Metro State art prof and curator thinks globally, acts locally
Posted: October 11, 2007
(Denver, Colo.) —The spotlight has been following curator Lisa M. Abendroth for a while now.
Last month she debuted an exhibit at the Metropolitan State College of Denver Center for Visual Art (CVA). Last week, she opened the international student version of her exhibit at the Emmanuel Gallery on campus. This week professional designers from across the country have the chance to see what she has worked two years to develop, "Substance: Diverse Practices from the Periphery."
Both exhibits reveal how design can be a dynamic force in transforming and saving lives. Objects on display range from a toothbrush that is designed to accommodate kids' manual dexterity limitations to the ceramic water filter that makes bacterially contaminated water safe for drinking and is easily made with local materials in poor countries.
"I'm interested in how design changes lives and meets unaddressed needs, not in an idealistic way but very practically," says Abendroth, associate professor and communication design coordinator at Metro State. The 39 exhibit participants from all over the globe "think of themselves not as designers per se, but as trying to address problems through innovation and technology."
Design professionals from around the country are able to view her exhibit during the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA's) "Next" Conference being held in Denver Oct. 11-14 at the Denver Convention Center. More than 2,500 designers are attending. Founded in 1914, the association is the oldest and largest membership association for design professionals engaged in the discipline, practice and culture of designing.
Abendroth's exhibits grew out of a career that includes teaching community-based design at Metro State for seven years. In those classes, her students "pick one problem to address through design, they conduct research and worked with the affected community to understand it." Today, she has brought the world into her classroom and her classroom out into the world. "The design field is evolving so quickly, the outside work helps me stay current," adds Abendroth, who will be busy this week with a host of events.
Tonight at 6 p.m., the CVA will feature exhibit participants Patricia Moore of Moore Design Associates (designs for elderly-friendly light rail systems) and Bryan Bell of Design Corps (designs for farmworker housing programs.) On Friday evening, the CVA and Emmanuel Gallery will partner with AIGA "Next" for gala receptions. It doesn't appear that the spotlight for Abendroth's work will fade anytime soon.
About Metropolitan State College of Denver
Metro State is a fully-accredited, four-year institution, serving more than 21,000 students. It has the second-largest undergraduate enrollment in Colorado and is one of the largest four-year public colleges in the nation. Metro State enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 60,000 alumni, 90 percent of whom stay in Colorado after graduation. Visit Metro State at www.mscd.edu.