning spaces sit in the middle of the first floor of the ComArtSci building. Students and faculty are free to move seamlessly from one area to the next when producing or creating content, or when working on collaborative media projects. Many high-activity areas and broadcasting studios are viewable through glass walls, giving passers-by a Today Show experience.
Fox says students often remark on how lucky they feel to have such a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility in which to produce new works. She adds that the new space and studio places ComArtSci on the forefront alongside major universities like Arizona State University, California Institute of the Arts and New York University in offering curriculum and training in global media production.
“Our space is unique in that it has the latest in motion capture and learning technologies for classroom collaboration, production and immersion,” says Fox. “Spartans and the general public are able to see the whole process in real time when they walk by and look through the floor to ceiling glass windows.”
Learning by doing, learning with others
Julie Dunmire was in the initial group of students to experience the power of the new spaces. The broadcast journalism student worked in the newsroom on Election Day 2016, and was the first person to read a live report from the news anchor desk. Dunmire currently takes a class in the newsroom and sometimes interacts with students from other ComArtSci disciplines who are learning and working within the immersive spaces.
“News is not in ‘silos’ anymore,” says Dunmire. “We have to stop thinking about ourselves as ‘photojournalists’ or ‘writers’ or ‘anchors’ because we will all have similar tasks and roles in a digital age.”
Like Dunmire, other students believe that what you learn in a traditional classroom is far different than what you can learn in an immersive or real-world environment.
Media and Information undergraduate Michael Grassi focuses on 3D animation studies and is applying his craft through the immersive studio. His big take-away, he says, is learning to operate advanced motion capture systems and apply motion capture files to 3D animation.
“The new systems we have access to are professional grade equipment, and the products professionals use to make a living,” says Grassi. “Knowing how to operate them and having access to their benefits as a college student preparing for the professional workplace gives us invaluable experience. It shortens the learning curve potential employers would face if they were to hire us.”
Creative Advertising undergraduate Michael Cagney echoes the sentiment. Cagney is continuing to learn the ins and outs of the studio’s motion capture system, and has begun to integrate motion capture skills into his other animation abilities. Those experiences, he says, have strengthened his confidence, and are shaping the direction he will take when he graduates in May.
“I’ve learned how to operate the motion capture system for myself and for others in a professional setting,” he says. “I would like to pursue a job in animation and possibly mocap.”
In addition to applying their skills in news, animation and motion capture arenas, students and faculty can design and produce virtual reality broadcasts and 360 animation renderings for immersive storytelling. The center opens up possibilities for cross-campus collaborations in almost any area, including those underway in athletics, health and medicine and theatre.
“Along with offering our courses in the space, we will also be utilizing the immersive media studio to host events such as game design jams, animation festivals and this February the Cultural Digi Summit in partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center. We will have industry leaders in technology and culture in residence for two days utilizing the new spaces,” says Fox. “It’s a very exciting time to be at the MSU School of Journalism and ComArtSci.”
By Ann Kammerer
Friday, February 10th, 2017
Liv Larsen had an extraordinary senior year at Michigan State University — to say the least. The former journalism student, with a minor in documentary film studies, along with her crew produced a documentary called “From Flint” that won a student academy award in 2016.
In May, Larsen moved to New York City to fulfill her passion of working for a production company at 4th Row Films. As a production intern, she was assigned three documentaries to work on. She came up with different ideas for the director and tried to put her spin on the little details when she saw an opportunity. She even got to attend a few of the shoots.
“I really got to see first hand how different people interview,” Larsen said. “The director’s style was different from my style and I was able to see how to set up the whole production in the real world.”
She excels at the logistics behind the shoot, “Whether it’s applying for grants, setting up the location or making sure everyone’s on the same page; I really enjoy these aspects,” said Larsen.
Larsen claims that her favorite part of the internship was collaborating with other interns.
“The interns pretty much got free reign to give ideas,” Larsen said. “It was great to have that group and connection, in case we wanted to collaborate on future projects together.”
To her surprise, after completing her internship in New York City, Larsen found herself wanting to try her hand in independent filmmaking. After completing her award-winning documentary in Professor Bob Albers’ class, she thought she wanted to work for a large production company, shooting films, but realized that she had a desire to pursue her own personal film style.
“I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for my student film,” Larsen said. “After it won a Student Academy Award, our crew filed to work with an actual distribution company, which is amazing.”
Larsen said no member of her crew had actually been to Flint before creating this film. The main task of the film was to see how they could get involved with the community of Flint and make an impact.
“After doing basic internet research, we met with a few people, which turned into more people,” Larsen said. “The film started to unfold and the community of Flint embraced us with open arms. Our crew just took it one step at a time. The whole thing was a puzzle we put together, since we only had a semester to do it. It was so rewarding at the end.”
Currently, Larsen is still living in New York City, pursuing her dream of independent filmmaking. She’s doing freelance work, which involved working on a project for Netflix, and currently producing another independent documentary film.
Her interest in documentary filmmaking evolved over time as she added new skills and learned more about the field.
“I have always been involved in the arts as a kid,” Larsen said. “Then I came to MSU and I had my journalism major, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with just that. After joining Telecasters and SideShow, I wanted to get more involved.”
Larsen always liked documentaries because they went further into telling stories and resonated with people a little more. She enjoys how one documentary can cover so much and bring out the layers of an issue.
She said the difference between her crew’s coverage of Flint and every other major news outlet was their angle. The networks were covering the city of Flint based on the government. Larsen and her crew covered Flint based on the people.
“Everybody can relate to someone else,” Larsen said. “You can emphasize with someone and try to understand their tragedy. Everyone has a story worth telling. So to me, it’s a mission to find these stories that are untold and tell them in a way that’s never been done before.”
