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North Bay Spring Forum and Farm to Table Event

The Influence of Art + Design on At-Risk Youth

Posted on: July 28, 2016

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NB Spring Event Farm to Table

On May 14, 50+ IIDA members and guests enjoyed a late Spring afternoon at the gateway to Wine Country in the Airport Business Center north of Santa Rosa with a “Farm to Table” spread of delicious farm to table finger foods and local Sonoma County wines.

The Project Tour

The event was generously hosted by American AgCredit in support of IIDA, some of whose North Bay members helped create their state-of-the-art interiors. The project includes a finishes palette reflective of their agricultural customers, all new furniture, an extensive art collection and numerous commissioned art pieces. Floyd Ridenhour from American AgCredit, led a tour of the building which was designed to provide a workplace that supports its employees functionally, aesthetically and environmentally.

NB Spring Event Project Tour Cowhide Wall   NB Spring Event Project Tour Lobby Art

The Forum

Caitlyn Childs with SAY joined 3 other panelists and our moderator Dave delaChevrotiere in a round table forum on The Influence of Art + Design on At-Risk Youth. Caitlyn shared the growing trend of homeless youth in our community, and the SAY programs that are focused on helping young people get their feet on the ground by developing adult life skills. Art projects and art therapy are two ways teens find an avenue to understand themselves and the world around them.

NB Spring Event Forum

Panelists shared personal experiences and explored some of these questions:

  • How exposure to art during teen and pre-teen years affects early adult life choices

  • How opportunities for creative exploration help develop workplace skills

  • What experiences in life influence the pursuit of a creative career path

  • How other forms of art (music, theater, writing) challenge one’s views on visual arts

Memorable stories that stood out include Gordon Huether’s path from “messed up punk” to successful artist who is known for large commissioned art installations including airports and civic buildings.  The turning point in his life was through a Foster parent who turned him on to making stained glass art pieces.  His message to the design community is to make places beautiful in ways that affect the occupants of a space.

Artist and Consultant Michelle Carnes shared her experience growing up in an immigrant family in Chicago and building her successful career as an artist.  Overcoming discrimination strengthened her resolve and she was able to sell her art to private collectors as well as galleries in Chicago, Denver and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her story has been showcased on NVC News, KUVO Jazz Radio as well in magazines.  She encourages young people to find their own form of hope and inspiration despite the odds.

Toy Inventor Michael McGinnis found success with his creation of Perplexus which was named 2013 Game of the Year by the Toy Industry Association.  He follows his passion by teaching 3D Design, Computer Graphics and Sculpture at Santa Rosa Junior College where his focus is teaching teens how to think creatively as they explore art.  He finds a huge connection between music, art and creative thinking which his students delve into with enormous enthusiasm.  He currently is a proponent of the STEAM movement which argues for adding Art and Design to the equation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Our City Center extends a huge thank you to our sponsors for the North Bay Spring Event which made possible a donation of over $2,000 to Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) and the Dream Center.

Posted in: ForumsNorth BayNewsPhilanthropy

One thought on "North Bay Spring Forum and Farm to Table Event"

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to moderate this forum, and to meet these wonderful artists and community leaders. It was a very enlightening and educational experience!!!

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