Power of community = powerful calendar

[Suzanne McKenzie] I want to share a personal story with you about the power of collaboration. For me, this story highlights the impact of working together and the caliber of professionals that make up our AIGA community.

Last spring I lost my husband Ucal suddenly to a heart attack. To help myself cope with the devastating loss and do something for him, I began a soccer foundation in his name, as he was very much involved in youth soccer in the Boston area. I include our AIGA community as one of the main reasons the launch of The Ucal McKenzie Breakaway Foundation has been such a great success. We have several arts initiatives planned to help fund our foundation’s efforts to bring soccer and health education to city youth (including children from lower-income families). The first art project is a 2010 poster calendar.

The poster calendar would not have been possible without the support of AIGA and our design community. From connecting with the contributing artists who immediately got involved (Chip Kidd, Ellen Lupton, our own Debbie Millman and more) to securing in-kind donations of paper, printing and finishing, our community was — in two words — amazing and present. The poster calendar has been embraced by MoMA Design stores in NYC and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. We’ve had very positive responses to the calendar at our events and online.

A video was produced to show some of the behind-the-scenes workings of the project and the collaborative efforts that made it successful. View it below.

Untitled from The Ucal McKenzie Breakaway Foun on Vimeo.

Our AIGA community has made a huge difference in helping us reach our goals with this project, as 100 percent of proceeds will go towards helping fund soccer clinics and nutrition and cardiovascular health education initiatives. I have been deeply touched by the people who make up our organization and profession.

Suzanne McKenzie is principal of Buoy, a studio specializing in socially responsible design. She created the overall design for the calendar in addition to illustrating one of the calendar’s posters. Mohawk Fine Papers donated the stock, Superfine Ultrawhite with iTone. Printing donated by Deschamps Printing; Superior Bindery donated finishing. “Fill a Big Pair” poster image from the calendar is by Kevin Grady & Colin Metcalf/Lemon.

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by Christopher Simmons on 01.27.10 at 2:17 am

    I didn’t know the full backstory of this. I’m always inspired by those who turn tragedy into an opportunity for others — and just as often reassured when communities rally together in support. I’m even more humbled to be supporting your efforts this year. Thank you.

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