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Lawrence Tech students display design projects in downtown Detroit

Release Date: April 11, 2011

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The thesis projects of 15 design students at Lawrence Technological University will be exhibited April 15 through May 15 at Studio Couture Detroit, 1433 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit.

The student work ranges from a website for new methods of music distribution to packaging that evaluates sustainability. One student explores children’s furniture while another looks at e-textbooks.  These are the final art pieces of seniors who are graduating in May with bachelor’s degrees in graphic design and digital arts.

The show, “The Designed Class of 2011,” will open Friday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m.  The show hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday until May 15.

Professor Steven Rost, director of the graphic design and digital arts programs at Lawrence Tech, said that for the past three years the focus of the senior thesis projects has been social practice in design.

“What is evident when looking at the senior projects of our graphic design and digital arts students is the depth of inquiry as a result of a full year of thesis study. The projects reflect their individuality in design and could signal their career trajectory,” Rost said.

Taking those projects out of an academic setting and offering the public a glance into Lawrence Tech’s design studio “supports the goals and objectives of our design programs,” according to Rost.

Creating the display space was part of the process for a thesis class taught by Assistant Professor Peter Beaugard. The students used kickstarter.com, a website that allows individuals to raise money for arts-oriented projects, to obtain 37 pledges and raise $2,095 within a month. The funds went to renting, promoting, prepping and refurbishing the display space.

Beaugard and Adjunct Instructor Blake Almstead, a creative director at Compuware, founded the gallery in a vacant storefront that used to be a designer jeans shop. They decided to recycle both the store’s name and setup. The grand opening was held in March.

Studio Couture Detroit is a multi-purpose arts incubator space with a gallery, student-directed design studio and community arts space. Its mission is to use art and design methodologies to promote community building and urban renewal.  The space creates entrepreneurial opportunities and demonstrates the theory and practice of art and design through lectures, panel discussions and workshops.  Lawrence Tech provides financial support.

For more information, visit www.thedesignedclass.com or www.studiocouturedetroit.org .

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey, Traverse City and Toronto. Lawrence Tech also partners with universities in Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.