Testimonial: Heather Olson, design community member

Like so many of my design community peers, I am devastated to learn of the planned closing of the College of Visual Arts. During a multi-year professional partnership with CVA, I helped to strategize and promote the successful CVA Leaders of Design Series. During that time I developed a fondness for the organization, as well as recognition of the outstanding design education offered by the school’s Graphic Design Chair/AIGA Fellow, John DuFresne; the superior gallery exhibition work by Rosemary Kimball; the well-organized marketing campaigns of Demeri Mullikin; the persistent recruiting and admissions efforts of Elyan Paz; and the co-curation of traveling exhibitions by adjunct faculty member Kolean Pitner.

As a talent recruiter for my current employer, Franke+Fiorella, and a regular portfolio reviewer for AIGA Minnesota’s annual Portfolio 1-on-1, I am continually impressed with the high quality of portfolios emanating from the College of Visual Arts. The alumni of the program have gone on to land positions in top studios and in-house settings, as well as starting their own businesses to grow and expand our design community. In fact, Franke+Fiorella chose 2012 CVA graduate Kellie Schneider to receive the Franke+Fiorella scholarship based on her portfolio.

As local design leader Tim Larsen has said on numerous occasions, CVA is critical to the “three-legged stool” of design education offerings in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Without CVA, the design education community will topple. We need CVA’s unique, individualized program that addresses the needs of remarkably gifted creative students.

I support the efforts of CVA Action to see how we might revive the program—rather than suspend it. The long history of this art and design institution indicates it has been able to weather many a financial downturn, and I have to believe we can pull it through again in 2013!