Making Magic with MICA

This spring and summer, 826DC partnered with the famed Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) on three sensational projects.

Recognizing the possibilities of our combined creativity, 826DC joined forces with the GD5037 Graphic Design Illustration Collaborative Studio course.

Together, we…

Created a Series of Student Portraits

In a typical year, 826DC would have brought a local photographer to our Young Authors’ Book Project school partner to take the students’ official author photos. This was, however, no typical year.

To keep everyone safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, 826DC changed things up this time. Students and their families submitted their own author photos, taken in the comfort of their homes and neighborhoods! Artist Alyssa Liles-Amponsah used those photos to create the author portraits in “Sometimes I Have to be Brave.”

The MICA course then used a subset of those photos to create a second, complementary set of portraits, some of which are included below, each in their own distinct artistic style.

Reimagined Delicious Havoc

The class also dove into a high-concept hypothetical redesign of one of our best-selling student books, the currently sold-out “Delicious Havoc.”

Each of the MICA students took the 826DC students’ work seriously; one artist to another.

Transformed 826DC’s Bookbinding Studio

Lastly, the MICA artists also put together mural concepts for our bookbinding studio! Each design concept was unique, yet also aligned with the existing look, feel, and function of the space.

826DC loved Satwik Gade’s design so much that we ended up hiring him to paint it on our walls!

  • Painted figures look down at papers flying out of the printer below! This is the mural design proposed by artist Satwik Gade.

We can’t wait for our students and student families to see the mural when we return to in-person programming.

A Perfect Creative Pairing

“We found so much value in partnering with 826DC this semester,” said Sandra Maxa, Director of the Graphic Design MA program. “The energy and time that 826DC staff, as well as our students at MICA brought to the projects resulted in magical, relevant and unique work for our students to share in their portfolios and for 826DC to use promoting young authors.”

“As educators,” she added, “Rebecca Bradley and I were also grateful for 826DC’s help in framing projects with reasonable constraints, imaginative content and the freedom to work with wild ideas.”

Zachary Clark, 826DC’s Executive Director, was also enthusiastic about what we accomplished together.

“I’m so proud of the genuine partnership that developed between MICA and 826DC through this project,” he said. “It was a thrill to see students’—both current and former—words and images rendered with such vision and respect. What emerged from this semester is a testament to the power of youth writing and the ability of the visual arts to amplify these words in new and vivid ways.”

“It was such an absolute pleasure to see the MICA students take on the work by our young authors with such respect, integrity, joy, and creativity,” said Andrea Nelson, 826DC’s Director of Education. “It is the same energy our students bring to the work and to see it matched by this group of professionals at MICA was a dream.”

Magical, indeed!