Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My blog lacks eye candy...

...so I'll post some photos from JBU soon, as well as a re-cap of my SCAD trip and some Savannah photos too! Thanks for hangin'.


Sunday, 01/27: heading out on another recruiting trip. Flying right now actually, heading east to Cincinnati then south to Savannah, GA, where Savannah College of Art and Design lives and thrives.

Rewind. Friday, 01/25: our final day at JBU.

Just finished up lunch at President and Mrs. Pollard’s house. The perfect experience to wrap up an amazing trip. Bess and I start the drive home. We’re rockin’ out to Alex’s “Make me Artsy” CD and Derek's chill mix, and for the first time in a few days, we’re not talking a mile a minute. We’re both sitting quietly, rural hills, rocky cliffs, and winding rivers rolling by, thinking about the past few days. The quiet gave me some time to figure out how to best sum up the JBU trip… Here are my thoughts.

During travel season, I’m often asked by friends and colleagues, “Where are you headed next, Erin?” Usually that question is followed by them trying to guess, “Philadelphia? Atlanta? San Jose? Sarasota?” I have to confess that nobody has ever guessed “Siloam Springs, Arkansas.” And when I told them where I was headed on my first recruiting trip of 2008, most of them responded with a facial expression that said, “Arkansas? JBWho?

I have to admit, when I first met Todd Goehner and several JBU students in March of 2007 at AIGA Kansas City’s Student Portfolio Day, I was a bit surprised myself. I had never heard of John Brown University, and I had to ask several students to repeat themselves so that I could remember what it was called and where it was located.

Arkansas… rural, southern, small (tiny), small-minded, lacking diversity, Bible belt, small towns, no towns, nothing to do, limited perspectives, religious, not at all unique, boring, never changing… All of these are ideas that people may have in their minds about a place like Arkansas, though most have never been there. It's the same thing as when people associate Kansas City with cattle sales barns and a poor baseball team, though they have never visited KC.

Though it is hard for me to admit, I know I had some of these Arkansas-stereotypes in my own mind prior to my visit (and I had only visited Siloam Springs once, and for less than 48 hours). But, isn’t it amazing how a person’s perspective can change if they invest a little time and energy into something they know nothing about?

My mind (and my heart) have changed after visiting JBU and spending time some time on the campus. Bess too, shares my perspective on this: What we found in a small city in Northwest Arkansas was far different than we ever expected.

We found passion and compassion for people. We experienced it firsthand when Jeran took us to lunch and she smiled and said hello to every person she saw; when Dave, Todd, Neal, Neil, Peter, Joel, and Charles opened up their classrooms and students to us, allowing us the opportunity to get to know so many passion-led, talented people; when Chip and Carey Pollard opened their home and their table to us on our final day, genuinely interested in hearing about our visit to JBU, asking about our experience, and hearing about the growing partnership between JBU and Hallmark.

We found creativity and talent. In the Art Building itself was an atmosphere that breathes creativity: the gallery, the classrooms, the offices, the art and quotes on the walls; In the faculty: their creativity and talent was evident, both in what they teach, and in their personal artwork or hobbies; In the students: their teachability and excitement for creative expression, their sponge-like ability to absorb everything around them; their individuality coupled with their acceptance of others who are unlike them.

We found a campus rich with diversity. We learned that most students had either lived abroad or had traveled abroad. We met students who grew up in all parts of the world as children of missionaries: Bolivia, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Russia, Germany. Most of them are bilingual. We met students who had studied abroad in England, Ireland, France, Jordan. We learned of students who come to JBU on 4-year scholarships from countries throughout South America. We learned that nearly 20% of JBU’s student body is made up of students from outside of the U.S. -- cool!

I could go on and on with this list. I'm not really sure how to sum up this blog entry, because my mind is still so full of "hard to type" thoughts, memories, and ideas. So, I'll close by saying thank you -- to all of you. For a wonderful experience, and for broadening my perspective and my creativity.

Blocked. Plain and simple. No access.

