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VPA students collaborate with Cayuga Nature Center to promote local history
VPA students collaborate with Cayuga Nature Center to promote local historyApril 13, 2007Erica Blustesblust@syr.edu
Communications design students and museum studies students in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) are using their design skills to help the Cayuga Nature Center in Ithaca educate the public about the center’s history as a tuberculosis preventorium and the center’s connections to the Cayuga Indian Nation.
Junior communications design students in the design project management class taught by associate professors Roderick Martinez and William Padgett, along with graduate museum studies students in the practicum class taught by adjunct professor Bradley Hudson, collaborated on the semester-long, interdisciplinary project. The students created two sets of models of exhibition design proposals for two rooms in the center, which they will present to Doug Weeks, executive director of the Cayuga Nature Center. One set of models details the topic of tuberculosis, sanitariums and preventoriums, while the other addresses the history of the Cayuga Indian Nation.
A public exhibition of the design models and a reception will be held on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of The Warehouse, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse. Parking is available in areas adjacent to The Warehouse.
As part of the real-world instructional component of the design project management class, students considered themselves a design firm, with their faculty as CEOs.
“The students treated the Cayuga Nature Center as a real client,” says Martinez. “We had the same meetings with the center that a real firm would have. We also brought sophomore communications design students in as consultants on the marketing of the exhibition.”
“This interdisciplinary design project not only gave us a chance to work with a client, companies and students outside of our major, it allowed us to practice our communication and management skills, as well as our marketing and event planning skills,” says Aimee LoDuca, a junior communications design major. “The project gave us a taste of design in the real world; working with strict time, material and dimension restrictions; and having high expectations for the final products.”
The Cayuga Nature Center was originally established as the Cayuga Preventorium in the early 20th century, when it was believed that tuberculosis could be prevented if children exposed to the disease were placed in fresh-air camps. Beginning in the 1930s, when tuberculosis was no longer a threat, the center was used for other purposes, including outdoor education, cardiac clinics and day camps, and as a conference center. In 1975, it became the Cayuga Nature Center. Today, it offers environmental education to local school districts and the rental of its facilities for groups.
For more information about the project, contact LoDuca at (315) 480-9625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.