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Goodbye SoCa Day, hello ComArts Conversations

Updated: Oct 10, 2022

Jessie McGuire (R) discusses her journey to becoming Managing Director of brand design studio ThoughtMatter with Program Chair of Graphic Design Ken Calhoun on Tuesday, March 8 in Yamawaki Auditorium. Photo By Bailey Klingaman

Previously known as SoCa Day, The School of Communication & the Arts hosts a series of lectures annually for students to attend. Now, it’s been rebranded as ComArts Conversations. This year, the lectures run on Tuesdays from March 1 through April 12 and focus on a combination of communications and design.

Organized by the Chair of the Graphic Design Program and Associate Professor, Ken Calhoun, there are still two talks available to attend.

ComArts Conversations are available to students outside of the School of Communications & the Arts. Calhoun expressed these lectures offer bridges between majors and schools.

Free Design Tools for the Non-Designer

Catrina Gardner (‘14), returns to Lasell as a Communications Manager at Vision Advertising on April 5 from 5 to 6 p.m. at Arnow Campus Center. Gardner will show students options for graphic design pursuits outside of the Adobe Creative Cloud in template-based systems.

Social Media Storytelling Panel

Emily Crume, Director of Strategy for Social Media Examiner; Lauren Prociv, Vice President and Strategic Planning Director at Martin Agency; and Raj Rawal, Content Lead at Tastemade will be hosting a panel on April 12 from 5 to 6 p.m. via Zoom. They will share their expertise in combining visual design and communication through social media platforms.

When asked what he hoped students would gain out of these last lectures, Calhoun said, “why not show people you can make attractive visual communications without having a deep knowledge of photoshop.”

“For designers, this is taking jobs, so what I think the graphic designers need to understand is how they are not going to be easily replaced. Embrace skills that are their own, and cannot be replaced by a template-based system,” said Calhoun.

Events hosted prior to Spring Break included two guest speakers, Nneka Enurah at Amazon Ads and Jessie McGuire from the brand design company ThoughtMatter. Each shared their experience in the marketing field as well as tips and tricks for students starting their post-graduation job search.

An alumni panel was featured after McGuire’s talk, where nine alumni spoke about their experiences at and after Lasell. The alumni panel was moderated by Associate Professor of Journalism Marie Franklin, Assistant Professor of Art and Graphic Design Deborah Baldizar, senior Taylor Viles, and senior Anna King. A reception was held afterward to allow students to connect with the alums.

Jared Guirleo (‘21) speaks at the Life After Lasell alumni panel alongside Kierstan Hywell (‘19), Jenna Mucci (‘16), and senior Anna King in the Yamawaki Auditorium on March 8. Photo by Bailey Klingaman

The most recent event was held on March 22 by Lisa Marie Russo. Russo is currently an Executive Producer and Independent Filmmaker and discussed the ins and outs of producing.

Recordings of previous talks are still in the editing process but will be uploaded to the Symposium website at a later date. Enurah and Russo’s Zoom calls have both been recorded by Calhoun and can be made available upon request.

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