Ok, so, the hotel where I'm staying blocks their free wireless internet-users from using "social networking and personal blog sites" -- can you believe it?! I know you've been waiting for a blog entry, and the only reason I haven't posted is because of my internet drama-situation. I am also flippin' out because I haven't Facebooked since Saturday night!

So, I've been all over Savannah trying to find a free wireless connection that doesn't need a student ID and password to log on.... Good news -- I've found it! In the lobby of a different hotel than the one I'm staying at (sneaky, I know). JBU wrap-up post coming tonight, guaranteed!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

John Brown University, Part II.5

Hey friends: I'm totally lovin' it here in Siloam. Today was a jam-packed day, but again, excellent. Very tired, so no blogging tonight -- just wanted to say THANKS for being inspiring, passion-led, talented people! I will be sad to say goodbye tomorrow. Watch for the wrap-up of my JBU visit this weekend. Then I'm off to Savannah!

Oh, and keep me bookmarked: Just because I'm leaving JBU doesn't mean that I'll leave you hangin'! I'll write about my travels a bit, but will definitely keep the creative inspiration and conversation coming your way!

If you are a creative and have a pulse...

...you should check out:


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

John Brown University, Part II

Full day today at JBU -- but it was an excellent day. Here's the dl:

*5:55AM: text message from Bess "I'm not going to work out." Surprise surprise. Bess, I'm disappointed.
*6:00AM: on my way to the gym, dreading it, but interested to see the Aloha Tan diggs.
*6:05AM: made it to the gym (had to turn around twice...not because Siloam is big, but because I'm directionally challenged).
*6:55AM: realized that I'm not in very good shape. Darn. Left the gym to go take a shower. Then I felt better.
*8:00AM: met Bess for breakfast, then grabbed a coffee (we're going to try and fill an 8-drink punch card this week at City Coffee Company... I think we may end up filling two) and headed to campus.
*9:00AM: Met with sleepy class of Photo students (thanks for being attentive anyway, you guys -- I feel your pain: I had an 8:00 every day of my entire college career).
*10:00AM: Met with Mr. Andrus who helped start the creative majors at JBU -- y'all are lucky to have him. What a cool guy!
*11:00AM: Second photography class: a bit more lively this time around. Me and Bess were starving toward the end though.
*12:00PM: Lunch in "the caf" -- Now I understand how people who are interviewing at Hallmark feel when we bring them to our crazy cafeteria. Too many choices. Food overload. Grab the easiest thing, even if it's chopped liver (ok, I had a salad, not chopped liver).Thanks to the ten students who hosted our lunch -- we had a great time getting to know you all!
*1:00-1:30PM: Alex and Derrick took us on an educational tour of campus (no, there is not a man living in the historical campus cabin, but cats do live underneath it).
*1:30-3:30PM: Met w/ profs: Armstrong, Ward, Pohle. Bess and I decided that we want to go back to school (wow, can't believe I actually said that out loud...well, not really, but you know what I mean). This place is so inspiring! (P.S. Armstong gets the award for the coolest office decor. Andrus = best view. Ward = could benefit from Extreme Makeover, Office Edition).
*3:30-7:00PM: Meanwhile, back a the hotel, Put the finishing touches on our presentation for this evening.
*7:10PM: 13 pizzas arrive to Art building (thanks Heather!)
*7:30PM: Packed house, ready to roll!
*9:00PM: Presentation is a success. Thanks to ALL who came, and those who stuck around to chat more. Y'all rock.
*9:30PM: Finishing up chats with students and professors. Highlight: Bess has learned that she has eaten horse before, and Ward hasn't. Amazing!
*10:30PM: Back at hotel. Hangin with Bess, re-capping the day. We may or may not be having a few beers.Turns out, Oklahoma is only a few blocks away.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John Brown University, Part I

We made it to Siloam Springs, AR this afternoon. It was a beautiful drive! I'm going to take some pics on the way back north to post -- the cliffs and rocks and rivers are breathtaking! It's nice for this farm girl to get out of the city and into the great outdoors!