By Meg Dedyne
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
What do Twitter, Lego figurines and advertising all have in common? For the average person, not much. For advertising professor Ross Chowles, it represents something larger.
Chowles is in his second semester teaching at MSU. He grew up in South Africa where he was one of the founding partners of the successful advertising agency, The Jupiter Drawing Room Cape Town.
He recently started an out-of-the-box social media experiment with his portfolio preparation class (ADV 450). Chowles gave each student a Lego figurine where they had to act as that character and create a tone of voice via Twitter.
Creative advertising major and graphic design minor Travis Root grew up watching the movie ‘Nacho Libre,’ and decided to base his Lego character off of the movie.
Root’s character was an over-the-top wrestler. With no background in Spanish, Root decided to write all of his character’s Tweets in Spanish to really get into the tone of his character.
“I was excited about the opportunity to use jokes and memes from the ‘Nacho Libre’ movie,” Root said. “For authenticity sake I decided to do the whole thing in Spanish so I had to use Google translate and occasionally Bing translate.”
The senior said his future will hopefully include working with people to collaborate and be creative.
“He (Chowles) is really supportive in creative stuff,” Root said. “Ross has really great ideas and he is always willing to make you think about things in new ways but he’s not so binary about the whole thing. All of the assignments are based to benefit our portfolio and he just wants to help us make a really solid portfolio.”
Senior in creative advertising Alex Grajewski took on the role as a bodybuilder Lego. According to Grajewski, Chowles gave him this character to represent Grajewski’s own workout routine.
“I think I am going to continue it (his character) after because my friends don’t know it’s me, so I have been following some of my friends and I have been Tweeting at them so they will tell me to look on Twitter about this Lego person,” Grajewski joked.
Grajewski said he would like to check out Seattle or the San Francisco area after graduating from MSU. He said he relies on this class to help him build his portfolio.
“I would like to be an art director,” Grajewski said. “I want to get really into doing ad campaigns and stay away from doing the sales. I want to make something people are going to remember.”
Jamie Miller is a creative advertising major who took on the role of an ‘80s gym bunny Lego for her project in the class.
“He (Chowles) has come up with more unique projects than I have seen,” Miller said. “He wanted us to completely embody these characters and do our own thing with it. I wasn’t born in the ‘80s, I was on my computer looking up terms from the ‘80s and stuff.”
Miller said she has been interested in advertising ever since she was young. Miller said she remembered times where she would be watching TV and ads would stand out to her.
“When I would watch TV advertisements they weren’t boring to me and I would notice the good ones,” Miller said. “I like being more on the creative side, you can have that creative thinking and apply that to something practical.”
The senior said she is moving to Boston after graduation and is looking to work with an advertising agency. Until then she said working with Chowles has helped prepare her for life outside of MSU.
“It was a very interesting way of looking at tone and promoting an image,” Miller said. “We started this whole community and we started getting random people following us. It just shows how much social media can spread so quickly.”
With social media being one of the new trends for brands to communicate, Chowles said advertising agencies look for students with an understanding in using social media as a platform for brand conversations.
“In my mind the idea is that at the end of the course they are leaving with a professional portfolio that will go and get them a job at a better agency,” Chowles said. “So you have to fill it with things that agencies say ‘Ok, we do that. We need that.’”
“Clients are excited about this medium and all its possibilities but also you can’t control what consumers say,” Chowles said. “Traditional marketing you can control because you make a TV ad and you put it out but social media people talk and answer back. Our job is to start this conversation.
The Twitter experiment is still up and running. Students have been posting new Tweets every week.
“From what I have seen the students don’t get taught enough of it,” Chowles said. “They may get taught social media as a theory but not enough as a creative application. Good use of social media is to spark a conversation and I wanted my students to get into that headspace of having a conversation.”
“I want them to understand brand personality online because most brands when they speak it is boring and humanless stuff,” Chowles said. “Social media is the absolute opposite. We seek out stuff that is funny, charming and interesting.”
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
Media and Information’s Elizabeth LaPensée and Jon Whiting paired up to create two new games called “Manoominike” and “Mikan” for the Duluth Children’s Museum in Minnesota. With the help of the museum and a committee of Anishinaabe community members, these games pinpoint specific teachings about the practice of ricing in Anishinaabemowin (Anishinaabe language). These games launched at the free Manoomin Exhibit Opening in Duluth on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.
“I’m blown away by seeing the Manoomin exhibit at the Duluth Children’s Museum, which will be up for several years complete, with the games Manoominike and Mikan in wiigiwaam,” said LaPensée.
With assistants of the committee and contributions from Ojibwemowning Digital Arts Studio, this collaboration involved design and art by Elizabeth LaPensée, programming by Tyler Coleman, and sound by Jon Whiting. The game, Manoominike (meaning “wild rice”) in Anishinaabemowin, gives users a motion-controlled experience that is surrounded by elements and imagery of modern ricing in a fabricated wigwam, a real-life look and feel. The second game called Mikan (meaning “find it”) is a mobile game that intends to pass on phrases about ricing in Anishinaabemowin such as jiimaan (meaning “canoe”).
“The greatest challenge of all involved creating games that could be played in short experiences in a museum, while honoring the vastness of the ricing tradition,” said LaPensée.
The Manoomin exhibit and the Manoominike and Mikan games were made possible through support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Fund and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation’s Anishinaabe Fund.
“I’m grateful for input from the committee as well as community members who see what I hope to pass on through these games –the importance of ricing and sustainable harvesting practices directed at youth, the next generations, who will continue these teachings,” said LaPensée.
By Emmy Virkus