April 20, 2017 at 10:15am
Dane Lisser

Window of Opportunity

The large library windows of Dennis Lab School in Decatur have seen some changes this spring. Earlier this April, artwork designed by Millikin University visual media students was installed on the library windows. The design reflects Dennis Lab School and the school's impact on the community.

Last fall, Millikin visual media students collaborated with the Dennis Student Council to design artwork for the library windows seen east of the facilities monarch wing at Dennis Lab School.

Dennis Lab School Window

Teams of students from Millikin's Computer Art and Design course, led by Jessa Wilcoxen, educator of digital media, presented their designs at Dennis Lab School on Nov. 22. The selected design was created by the team of Aryana Johnson, a junior studio art major from Maywood, Ill., and Francisco Gama, a junior graphic design major from Aurora, Ill.

"We put in a lot of time and thought on the design and it came out great," said Gama. "We wanted to implement specific things that had to do with Dennis and the way they think about their school."

Dennis Lab School Window

As part of the project, Millikin student teams met with Dennis students to talk about what they do inside the classroom, outside the classroom, and how they partner with the community and Millikin in different ways. Some of the window artwork designs included highlights of the Decatur west end community and butterfly themes. Johnson and Gama's design featured a space theme.

"The idea of space relates to the idea of infinity in terms of their learning – boundless and a place of adventure," said Gama. "There's a lot of symbolism we threw into the project. There are symbols of music, art, science, math and technology and I'm glad our message came across visually."

Dennis Lab School Windows

The students had three weeks to create the initial designs and proposals for their presentations on Nov. 22. Millikin University alumni Robert Burtnett '99, Brady Rhoades '09 and Francine Moyer '01 were in attendance to provide feedback on the proposals.

"What I think the students got out of the project is the sense of creating a concept as a team, and pitching something to a client in a short amount of time," said Wilcoxen. "This is what we try to do with Arts Technology at Millikin and that is often work with clients in the classroom and help the students develop their portfolios."  

Dennis Lab School Windows

The Dennis Millikin Partnership worked with Pepsi Refreshment Services to co-op the cost of printing and applying the vinyl shades to the Dennis Library windows.

Aryana Johnson noted, "It's great to see it come to life and see how large it really is."

Millikin Arts Technology

Dennis Millikin Partnership

The Dennis Millikin Partnership is established on the synergy between Performance Learning (Millikin) and Project-Based Learning (Dennis). This approach allows collaborative proposals, such as the library window artwork, to flourish. This unique parallel is possible though the flexibility of time and resources through which the partnership humbly attributes its many successes. The partnership positively impacts students from both campuses in real world application that continues to progress their social, post-secondary education and career-ready development.

For more information about the Dennis Millikin Partnership, visit dennislablink.com.