GVSU teams with local and international youth for Animation Collaboration

Multiple Grand Valley State University faculty members and students will debut “Animation Collaboration” — an animated video celebrating children’s animation around the world — in the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) gallery at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

“It’s an intergenerational collaboration between artists, educators, students and both local and international organizations,” said Deanna Morse, animator and Grand Valley emerita professor of film and video.

Along with Morse, Suzanne Zack, Grand Valley film and video professor; Maggie Annerino, Grand Valley media studies professor; Gretchen Vinnedge, Community Media Center (CMC) education director; and Lynn McKeown, CMC Education project coordinator, as well as multiple Grand Valley students, were also a part of the local team behind “Animation Collaboration.”

The video is a byproduct of 19 animation workshops held around the world each year by the Association International du film d’Animation (ASIFA) in 15 different countries, including Belgium, China, Croatia, France, Japan and Ukraine. During these workshops young people build animations to a common theme. The short films are then compiled and premiered at international animation festivals.

“The workshops help expand problem-solving skills and teach youth visual approaches to communication,” said Morse. “Adults around the world pass the tools on and help children explore their creativity through creating animated art.”

The local ASIFA workshop, facilitated by Morse and Vinnedge, included students from Grand Rapids Public School’s North Park Montessori, the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, Jubilee Jobs GR, Grand Valley and multiple CMC interns.

While the video showcases portions of animations completed during the international ASIFA workshops, the primary focus of “Animation Collaboration” is on the work by the students at North Park Montessori.

Emily, a North Park Montessori student, said working on this project showed her how much effort it takes to create a piece of art that is less than 20 seconds long and how much group communication is needed to succeed.

“It took many hours of finding an idea, putting a story line on paper, creating everything we needed, and recording for just a snippet of animation,” Emily said. “But once I saw it up and playing with all the other videos from all around the world, I knew in that moment it was all worth it.”

While last year’s common theme, which can be seen in “Animation Collaboration,” was to choose a color, Morse said this year’s upcoming challenge is to create an animation inspired by the optical toys that were popular in the 1800s — before animation was invented.

“Animation Collaboration” can be viewed on the main floor of the UICA throughout the duration of ArtPrize, which begins September 24 and runs through October 12. To vote for “Animation Collaboration,” use the voting code: 56390.

For more information, visit www.artprize.org.



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