An entire month is dedicated to breast-cancer awareness, but only one day of the year, Feb. 7, pays tribute to the No. 1 killer of women in the United States: heart disease. Three VCUarts students’ work is featured in a collaborative project with the American Heart Association this semester to raise awareness for this silent killer.
VCU students Ariel Tatterson, David Jones and Laura Miller worked with Michelle McLees, director of marketing and communication for the American Heart Association, to create a billboard advertisement that is displayed in the Richmond International Airport. The billboard will be on display until the end of February.
The students worked with heart disease survivor Krystyn Young-Benham, a 36-year-old Richmond resident who overcame cardiomyopathy for the duration of the Fall 2013 semester. The image used for the advertisements will also be featured in the Charleston, S.C. airport and has been used on street billboards, on the web and ads in affiliation with the American Heart Association throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
“VCUarts students like Ariel, David and Laura are extremely talented and motivated. I think they also enjoyed working on this project and felt good about the awareness they were raising for such an important cause,” McLees said.
All three students work at the Middle of Broad, a collaborative art space for VCUarts students doing community-oriented projects throughout Richmond. The studio functions as a shared workspace between fashion, graphic design, and interior design students for collaborative design projects around the city.
Jones, a graphic design major who graduated in December, worked on the text design and layout for the advertisements.
“I’m really excited about the outcome because the product looks great … it’s a really powerful ad to see in person,” Jones said.
Jones worked closely with the American Heart Association to combine the blend the advertising needs of the project with the students’ talents.
“The most rewarding part is that I get to have my work in a high traffic location that can potentially help many people become more aware of how to prevent heart disease.”
As a senior interior design major, Miller helped decide the ultimate location for the billboard at the Richmond airport, and contributed to the design editing.
“The most challenging part was scaling up the portrait of our model to fit the size requirements of the duratran while keeping the quality of the image. It’s so rewarding seeing our work installed and on display,” Miller said.
Tatterson is a senior film and photo student who worked to lead the project with the other students. She did not respond to request for comment as of press time.