Design is integral to our modern world. It makes up the skyline of a city, the layout of our kitchens, the clothes we wear, and the packaging of the food we eat. Design is also the arrangement of public transportation and the invention of new ways to serve those who are without a home. Yet, even with the understanding of its importance, there is still a great financial roadblock for most who wish to become designers and artists.
Thus, for the second year in a row, Gucci Changemakers brings a highlight to 2020’s end with two scholarships for North American design-focused students. Both scholarships are based heavily on the applicant’s unmet financial need as well as diversity.
As one of the 12 Gucci Changemakers cities, Detroit’s students will be given special consideration for the Gucci Changemakers Scholars scholarship. Student’s involvement with design is at the forefront of qualification, but students involved in marketing, film, communications, merchandising, art, fashion law, and other fashion-related fields are also highly qualified.
To Gucci Changemakers, in light of these scholarships, the solidification of diversity is a must. This means that diversity will play a major role in the decision of recipients. Other qualifications for the Gucci Changemakers Scholars scholarship includes students who are either high school seniors, attending an accredited two-year community college program, or currently enrolled or attending an accredited four-year college or university.
As for the other scholarship Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholars by Design program, there will only be one recipient. To help further diversity in the field of design, one woman of color or a person who identifies as a woman, entering her senior year of design school will be chosen. Beyond these criteria, the award will also be based on financial need, professional potential, and talent.
For Kiana Wenzell, the director of culture and community at Design Core in Detroit, the belief that these scholarships go
beyond financial influence is strong. “It will impact students most by giving them hope!” she says. “And letting them know that people care about them and believe in them.” Design core is one of the recipients of the Gucci Changemakers Impact Fund and has worked to share information about these scholarships with the College for Creative Studies.
Wenzell discusses the importance of a strong foundation backing up those in creative schooling, “Design students need constant financial, emotional, and academic support from family, friends, professors, counselors, funders, and beyond, throughout their educational journey. Scholarships are just one portion of a much larger picture and formula for success.”
She continues, highlighting this fact, “Beyond scholarships, students need support meeting industry professionals, [and] gaining access to internships or job experience.” This means that those already progressed in the design field must be willing to extend a hand to those still in their early days.
There is great importance as well, for designers of any age or career, to have access to machinery, equipment, and studio space to bring their designs to life. Though scholarships rarely cover such external costs, places such as 555 Arts, a non-profit 501(c)3, help by offering inexpensive housing, studio space, and workshops for artists and designers.
To those in the design field such as Wenzell, the importance of helping the next generation is as integral as design itself. Thus, along with doing all she can for her community through Design Core, Wenzell offers up her hopes, “For Detroit designers, my hope is that they acknowledge and see the power that design has to manifest positive change in their communities, city, and the world. Good design is scalable and has the power to improve the quality of life for generations.”