AIGA in the Fox Cities: [ INsight ] Kimberly-Clark, an INitiative Event

This Thursday, August 16, the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) will host its first Northeast Wisconsin gathering: [ INsight ] Kimberly-Clark, an INitiative Event. Amanda Blaha (pictured), AIGA Wisconsin Communications Chair and designer at Green Bay’s Paper Converting Machine Company, gives us the lowdown on the professional design association’s arrival in the Fox Cities.

FCM: Why is AIGA Wisconsin interested in expanding to Northeast WI? Why now?

AIGA, the professional association for design, is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.”

AB: AIGA Wisconsin is interested in expanding to Northeast Wisconsin because we recognize that this area has significant creative talent, and a desire to be part of a national design community. The beginning of this expansion began with both myself and Marcia Pastorius. We are both graduates of UW-Stevens Point’s Graphic Design program, and we were heavily involved with our student AIGA chapter there (the largest student chapter in the state). When we graduated and moved back to this area, we were both still AIGA members, but found it hard to attend the Milwaukee/Madison events. The events we did attend were awesome, but it was a matter of driving 2+ hours, dealing with rush hour traffic, all while still trying to make it on time. Ultimately, for a Thursday evening event, this was literally impossible, and we knew plenty of other people from Northeast WI were probably not members of AIGA for exactly the same reason.

Over a year ago as seniors at the Student Folio Review in Milwaukee, Marcia and I met Chris Klein, who was the Communications Director at the time (now AIGA Wisconsin Vice President). He was so encouraging and helpful, and before you know it we were on his Communications Committee, working on spreading the AIGA news and events via social media, emails and blog posts. We were so happy to be involved again. After we graduated though, we still had our goal to bring AIGA to the Northeast because we still weren’t able to attend the Milwaukee/Madison events as much as we would like. We knew that if we brought AIGA to the Northeast area other people would appreciate the opportunity to get involved as much as we did. Marcia and I attended an AIGA board meeting in Milwaukee one evening to pitch our idea, and they told us to run with it. So, we’re happy to say that over a year later, our goal has finally been reached, and we’re having our first-ever AIGA Wisconsin Northeast event at Kimberly-Clark in Neenah. It has taken a lot of hard work, preparation and support from everyone on the AIGA board to accomplish this goal, but the journey has been well worth it. We truly hope AIGA sticks in this area, and that people enjoy the opportunities that it can bring to the community.

FCM: What is AIGA’s affiliation with Kimberly-Clark and how did this particular event come about?

AB: Back in January, AIGA Wisconsin had the pleasure of hosting an event in Milwaukee that featured Kimberly-Clark Global Design Director Christine Mau. She is truly an inspiration to anyone who hears her speak, and that was one of the events that Marcia and I were able to attend. After seeing her presentation, we thought what better way to introduce AIGA to the Northeast than to have an event hosted by Kimberly-Clark, and hear from even more of their inspiring and talented individuals? It was also great, being that their Design Center is located in Neenah, so the planning worked out perfectly, and they were very enthusiastic to help.

FCM: Are there other Northeast Wisconsin companies that will partner with AIGA Wisconsin?

AB: We have not officially partnered with any other Northeast Wisconsin companies yet, but we hope that this first event will spark even more collaboration with companies in the area that are willing to donate their space/time/talents to better the creative community in Northeast Wisconsin.

FCM: What will AIGA Wisconsin’s creative presence in Northeast Wisconsin offer residents, businesses and professionals?

AB: AIGA Wisconsin’s creative presence will offer residents the opportunity to be actively involved in a renowned national design organization, gain insights into the industry and their community, build deeper relationships with the other creatives and expand opportunity for designers in the area.

AIGA welcomes all types of designers. Whether you work at an agency, are a freelancer or if you’re an in-house designer, AIGA has something for everyone. (See AIGA’s National Programs.) We also have developed a new membership program that allows designers to purchase membership at a much lower rate, and pick exactly how involved they’d like to be in the organization.

FCM: Are there other local events planned for the future?

AB: We plan on having about two large events, like [ INsight ] Kimberly-Clark, an INitiative Event, twice a year, with other smaller events going on once a month throughout the Fox Cities/Green Bay area.

The next event will be “Creative Connect,” a casual social gathering of creatives with the goal of networking and building connections, which will be held mid-September in Appleton.

Creative>>Connect is a social gathering for all Wisconsin area designers organized by AIGA Wisconsin. It’s an opportunity to network and spark connections with your fellow design community. Stop by after your work day and be ready for a lively evening of conversation and networking. No need for registration, just show up and mingle. Location TBD.

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