Area high school students and their families receive an eyeful and an earful about design careers at the 2012 Design Futures/High School Program  on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
This combined panel discussion/college fair is aimed at young people considering a future in the field. Design professionals talk about their specialties and representatives of colleges, universities, art schools, and design organizations hand out literature and answer questions.
The event is part of KC Design Week running Feb. 29 to March 7.
“We’ve got 13 events over eight jam-packed days,” says organizer Kathy Kelley of Kelley Design. “Last year the college fair drew nearly 200 students and we’re hoping to top that number this time.”
The 10 a.m. panel discussion features Peter Sloan of 360 Architecture, Jonathon Kemnitzer of KEM STUDIO, Terry Berkbuegler of Confluence and Lori Schiefen of NSPJ Architects.
Among the participating schools are the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, the Kansas City Art Institute, Truman State University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City/Planning, the University of Missouri-Kansas City/Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Avila University/Art + Design.
Representatives of the American Institute of Architects, AIGA (the professional association for design), and the Industrial Designers Society of America will be on hand to talk to students and their parents.
“I don’t think people realize the diversity of design,” Kelley says. “Our hope is to provide one-stop shopping so that high school students can learn about all these design fields in one place.”
The main idea behind KC Design Week (now in its third year) and the panel discussion/college fair (in its second year) is to stress the importance of design to our culture, Kelley says.
“As a designer you’re contributing in a very positive way to the world. You’re solving problems, communicating, making people comfortable, adding beauty and fun to our lives.
“Our hope is that by getting this information out there, high school students can discover design earlier so that when they get into college they can hit the ground running, getting into the curriculum right away.”
For a complete list of KC Design Week events, visit www.kcdesignweek.org .
About the Author
Robert W. Butler  is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes the Library's From the Film Vault  blog. He joined the Library's Public Affairs team in 2012.