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UNT event inspires design help for agency that assists nonprofits

Serve Denton, an agency that plans to house about a dozen nonprofit organizations in one facility, will get design help from students in UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design.

The advice will come as part of the annual Ray Gough Lecture that features a guest speaker discussing the latest in design. This year’s speaker is Bryan Bell, director of DesignCorps, which is a leader in the public interest design movement that focuses on community involvement. He will speak Oct. 8 in the Art Building, room 223.

Bell’s visit inspired CVAD to host a day-long charrette Oct. 9. Stakeholders from Serve Denton and its partner organizations – including board members, volunteers and clients – as well as city officials and community representatives will discuss how the space can be designed to fit its unique needs.

The organization resides in a 32,000-square-foot former church building built in the 1990s. Representatives from Serve Denton and three nonprofit organizations already work in the space, with about 10 organizations slated to join them by 2015. Serve Denton envisions the space as a central, convenient location where people can receive help from social service agencies.

At the charrette, all interior design majors – led by the 13 students in the Public Interest Design class – will put together the ideas, create vignette spaces on the computer and present them to Serve Denton, which can use them for grants.

“This is a facet of design where we become problem seekers and problem solvers,” said Greta Buehrle, adjunct professor of design who teaches the Public Interest Design class and is organizing the event. “You’re really listening to all these unheard voices – how this space will best serve the people that the space is designed for instead of just looking beautiful on the cover of the magazine.”

Pat Smith, executive director for Serve Denton, participated in charrettes for construction projects when he was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and he is looking forward to what UNT students create.

“It’s a really great opportunity to use good design techniques and processes to produce what we hope will benefit the community for years to come,” he said.

The charrette is not open to the public, but a panel discussion afterward is. The panel, which takes place at 6 p.m. Oct. 9, will be led by Bruce Nacke, associate professor of design, and will feature Bell and other officials discussing how design can be utilized for nonprofit organizations.

The lecture and panel discussion will be in the UNT Art Building, room 223, one block west of Mulberry and Welch streets. The cost is free.

—Jessica DeLeón, University Relations, Communications and Marketing

Posted on: Mon 08 September 2014

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