BGSU art students create environmentally focused public service announcements for nonprofits

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Students in the Bowling Green State University School of Art recently put their education and creative skills to the test by creating animated public service announcements for four environmentally focused nonprofit organizations.

Highlighting the many experiential learning opportunities at BGSU, students in Professor Bonnie Mitchell's digital arts class collaborated with California-based Green America, Michigan-based Freshwater Future, Ohio Citizen Action and the Black Swamp Conservancy to learn about each organization's goals and mission in protecting the environment. The artists then developed messages and concepts for animated PSA's that were selected by each respective nonprofit for production.

"With this project, we were able to directly take what we learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-life project," student Peyton Kenily said. "From planning to production, it was such a great experience to collaborate with my classmates to develop these public service announcements for real clients."

For Green America, the BGSU students developed a PSA focused on food labels and packaging and the meaning behind them. In the animation, anthropomorphic grocery items in a shopping cart display their labels to each other. The exchange challenges the viewer to further educate themselves by visiting the Green America website, where extensive information on food labels exists. The idea was developed by BGSU students James Foreman, Sophia Petrotte, Gregory Bailey and Aaron Taylor. The PSA was directed by Elijah Sowers with Charlie DiFranco, Kenily, Petrotte and Taylor assisting with design and animation.

In the Freshwater Future PSA, students focused on protecting the waters of the Great Lakes region with an emphasis on clean drinking water. The BGSU students animated water's cyclical journey from our homes to a water treatment plant and back to our taps as drinking water. To encourage further education about safeguarding water sources, viewers are then directed to the Freshwater Future website. The PSA was directed by Morgan Lang with design and animation by DiFranco, Liz Cox, Ren Steedley and Taylor Bechstein. The concept and storyboard were developed by Lang, Steedley and Heather Cansky.

BGSU students created two animated public service announcements for the Black Swamp Conservancy. One focused on conservation easements, featuring a father and daughter discussing obtaining an easement for the family farm. While the daughter asks her father questions, photos hanging in a hallway come alive depicting the joy of growing up in the country surrounded by nature. The idea was developed by Abigail Fossaceca and Steedley. The PSA was directed by Bailey with design and animation by Cox, Madelyn Jager, Morgan Tyler, Fossaceca and Yasmine Spangler.

The second animation featured an announcement for the Paddle and Groove concerts that will take place on the Maumee River this summer. The animation transitions from the Great Black Swamp to kayakers heading to the river. The kayakers eventually approach the Veterans' Glass City Skyway Bridge in Toledo where a band on a pontoon boat plays for the floating audience. The storyboard was created by Cox and Foreman with Cox serving as animation director. The PSA was designed and animated by Cox, Jager, Spangler and Brittany Dickson.

For Ohio Citizen Action, the BGSU students developed a PSA focused on educating the public about the benefits of and background on shared community solar power. Its development comes as Ohio lawmakers currently work on House Bill 197, seeking to establish a community solar pilot and development program. The original idea for the PSA was developed by DiFranco, Foreman, Petrotte and Bechstein. Foreman also assisted with animation direction with background art created by Tyler, Dickson, Steedley and Bechstein.

For each of the PSA's audio needs, DiFranco assisted with producing original soundtracks, adding sound effects and narrating alongside other student voice actors. Two of the BGSU groups also recorded their audio in the state-of-the-art Kuhlin Center, gaining hands-on experience working in a professional setting.

"Everyone in the class was so talented and their creativeness really showed in each PSA," Cox said. "Developing these announcements was a great learning experience, and I don't think we would have been able to accomplish all we did without our BGSU education."

Updated: 05/20/2024 02:53PM