DVC students ‘Inspire’ with Oakland art challenge

Regina Ortanez, Arts & features editor

Two of DVC’s own digital media students were winners in a design challenge presented by the non-profit Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, better known as Oakland Digital.

Inspire Oakland is in it’s fourth year of being Oakland Digital’s “workforce development program that provides professional development for community college and state-level students pursuing a career in the competitive graphic design job market,” as cited by Oakland Digital’s official website.

Shaun Tai, founder and executive director of Oakland Digital, spoke on how this challenge is more than a contest, “it’s about professional opportunities in the design world.” He said this program aimed to supplement what DVC graphic design instructors taught by, “bridging the opportunity divide.”

Among the colleges in participation are Laney College, California State University East Bay, McClymonds, and Berkeley City College.

Each year, students are asked to create a billboard design that relays the question, “What about your city inspires you?”

Alexis Bratton, 18, was a grand prize winner in Inspire Oakland, described as, “a collaborative billboard design program,” organized by Oakland Digital who partnered with the City of Oakland, Oakland Museum, Twitter and many more for this challenge.

Her design will be featured on multiple commercial billboards throughout Oakland and East Bay, according to the press release.

As a first time graphic design student in her first semester at DVC, Bratton spoke on how her recent achievements has helped her in setting her career and academic goals.

“I was not sure what I wanted to major in beforehand, but the Inspire Oakland design challenge has definitely encouraged me to pursue graphic design as a career,” Bratton said. “Overall, Inspire Oakland has been a great opportunity to start building a portfolio and to develop as a designer,” she said. “My design is inspired by the unity of the people of Oakland, which I believe is the key to the city’s prosperity.”

First place winner Andrew Warren will also have his design showcased on a billboard in Oakland, as well as being featured as the current cover image of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s Facebook, having been hand-selected by the mayor beforehand.

Warren, 21, says he is actively in pursuit of an AA in Art Digital Media-Digital Imaging. Of his accomplishments with the Inspire Oakland challenge, he spoke on what motivated him to participate.
“My motivation behind the contest started from when it was announced in class by Oakland Digital founder Shaun Tai,” he said. “His passion for the project and the huge opportunity of possibly having a billboard of my design make thousands of positive impressions a day really drove my desire to be one of the Inspire Oakland winning designers.”

As a part of the Inspire Oakland program, Oakland digital also brought several DVC students to a site visit of the Clorox Company to meet with the head creative director of their large design department, as well as awarded paid internships to several of these DVC graphic design students.

“I’m excited and honored that DVC has been a part of Inspire Oakland since the beginning,” said Tai.

To view the winning designs and for more information about Oakland Digital, visit www.odalc.org.