Workshops to teach students digital storytelling - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Workshops to teach students digital storytelling

May 2nd, 2018 development
Workshops to teach students digital storytelling



Students will learn how to tap into technology to tell stories and get on track for digital careers at workshops this summer in downtown Chandler.

The ARTyard Project Inc. will hold its A STEAM Summer Workshop June 4-29 in half-day or full-day sessions at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, 249 E. Chicago St.

High school and college students will be taught digital storytelling, graphic design, game design and audio design.

In small group settings, the participants will learn how to combine a personal narrative with still and moving images and a voiceover to make mini-movies at the workshop.

They will also use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop to create digital and print designs. Students will build video games while learning game theory styles, designing and making worlds, characters and levels using the latest technology.

In the audio portion of the workshop, students will learn how to enhance the human voice and create music composition to trigger the power of sound as they complete digital storytelling, music, film and podcasts.

“They’ll have access to cameras and printers and scanners, just bringing in all the latest technology for them to experiment with,” said Ethel Ross, executive director and founder of The ARTyard Project.

“We encourage them to bring in photographs from home so it’s a personal story they’re telling, a vacation or memory, something heartfelt. We manipulate the photos in terms of color. We do incorporate a little bit of GIF.”

GIF is a format for image files that supports animated and static images.

The ARTyard Project is a nonprofit organization that educators and artists started in 2012 to nurture diverse artists in a collaborative and creative community.

Its goal is to help artists learn entrepreneurial skills and get access to marketing materials made by artists learning technology arts.

Audio, theater, game design industry and web design professionals will teach the summer workshops, which are geared toward people ages 13 to 22.

The ARTyard Project has held events for musicians, singers and videographers, as well as an art show for visual artists at Gangplank on South Arizona Avenue downtown. Usually a guest speaker talks at a workshop and artists perform their craft at the events.

“There’s so much value in them performing in front of their peers in a safe environment where they get to showcase their talent,” Ross said. “They’re more than just students. They just need a little bit (of) polishing and directing and they’re able to launch themselves.”

Musicians, actors, dancers and visual artists need graphic arts to promote their work, she said. Often, graphic artists will barter with the other artists involved with The ARTyard Project to build websites for them in exchange for getting their real-world professional experience.

Ross teaches graphic design at Basha High School. She said her students already are working in digital communication jobs before they graduate high school.

“There’s so much work to be had for the digital communication field,” she said. “Everything is online now. We have a shortage of these types of young people entering the field. Most of our graphic design or visual communication (workers) are coming from overseas. We’re not growing digital designers here at the same rate.”

The ARTyard Project, which started in Ross’ Chandler home, held a similar summer camp to the upcoming one a few summers ago at Gangplank. That one focused on graphic design, photography, illustration and page layout but lasted two weeks.

“The kids really had a good time,” Ross said. “It was fun. We were able to create some posters and fliers. The software is very complex. It’s like learning a new language for some people.”

A professional graphic designer, she previously worked as an art teacher for 20 years at schools in Gilbert and New Jersey.

Shirley Chiu of Chandler is grateful to Ross and The ARTyard Project for supporting and encouraging her with her photography.

Chiu cuts, arranges and photographs fruit and her photos were shown at an ARTyard Project showcase, where the work of another artist was also on display and a violin quartet played at Gangplank.

“I think that is a great way because for me, I never thought I am an artist,” Chiu said. “I’m just like a normal housewife and I just start from doing a very tiny little project while making breakfast for my husband and I.”

She said Ross contacted her after seeing her photos of fruit posted on Facebook and said The ARTyard Project would like to exhibit her photos.

“I said, ‘Wow,’” Chiu said. “The ARTyard Project has been helping me because I was just like a nobody. Now my Chinese community, they know more about me and about my artwork. I’m really thankful and I really appreciate The ARTyard work.

“Their goal is really good, their vision is really amazing to help the artist to get recognized in the community,” she added. “ARTyard has been the tool for us, the other artists, (to) at least get noticed in the community. I think it’s a great nonprofit organization.”

Ross, who is also president of the board of directors for ARTyard Project, said she would love for The ARTyard Project to have its own space as “Gangplank is very tech-centered and we’re definitely more arts-centered.”

The workshop sessions for A STEAM Summer Workshop will take place in two sessions: from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. June 4-29.

Any of the one-week sessions costs $285. The cost of taking the workshops all four weeks is $2,000. Information: