Nancy Rice's Integrated Advertising class with former mayor R.T. Ryback
Nancy Rice's Integrated Advertising class with former mayor R.T. Ryback

On April 19, 2019, MCAD was lucky to host R.T. Rybak, the CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation and the former mayor of Minneapolis. 

He sat in on Nancy Rice’s Integrated Advertising class as they presented their projects they had been developing all semester. The meeting began with Ryback and the class conversing about their lives and ambitions in regards to their art and studies in school. The students were split into two groups with each designing and presenting a pitch for Creative Development: the UCAN Chicago challenge with Jayne Chicago. UCAN is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing compassionate healing, education, and empowerment to youth in Chicago.

Rice’s class was tasked with coming up with an installation that would be interactive for the donors and youths coming through UCAN that would be placed in the front room of their headquarters.

Rybak began sharing his experiences in business and activism and how he used his knowledge of these fields to help further his goals for the city.

“I really began to understand how to create this new image of the new Minneapolis when I began to get into schools. It was so moving when I was talking to the students and I could see that these extraordinary issues that were so hard for people my age wrestle with. Issues about crossing lines about understanding the asset frame of being in a place with someone different from you across race, income, gender identity, and all sorts of things and I saw that this generation that was willing to turn over the rock and understand other people easier than any other generation before it.”

Rybak explained how important it is for artists to look at the world and their vision for the future through a business outlook because those are the people who will be the clients for future projects. Being able to understand the asset frame of the company or organization one is working for will help improve the ideas and execution of the product—whether that project is a commercial, poster, or installation design, as is the case currently with the UCAN Chicago Challenge.

After sitting in on the presentations, Rybak was incredibly impressed with the thorough concept ideas each of the groups had come up with and how they had effectively conveyed the mission and goals of the organization through their unique installation ideas.

“It is amazing that not once did you think to portray the youths as desperate or imply that the donors should pity the children but instead thought of it more as what they could do to help the children help themselves. The message that the youths of UCAN are ‘Still Standing: Not Standing Still’ is also incredibly clever.”