University of Oregon

Department of Product Design

NEA awards $20,000 grant to UO for product design workshops

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded an Art Works grant of $20,000 to the UO’s Department of Product Design for “Unparalleled Oregon Product Design,” a week-long series of free educational workshops, lectures, and exhibitions in uniquely Oregonian design.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this support from the NEA to open up the extremely fun, creative, and technical world of product design to more people, [from novice to professional],” said Kiersten Muenchinger, department head of Product Design. “We aim to actively engage people in making life more livable, functional, and beautiful, and our powerful local community in sports product design helps us do exactly that.”

To celebrate this inaugural year of UO’s master’s degree program in sports product design, the “Unparalleled” events focus on the skills, history, and future of Oregon sports products. All events will take place in the White Stag Building, the UO’s downtown Portland facility.

The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Garrett Tollette finesses his concept for an athletic shoe
Above: Garrett Tollette, UO sports product design major, finesses his concept for an athletic shoe in his studio at the UO in Portland campus. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded an Art Works grant of $20,000 to the UO Department of Product Design for a week-long series of free educational workshops, lectures, and exhibitions this April in Portland.

“Unparalleled” kicks off April 11 with an exhibition in White Box Gallery, open 12-6 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Workshops run April 22-28 and include “extreme footwear” drawing, the future of smart wearables, and a sports product trivia night.

Those ages 18 and under may attend free of charge, as can adults who accompany them. Watch for the schedule on calendars for both the University of Oregon and Design Week Portland to reserve tickets.

NEA Chair Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.

“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as product design at UO, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” Chu said. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”

More information on projects included in the grant announcement

From left, Brittany Lang (BS ’16, product design), Associate Professor Susan Sokolowski, and product design student Austin Christianson discuss materials for a design.
Above: From left, Brittany Lang (BS ’16, product design), Associate Professor Susan Sokolowski, and product design student Austin Christianson discuss materials for a design.