Agatha Tutia
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Chalkboard Project with The Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley

During my one semester stint as an officer for The Design Group, I volunteered to coordinate a chalkboard project with The Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley. After visiting the museum and taking measurements of the wall (about 12' x 12' to work with) and thinking it would only take a day or two to complete, I naively began planning what would become a months long project.

Part I - Planning

I created a chalkboard brief for Jabot' Colvin, the Executive Director, to look at four suggested solutions for their blank space. Prior to the brief, Jabot' had addressed the needs of the museum. One of their main concerns was that they wanted to contain the drawings and easily clean the boards. They also wanted something that was fun and could bring color into the museum. That said, we both agreed going with the "Art Exhibit" solution was the best along with the "Illustrative Quote - Chalked."

 Mock Up #1

Mock Up #1

 Mock Up #2

Mock Up #2

 Mock Up #3

Mock Up #3

 Final Design

Final Design

Now that we decided what route to go, the mocks focused on different variations of the placement of the frames. There would be one main frame above the others for the illustrative quote while the minor frames were purposed for the children to draw their own works of art. After some consultation with the board, Mock Up #1 was chosen to go ahead.

With a layout decided, I finalized the design, bought the paint and supplies, and set up a paint day. So far everything went according to plan.

Part II - Painting

The plan went AWOL on April 17th.

I had forgotten about the sink taking about 3 feet from the final design so part of it was now useless, I had bought yellow paint forgetting that the wall was yellow, the walls were popcorned meaning that paint could bleed past straight taped lines, and turns out, it's really difficult to paint perfect circles. We attempted to use the projector to help us trace, but there was a huge column directly in the way of a proper screening. I felt like I was drowning, I felt ill-prepared, I felt like the first one sent home from a rose ceremony (and NO ONE wants to be THAT person). 

But despite these setbacks, I knew the only way out was forward so I adjusted the design, said goodbye to circles, cried a little inside, worked with rulers to measure out the frames, painted the frames, and called it a day.

 Painting began on April 17

Painting began on April 17

 Lower frames completed

Lower frames completed

 Design completed on May 25

Design completed on May 25

Six paint days later into the summer, we had finished painting in the chalkboards of the lower frames, cleaning up edges, and painting the main frame above. May 25th concluded my career as a painter.

The main lesson learned here was that there's a good chance that the plan probably won't work, but to listen to others and evaluate what the new plan is critical to being a designer. If I had more manpower and time and popcorn-less walls, you bet I would do things differently, but sometimes, you have to work with what you got and I believe I did my best and I'm really proud.

Part III - Chalking

After finishing my internship with Zappos and getting back to habit of college, I commenced the final phase of the project on September 19th: Chalking.

The design I had lettered ended up forever lost in the midst of packing and moving throughout the summer so I ended up lettering a new design for the quote from Kid President. Luckily, I still had my inspiration in my handy dandy notebook to guide me.

 Inspiration and initial sketches

Inspiration and initial sketches

 Kept the top and bottom styles

Kept the top and bottom styles

 Redid the sandwiched text

Redid the sandwiched text

After a couple sketches, I chalked it out and chalked it out and chalked out, and yeah, she chalked it out. Man, that was bad, my apologies. While surviving my last semester of college, I finally finished with a pretty awesome piece.

 Laying out the law

Laying out the law

 Fixed that dreadful C

Fixed that dreadful C

 Oh, wow, it's coming together

Oh, wow, it's coming together

 And she's done!

And she's done!

The chalking part was probably the most fun had throughout the entirety of the project. In fact it was the main reason why I wanted to tackle this project. But it was also for the children. I knew I couldn't use cursive since kids within that age range can't read cursive so I decided to use a variety of fun, interesting, and playful types. My favorite part was writing out "CREATE" as that was the word I wanted emphasize the most. It also reminded the importance of typography and how curves and angles bring out the personality of each character. This was quite humbling to say the least in my multiple attempts on the "C."

Final Thoughts

I did this. I actually did this. Seriously, this could have been my Girl Scout Gold Award Project. No fancy pin, but I am so incredibly proud that I had the opportunity to plan a project like this from beginning to end. Well, almost, I still need to paint "Sponsored by The Design Group" next to the frames, BUT it's basically done. I learned a lot about planning, communicating, and following through with your word. I made a commitment in March that has come to fruition about seven months later. Like MORE THAN HALF A YEAR. WHAT?

Anyways, I would like to thank Donna Hajash for guiding me through this process and keeping tabs on me as well as all those who helped painted. Thank you a million! Now it's up to the kiddos to "create something that will make the world awesome!"

 

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