AIGA returns to West Liberty after two-year hiatus

By Dakota Knotts, Contributing Writer
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) returned to West Liberty University after a two years hiatus.
AIGA is a professional organization for graphic designers, media designers and other fields of visual communication that offers individuals the opportunity to network and participate in other events.    

Sarah Davis, instructor of graphic design, faculty advisor of AIGA on campus and co-education director member of the Pittsburgh chapter, has been a proud member for 15 years. Davis joined AIGA as way of networking. “It’s really a community, just like any club or organization, is that you belong, and that community is there to help you,” said Davis.  
Lucas Shaver, visual communications major and current e-board member of AIGA, said, “This is going to bring a lot also for non-art students and the campus in general.  It’s gonna give us a lot more attention, because we will be working with the surrounding area and areas outside of the campus to bring more attention to the campus.”
On Sept.  27, members visited Pittsburgh for an Xposed studio tour. The tour gave students the exciting opportunity to visit three different agencies and gain a better understanding of the work they will be pursuing. The tours aren’t strictly art studios either, as previous tours have included fun places such as recording studios. 
Davis said, “I go all the time, and every time I go, I want an internship.” 
In November, AIGA will be participating in the Autumn Art Festival, located in Sistersville, W. Va., at the Gold Derrick Gallery. In addition to the gallery, twelve participating high schools are offered the opportunity to meet with professional guest artists and college students to give small portfolio reviews and offer guidance. 
AIGA has mentioned some possible events on campus. Of these, there has been discussion of students showing off their art, activities on the quad and craftwork with students that are interested in participating.
“We’re going to do a lot of stuff for the campus and have more art, which is something we lack on this campus,” said Shaver.
Currently, the student chapter is unofficial. The e-board members are hoping to one day change that. “We’re wanting to develop it enough to at least connect with the national chapter in Pittsburgh just so we have those opportunities and benefits for the students that really need them and want them,” said Shaver.  
Will Tallman, current e-board member and art club president, said, “I would like to see a chapter in Wheeling, but it takes a long time and a lot of hard work.”
The biggest goal of the organization is to help students market themselves and establish professional connections in the working world. “I think this club is a good opportunity to not only learn about the graphics arts field but also take from it and implement skills in other places,” said Tallman. 
Savannah Beldan, a visual communications major, said, “AIGA offers a better career opportunity to us. There’s not a lot of programs in the Visual Communications Department that allows us to spread our wings and get into the industry directly without going through a bunch of hurdles first.” 
While AIGA is mostly geared for visual communication and digital media design majors, anyone is welcomed participate. However, if you are not in either of the majors, AIGA may not have much to offer due to the focus being on students marketing themselves. Students that still want to create and enjoy themselves may want to check out Art Club instead. 
For more information, contact Davis at [email protected].
Photos provided by William Tallman