“We Are The Change”, E.C. Reems Academy; screen shot from video produced by Damien Lewis and Caleb Ford

Back in March (wow, was it really that long ago?) we got the chance to interview Laura Guido-Clark, a designer whose passion is to make the human response to products more meaningful through color, material, finish and pattern. Through her trademarked process, Climatology, she researches and tracks relevant changes on the social, political, economic and emotional fronts.

Left to right; Principle Lisa Blair, student, student, and Laura Guido-Clark; images captured from video produced by Damien Lewis and Caleb Ford

During the time of the interview, Project Color Coprs and E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts was in the the fundraising and deisgn process of a color transformation. Though the school itself was full of vivid imagination, joy and pride—demonstrated in the afirmations stated every morning by their Principle, Lisa Blair and her students—the outside appearance of their building fell short. And it failed to run parallel with the bounty of inspiring elements the elementary school had to offer.

When I spoke with Mrs. Minna, a staff member at E.C. Reems, a week ago and asked how the transformation affected her students, she brimmed with joy over the phone telling me that they were so proud. Mostly since her students and the surrounding community were, from the beginning, an integral part of the color selection, design and process. I asked Laura the same question on Wednesday, and she delightfully directed me to a video they put out on the web yesterday. It expresses the outcome of the project most appropriately.

I should explain to you that the E.C. Reems Academy is a K-8 extended elementary charter school located in East Oakland—said to be one of California’s most at-risk and disadvantaged communities. At this school, their guiding principles is: “Encouraging creativity to bring forth new ideas and achieve higher levels of living.”

Lisa Blair told Project Color Corps that, “the school [was] visually depressing, with layers of peeling paint on a dull exterior. Our community is very drab. The colors are mostly tans and browns—like prison colors. This is the world our children live in: one with no vibrancy, no direction, no enthusiasm, and very little hope. If you’re sent from a home in disrepair to a school in the same condition, the message is ‘You are not worth anything. There is no place for you in this society and no one cares.’ But if the opposite occurs, if our kids were to walk into a school that is inviting and bright, the message becomes, ‘Come in, dream big. It’s your world, not ours!”

Fast forward to today, “Imagine the excitement the students will feel when they step into a fresh and new environment in September 2012! You have our support and gratitude for allowing us to be a part of something so extraordinary and yet so ordinary as adding color to a world that is more often than not, shades of gray. I hope our community will grow from this experience and use color to form their attitudes and desire to experience life at its fullest. Thank you for caring about people and communities. Our facility is your canvas.” – Principal Blair

And it’s with great honor that we will have Laura Guido-Clark as one of our guest during LOCZIdesign’s Third Annual designedCOLLECTIVE on October 24th at 44 Tehama St, in SF, speaking on behalf of Project Color Corps and her envisions. The night is no doubt going to be an innovatively star-studded event with a panel of discussion, and food for creative thought. We will be celebrating women who are changing the world through design. So come and join us, or click here to check out more information about our benefit and Project Color Corp’s color transformation story!

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7 comments on “Revisiting Project Color Corps and E.C. Reems Academy

  1. It’s the morning after the designedCollective “Beauty, Brains, Brawn and Beyond” event and I am compelled to write an entry ( this related entry being one of the featured speakers). It was one of those events that surpassed expectations to the point of fueling the soul. The women featured are driving amazing, transformational organizations and shared on a beautiful, inspirational level.

    One of my key takeaways was generosity and I felt it is important to share a personal “ah ha”. This event was due to more than just the openness and capability of speakers, it goes to the roots of how this event grew. At the heart of this night is a person with the vision. She knew who and how to make it happen with an unparalleled generosity. I recently made an analogy that fits Paige Loczi, the Founder of Loczi Design and the “woman behind the curtain” (as one fellow attendee described during the after party). You may not know why you like or drawn to a piece of art, but you are. There is an incredible attention to some specific detail or sets of details that may never dawn on you as the viewer to be particularly significant, but these details are in the artist’s unwavering purview and make the whole thing “work”. Nice Artistry Paige for bringing the people, point-in-time, and caring guidance to this pivotal event and your lovely work. Congratulations.

    • Kristine, your kind and colorful words mean the world to us! Thank you for joining us for one of the most exciting evenings of the year—we hope to see you again for next year’s designedCOLLECTIVE!

      -Mennlay

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