Year in Review: 2017

Year in Review: 2017

Looking back at the past year we have a lot to reflect on. As you know, 2017 was the inaugural year for AIGA Northwest Arkansas. We are the 72nd chapter in a national network of design advocacy that began over 100 years ago. Thanks to the hard work of a very dedicated group of volunteers and great participation from our community, our first year was a success and fueled ambitious plans for next year’s programming. As we look forward to 2018, here’s a recap of some of what AIGA Northwest Arkansas accomplished this year.

Cheers to a New Chapter!

To build awareness and excitement about AIGA Northwest Arkansas, we kicked things off in January with our Cheers to a New Chapter events, hosted at Apple Blossom in Fayetteville and Undercroft in Bentonville. Attendance at both of these events exceeded our expectations and confirmed the design community’s interest in AIGA.

Rise: Elevating Women by Design

In March, we presented a Women Lead roundtable event along with members and strategic partners, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Organized as a part of the national AIGA’s Women Lead initiative, our event staged great conversations lead by some of Northwest Arkansas’ most noted female business leaders.

UARK Graphic Design Presents Paula Scher

The University of Arkansas, in partnership with AIGA Northwest Arkansas, invited the amazing Paula Scher to speak in April. The poster sales from this event raised scholarship money for design students, distributed as student group grant funds for newly-formed AIGA student chapters in the 2017–2018 academic year.

Under Review

Fulfilling our chapter’s annual obligation to the national AIGA to host a student portfolio review, in May we presented Under Review at Record in Bentonville. This sold out event provided an opportunity for area design students to have their work reviewed by a panel of working design professionals. 50+ design professionals and 50 students from four area universities came together to make this one of our most popular events of 2017.

Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production

This summer, we screened Briar Levit’s documentary Graphic Means in partnership with our friends and members at John Brown University. This nostalgic showcase of design technology and processes over the past century was entertaining and informative, and the first of many AIGA movie nights to come.

Repaint Hate at BBBBQ

In partnership with area non-profit Repaint Hate, AIGA members contributed thought-provoking designs for yard signs and t-shirts—promoting diversity and inclusion during Bikes Blues & Barbecue. Our collaboration with Repaint Hate was one of our first answers to AIGA’s mission to make design a vital cultural force and will not be the last.

Thrive: A Story of Design in the Delta

This fall we hosted leaders from Thrive Center of Helena to speak to our audience on the power of design to impact a community. A truly great example of design for good, Thrive inspired us all with their story.

Recurring Programming

Not wanting to leave any gaps in the event schedule for 2017, we introduced our Grounds for Discussion coffee meetups and Design Drinking happy hour events. Four of each were presented over the course of the year featuring a variety of speakers and topics. These proved to be some of our most popular events.

Membership Activities

In an effort to add a little pure fun to the mix, we coordinated two membership-focused activities this year: our Mug Swap in the fall and Secret Santa + Holiday Party in the winter. Few things build camaraderie better than the sight of fellow AIGA members in ugly Christmas sweaters!

AIGA University of Arkansas

This fall, we also celebrated the formation of our student chapter, AIGA University of Arkansas. This is the first student chapter in our area and we’re incredibly proud of their efforts and hoping more are in the works.

AIGA Leadership Retreat

Three members of our board of directors attended the AIGA National Leadership Retreat in Dallas and made a presentation introducing the Northwest Arkansas chapter to the national AIGA family. The connections made there were invaluable

Town Hall

Finally, and perhaps even most importantly, we held our first AIGA Town Hall event inviting our members and others in the design community to provide feedback on our first year, and offer their ideas for future programming. Input from this meeting was analyzed and reviewed at our annual board retreat, playing a vital role in designing our 2018 programming!

None of this would be possible without the involvement of the creative community and the aid of our sponsors. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together and our second year is looking even brighter! Click here for our full 2018 programming outline.


By AIGA NWA Communications
Published December 31, 2017