Decorah Middle Schoolers visited Vesterheim in September to explore how they could market an idea with words and graphics. They stopped by the Bruening Visitor Center with their art teacher, Amy Courtney. The class spoke with Charlie Langton, Vesterheim’s Communications and Marketing Director, and Lea Lovelace, Director of Folk Art Education. The students were here to learn about the importance of Communications and Marketing when dealing with local businesses, and businesses in general.

“The Community Art course I am piloting at Decorah Middle School is essentially intended to connect students to area artists and businesses,” Courtney said, “Decorah Middle School has been continuing to work with STEAM careers within the community, and I see this class as an extension towards that goal as well.” STEAM is the alternative to STEM, which ultimately adds art to the mix of science, technology, engineering, and math. This allows more room for the creativity of students and is a great way to get students thinking outside the box, which is an important value that STEAM is after. This class embodies what STEAM is about, because it incorporates multiple facets of real-life careers and situations, more specifically marketing and design.

Charlie Langton spoke about the “essence of marketing,” and told the students the importance of finding your audience, and how to cater to that audience. When communicating with local businesses, it is essential to create ideas and work that is inherently interesting. A big part of this idea is sticking to original traditions, but modernizing designs. To that point, Lea Lovelace used the phrase “rich historical traditions” when talking about what people look for in these designs. The students seem to understand that the balance of traditional and modernized ideas is a fundamental part of design and marketing in today’s world. 

“In addition to hearing directly from clients, I want students to understand how professionals collaborate and take risks in a career setting,” Courtney continued, “I am hoping to start sharing student work next week and we anticipate recommendations and insight from the professionals at Vesterheim.” Vesterheim is excited to continue to assist these Decorah students in gaining critical knowledge about communicating and marketing in a real-world setting. Mrs. Courtney will return again in the spring with her students, and we look forward to another opportunity to work with them!

Check out the designs they came up with here.