Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman and Local Non-Profits Discuss Design and Public Service with ILIS Students

By: Dan Hanners | Graphic Design Faculty, The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg

March 16, 2018

Rep Michelle Mussman
[Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman discusses design and public service with over 120 students and faculty at The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg. Photo Credit: JaNae Contag, Faculty in Photography]

The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg recently hosted Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman and three local non-for-profit organizations for an engaging discussion about design and public service, held in the Walter Storyk Design Group based audio studio on our campus.

Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman of the 56th District, a former graphic designer now state representative, discussed her journey from creative to public service. 

“Design is critical because design is communication. And that’s what we all need with each other. We need to be able to communicate ideas, and make them presentable in a way that we can recognize them and understand them,” according to Rep. Mussman. 

In reference to design working in collaboration with public services, Rep. Mussman spoke to the need for design to aid in getting the core idea and service an organization provides out to the public.

Rep. Mussman also stressed the excitement of The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg becoming a non-profit organization in the 56th Ward.

“Engage in your community in a creative way…it’s just the beginning!” she stated.

Rep Michelle Mussman
[The event was recorded with high-production audio by Ryan Black, Academic Chair of the School of Media in the Walter Storyk Design Group-based audio studio, as well as filmed by recent alum, Michelle Salgado, BFA in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, 2017. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

Students asked thoughtful questions regarding challenges Rep. Mussman faced as a creative professional, the creative challenges she still faces in public service, and asked her advice on finding professional opportunities that merge design practice with other fields. 

One student asked, “As designers, we all have our struggles. What’s one self-motivator you have to keep moving on?”

Rep. Mussman replied, “I think as designers, we all have these specific moments or feelings while we are drawing, or that feeling when making the design, and it becomes that reminder that it’s all coming together - you can do this, and you are enjoying the process. As a Representative, it’s the people in my district that motivate me. I meet residents that I really connect with that need help. You find the people who are those important touchstones that make you go, ‘yes, that’s why I am doing this job, I have this small success, and I’m feeling good about this. I can do this.’ You keep sticking with it, and getting back to that moment.”

The Illinois Institute of Art Schaumburg
[Students and faculty filled the audio studio before the event. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

The Illinois Institute of Art Schaumburg
[Students from multiple programs attended the event. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

Immediately following the representative’s presentation was a panel discussion featuring three local non-for-profit organizations working within public health, substance abuse prevention in youth, people experiencing homelessness and a local Native American cultural arts gallery. Panelists included Cristy Harris, from Housing Forward, Entry Point, Sherrine Peyton, Kenneth Young Center, Coalition for Positive Youth Development, North Suburban Community Network, and Joe Podlasek, Trickster Art Gallery, Coalition for Positive Youth Development. 

Harris Peyton Podlasek
[Panelists Cristy Harris, Sherrine Peyton, and Joe Podlasek, along with Rep. Mussman answered student questions as local non-profits. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

Dan Hanners George Bessett
[George Bessett, General Education Coordinator at ILIS, moderated the panel discussion with local non-profits. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

Mussman Harris
[Panelists Rep. Michelle Mussman and Cristy Harris from Housing Forward. Photo Credit:  JaNae Contag]

What followed was a lively discussion, fueled by student questions, about the value of interning with local non-profits, the impact that these organizations have on the local community, and the ways in which student artists and young creative professionals can contribute to the benefits of these organizations in the community.

ILIS Faculty in Graphic Design, Dan Hanners, moderated questions from students after Rep. Mussman’s presentation, and ILIS General Education Coordinator George Bessett introduced and moderated the panel discussion that followed.

Dan Hanners
[Dan Hanners, Faculty in Graphic Design, moderated the conversation with Rep. Mussman. Photo Credit: JaNae Contag]

Many students lingered to meet and greet our visitors, exchange ideas, and carry the conversation.

This event assisted in contributing to the ongoing conversation on how our college campus can support organizations in our local non-for-profit community. Students learned about using their voice in local civic engagements, service learning opportunities within the local community, and tips about professionalism from leaders in the public service industry. Over 120 students, staff, and faculty members attended the event and participated in the Q&A session that followed.

Mussman Peyton Podlasek Harris
[Left to Right: Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman, Cristy Harris from Housing Forward, Sherrine Peyton from The Kenneth Young Center and Coalition for Positive Youth Development, and Joe Podlasek from Trickster Gallery. Photo Credit: JaNae Contag]

You can learn more about each visiting organization through the links provided:

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By: Dan Hanners | Graphic Design Faculty, The Illinois Institute of Art—Schaumburg

March 16, 2018

Community Service collaboration