Mixing the media: Maryland Institute's CD-style soliciting

August 11, 1993|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Staff Writer

The Maryland Institute, College of Art may be the nation's first art school to market itself in CD form: Last month, it mailed almost 11,000 compact-disc cases containing information about the college to high school art students around the country.

Each year the college -- rated this year by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation's top four art schools -- sends material to a selection of high school students who've indicated an interest in pursuing fine arts on their PSAT tests.

The new promotional package, "Music 4 The Eyes," contains a packet with examples of student art and students' thoughts about their work ("Art is the hands and the sense that connects them," "Art is a perfect form of focus") as well as general information.

The more typical art school "search piece," according to admissions officers at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Parsons School of Design in New York, is a stylish booklet or brochure.

With literally eye-opening graphics, the Maryland Institute's "jewel box" (the plastic CD box) catapults its marketing material into an MTV cosmos -- exactly as graphic designer and institute graduate Max McNeil intended when he developed the idea for Franek Design Associates in Washington.

"This generation is really becoming a visually oriented generation -- it is more attuned to TV, video and multimedia forms than any other mediums," he says. "Symbols, images and sound are all so intermixed now."

Theresa Bedoya, the institute's dean of admissions, calls "Music 4 The Eyes" a successful blend of high technology and passion. "It really capitalizes on the computer and computer imagery, which students are very interested in," she says. "We also use student quotes that speak to the romantic ideals of the arts. A quote like 'Art gives you the weapons to wage the battles within yourself' really touches students who are young artists."

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