So far...

*great chat on relationships with Bess, my travel companion for the week, during the drive
*learned of Heath Ledger's death via text from our pop culture guru, Mary Beth during the drive (so sad)
*interesting chat on achieving a more "designerly look" with Bess (followed by more discussion on this topic at dinner with Todd, Heather, Neal, Neil, and Joel)
*checking into our hotel and going to see the fitness facility (which is across the street at Aloha Tan-a first for my travels!)
*a nice dinner with JBU peeps at Callahan's Steakhouse
*got an answer to our question, "Who is John Brown?"We learned that he is NOT John the Baptist nor is he a Biblical character at all, he is not to be confused with Joseph Smith, and he is actually a famous radio-evangelist who started JBU. The third generation "John" is now running the place, just like the third generation Hall is now running Hallmark...kinda cool.
*had lots of "get to know you" conversation RE: JBU culture, classes professors, our schedule for the week, and don't worry, we chatted on some "non-businessy" stuff too -- apparently Neal is "hard to control" and can only be controlled by one person, his wife; Neil is going to shave off his goatee while we're here, to complement his already bald head; Joel is Mr. Armstrong, but is Joel to we Hallmarkers; 3 out of the 7 dinner attendees are Millenials, and all of the JBU people have traveled abroad, some extensively (Trans-Siberian Railroad? and Korea? Yeah, that's extensive!).

I am working on my presentation for tomorrow night -- 7:30pm in Art 112 -- come join us!! It will be fun, and we're going to feed you and give you free stuff. I'm excited!

I'd better head to bed -- Bess and I are going to get up and head over to Aloha Tan for our 6AM workout, and then we're headed to campus. Man is it going to be nice to feel like a student again! See y'all tomorrow!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking for a cre-a-tive summer internship?

***Visit http://www.hallmarkcreativecareers.com today to learn more and to apply for one of 14 creative summer internship opportunities!***

Make your pet a birthday card superstar!

Here's the deal: You send us your cute, silly, strange, funny pet photos paired with some of your very own birthday-themed writing. Be clever, be funny, be creative... be you. We'll pick the best and print them. Then you all vote for your favorite to select the Grand Prize Winner.

This contest will give you an opportunity to do many things...Here are the reasons you should check it out:

-You get to hang out with your pet until it does something cute, silly, strange, or funny
-You get to take a photo of your pet doing something cute, silly, strange, or funny
-It's a great opportunity to collaborate with another person to come up with some "birthday-themed" writing that is cute, silly, strange, or funny (let's face it, not all designers or photographers are great writers, and vice versa)
-You could win money, which is not cute, silly, strange, or funny -- it's just really fun to win money
-You could win a trip to Kansas City where you will meet some cute, silly, strange, and funny Hallmarkers during your very own photo shoot with your pet!

and if those reasons aren't enough....

-your card will be printed and sold in 10,000 participating Hallmark stores nationwide. Now that's not cute, silly, strange or funny either -- that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (unless you end up working at Hallmark someday)!

To learn more about the contest, read contest rules and requirements, and submit your card designs, visit The Official Contest Site. Have fun!

Hit the road, Jack.

Hey friends! Been a LONG TIME since I have posted -- much has been happening since my last post, both exciting and challenging things, but all good things, even if they are hard sometimes. I'd rather not re-cap it all (and you'd probably rather not read it all), so let's start fresh.

Tomorrow I leave for the first trip of my recruiting season: John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. I won't be flying, I'll be driving along with another Hallmarker, Bess, who is a designer in Greetings (I wrote about her in my AIGA posts from late summer 07). We're basically going to hang out -- get to know students and faculty, go to some graphic design, interactive design, illustration, and photography classes, give a couple of presentations, immerse ourselves in the creative culture there. I pretty much love trips like this -- I'm very excited for our visit!

Plus, it's a heatwave there: 43 degrees Fahrenheit tomorow (compared to 10 degrees here in KC today)... I think cold weather stifles creativity. See y'all soon!