In the shadows of the Detroit Institute of Arts sits one of the most revered art colleges in the country. The College for Creative Studies has launched the careers of a mass of exceptional artistic talents across a multitude of mediums and industries. Evolving with the ever-changing innovative landscape of our city, the college is poised to take its place as one of the leading art schools – not only in North America, but across the globe.
DII: Why do you feel there is a larger role internationally for CCS and its students?
SC: Art and Design have been champions and play an important role in any society. Detroit is once again becoming a land of opportunity for Americans. By connecting CCS to global schools and industries, we can position our graduates with access to the world and emerging industries. We have already partnered with schools in Germany, Austria, Japan, China, and India. Within the next 3-5 years we expect to be highly visible globally.
DII: Why has this not happened until now?
SC: The school’s past perception because of its location in the city of Detroit. In the past, we have done a wonderful job of educating people on what we do in design, but haven’t gone beyond to show our achievements as a comprehensive art and design school. Whenever I travel, I spend a great deal of time trying to fix that. People say “Detroit” and think only automobiles and factories. They forget that when Henry Ford started in automation, there was lots of innovation built into that. Detroit leads the world of innovation more than any other part of the country. So many things were born here. So much creativity.
DII: What do you think makes CCS an important player globally?
SC: Our job placement rate is one of the best in the country. LinkedIn ranked us in the top 3 in the country of the 25 Best Design Schools. Our students are not only learning how to make things look good but also how to make things work. There are outstanding connections between CCS, corporations, and industry.
DII: How have those connections manifested into opportunities for students?
SC: Our students’ projects deal with real world problems and solving them. For example, Henry Ford Hospital approached CCS a few years ago and asked students to come to the hospital and find problems and solutions within the hospital. One was the hospital gowns. Our student was hired to work with the largest hospital gown manufacturer to re-design the gowns. From the fine arts side, the Ilitch Foundation asked our students to represent Detroit and the sports community through sculpture designs. The Foundation was overwhelmed with the creativity and chose several designs to produce this past summer.
DII: What does this kind of creative spirit do to further impact the city of Detroit’s reputation globally?
SC: Design is playing an integral role in the revitalization of Detroit and will play an even more integral role in the future. As many people know, Detroit is the only United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) City of Design in North America. There are a number of cities of design around the world, and this network will make the city much more visible globally. This will bring attention to our quality of life here, the developing new culture in the city. CCS is at the center of it all both literally and figuratively. Our students and graduates will play a major role in the continued economic development of innovation in the city, and Detroit will become much more visible for it.