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Eastern senior wins design challenge to help brand Connecticut arts nonprofit

Published on January 12, 2022

Eastern senior wins design challenge to help brand Connecticut arts nonprofit

Anayeli Arroyo’s banner designs to grace the EC-CHAP in Willington

EC-CHAP banners
Four banners designed by Eastern student Anayeli Arroyo will be installed on the exterior of the Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art and Performance (EC-CHAP) in Willington. 

In the coming months, Eastern Connecticut State University senior Anayeli Arroyo’s jewel-toned geometric designs will flap in the winter winds outside a century-old former mill in Willington, CT. Her purple, navy, green and burgundy designs were chosen in December from a semester-long challenge to her graphic design class at Eastern. Their task was to visually brand the Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art and Performance (EC-CHAP), a performing arts space in Willington.

“The purpose of this class is to provide an encouraging and safe environment for students to experience competition, constructive criticism as well as developing professionalism,” said Boya Li, assistant professor of Art and Art History and the instructor of the Eastern Design Group class.

The design task was three-pronged, with each student creating designs for a customizable poster, a brochure for the organization and a design for exterior banners that will attach to the building’s brick walls.

Tom Buccino, EC-CHAP’s executive director, said judging Eastern students’ good work was a challenge for the all-volunteer staff at the nonprofit arts organization established in 2016. The group brings live performances and films to The Mill Works facility and The Packing House in Willington. The group also runs the Dye & Bleach House Community Gallery and the Gardiner Hall Jr. History Museum in the same building. From the 1860s until 1954, the long brick building was owned by cotton thread producer Gardiner Hall Jr. Company.

“These banners will really make the building pop,” said Li. “The building is also next to the highway so it’s easier for people who are passing by to catch a quick glimpse and get an idea of what this building is.”

Buccino learned about the design class through one of EC-CHAP’s former Eastern interns. “The idea was to develop a brand that would represent who we are to broaden our audience and try to attract a younger demographic to our facilities and our programs,” he said. “We talked about the evolution of the students’ designs, the color palettes they selected, the rationales behind that and the finished product. It was a challenge.” But in the end, he said the committee unanimously agreed on Arroyo’s designs. Buccino said he hopes to work with Eastern students on future projects for EC-CHAP.

For Arroyo, the competitive experience allowed her to use her skills in the real world and work toward her career goal — becoming a graphic artist and designer. “I feel like it works with the geometric design, which is a lot of the stuff I do with my work. I feel that it’s unique with the curves and bright colors,” she added. “I was really proud of myself because everyone had been working on it the whole semester. I was really happy they liked it, and it was what they were looking for as well.”

Written by Amanda Irwin