Media Sandbox Michigan State University

ComArtSci ArtPrize Competition 2017!

March 27th, 2017

Pitch an idea for an ArtPrize exhibit! You and/or your team have 3 minutes to impress us.
Theme: My America

ComArtSci will award the TOP 3 pitches up to $100 to create the exhibit, then an additional $300 if
the exhibit is accepted by an ArtPrize venue… AND we’ll cover your ArtPrize entry fee!
Any of these ArtPrize-accepted mediums qualify:

1. 2D
2. 3D
3. Time-based
4. Installation

  • Please email to register for the pitch.
  • Your entry must follow ArtPrize’s “Details for Artists.” Visit for info.
  • At least one member of the team must be a ComArtSci student.

Minds (Wide) Open an All-Around Success

October 12th, 2015

Inspired by the One Club Youth Creative Festival in China, Henry Brimmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Advertising + Public Relations, was successful in bringing a similar competition to Michigan State’s campus, giving MSU students the unique opportunity to work collaboratively with Chinese students and to show their creative advertising skills to some of the industry’s top professionals.

“I was so impressed by what I saw two years in a row in Beijing, organized by The One Club, that I just had to bring it here,” Brimmer said.

For five days in September, 16 MSU students and 45 students from China, along with 16 professional mentors from around the world, participated in the “Minds (Wide) Open: Communication Problem Solving From Two Sides of the World” international advertising competition hosted by MSU’s Department of Advertising + Public Relations.

“I am just blow away by all the people who came from so far just to take part in an event that we organized and that is symbolic of what it is that we are about,” Brimmer said. “I hope that everybody who came here in some way had their minds open to the people they worked with, the ideas that were put forth, and that they really enjoyed it.”

At the beginning of the competition, students were divided into eight cross-cultural teams, with each team assigned two mentors. The teams were challenged to build better intercultural relations between the many Chinese students who attend MSU and the rest of the student body and to encourage students from different countries to interact with one another.

“I knew we were going to have to work hard, but I didn’t anticipate how hard,” said Creative Advertising major Caitlin Leppert. “Thursday morning, around 4 a.m., when my group was still putting our final presentation together and I could barely keep my eyes open, I began questioning if it was all worth it. And I realized I was crazy for second guessing anything. How lucky am I to receive personal coaching from two professionals on how to present?”

On the last day of the competition, the groups made their final presentations.

“I think they all are winners. In fact, I think we’re all winners, even those of us who sat viewing it because we’re better off for what we saw,” said Jef Richards, Chair of the Department of Advertising + Public Relations. “The ideas were fabulous, and all of the approaches really showed a lot of thought and ingenuity. Certainly some were more polished than others, but they were all amazing, especially when you consider they were done in four days.”

The winners were announced during a special awards ceremony, with One Club CEO Kevin Swanepoel on hand to make the presentations.

Leppert’s team took first place. Her team members included MSU Advertising major Tyler Kochanski and the following Chinese students: Wanqing Dai, Ka Wai Ho, Hei Nga Tang, Gao Qingyan, Wing Tung Wong and JingYan Zhu. Their mentors were Mohamed Said, (B.A. Advertising ’12) Copywriter at Droga5, New York, and Steve Mykolyn, former Chief Brand Officer and Chief Creative Officer of Taxi, Toronto.

“Even if my team hadn’t won, I wouldn’t have given up this experience for anything,” Leppert said. “I made new friends, both American and Chinese, I made connections with advertising veterans I would have never been able to meet otherwise, and I have an amazing piece for my portfolio. These are the kind of experiences that make college amazing and make me happy to be a Spartan.”

The second place team included MSU Advertising students Ka Lee and Nicole Nalazek and the following Chinese students: Yuan Gao, RuoXue Li, Man Lok Keung, Ying Li and QingYan Meng with mentors Therese Randall Brimmer, Co-Founder, Brimmer Family Design, and Gordon Hughes, WPP School of Marketing and Communications.

The third place team consisted of MSU Advertising major Amy Ruimveld, MSU Journalism major Rachel Tang, and the following Chinese students: Cheng Lu, Jia Wu, Pei Pei Lo, Zhao Zhang and Yeung Tsang with mentors Ross Chowles, Creative Director, The Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town, South Africa, and Leo Pang, Hong Kong Design Institute.

Minds (Wide) Open was made possible with a grant from MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and by support from MSU’s Asian Studies Center, Department of Mathematics and the Department of Advertising + Public Relations.

The event was organized as part of “The China Experience: An MSU Exploration of Arts and Culture,” an 18-month university-wide initiative focusing on the arts and culture in Greater China.

For more information, please visit:

A look inside Minds Wide Open with Margeaux

September 24th, 2015

“I could never have anticipated how mentally and emotionally challenging it ended up to be.”

Margeaux Phillips, a senior Advertising major, was one of the many driven students participating in the Minds (Wide) Open challenge. Margeaux refers to the experience as one of the hardest things she has ever put herself through; fellow competitors agree. For one week, mentors from New York, China, South Africa, and many other places joined up with students to form eight different teams, each aiming to accomplish a common goal:  Communication Problem Solving From Two Sides of the World.

Insisting that the competition made her “a better designer, communicator, and overall person”, Margeaux also describes everything she was able to learn from this experience – “I learned a lot about the industry, working with others and ultimately myself”. But it wasn’t all about the finished product – the relationships that Margeaux and other participants formed will last a lifetime, and “made each long, exhausting day worth my time,” said Phillips.

margeaux 3

For Margeaux, her favorite experience during the Minds Wide Open week was having the opportunity to take one of the Chinese students/participants to a Meijer in order to shop for supplies. Margeaux states “the pure happiness and amazement on his face as he explored each aisle…is honestly something that will stick with me forever”. The ability to immerse yourself in another culture is reason enough to take advantage of the travel and multi-cultural opportunities that are available through Media Sandbox and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences here at Michigan State.

This intense competitive environment wasn’t always described as “fun”. Phillips says she and her team faced challenges when one of their mentors presented the team with some pretty heavy criticism of their campaign shortly before they were supposed to reveal their final presentation to competitors. “It is definitely the most important thing I will take from this experience and apply it to how I work in the future…keep an eye out for the big picture,” Margeaux states in reference to her mentors reaction.

Phillips plans to take the trip to China with 15 other MSU students in November to compete in a similar competition. Upon being asked if she was ready to involve herself in another competitive, intense event so shortly after Minds Wide Open, Margeaux replied, “to be honest, I wish I had a bit more time to recover from the weird week I had,” but goes on to state that “there is no way I could ever pass up the opportunity to do something this incredible.”

Stay tuned for more information and coverage on the upcoming trip to Beijing, China!

Savannah Benavides | Advertising Major

Michigan State UniversityCollege of Communication Arts and Sciences


MSU Media Sandbox is a creative CURRICULUM and COMMUNITY in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University.