Design Museum Week Recap
ThoughtMatter throws its first event since 2019
Not to brag, but ThoughtMatter really knows how to throw a party. We love bringing people together for conversation, culture and connection. There was the magic-themed design mixer called “Smoke and Mirrors”, the “Shithouse” gallery show featuring work from developing nations Donald Trump audaciously referred to as “shithole countries”, and our recurring art parties and Summer Salons. Unfortunately, since our last holiday party in December 2019 our love for organizing and executing events has remained unfulfilled. Thanks to two years of putting safety first, an improved sense of flexibility and the desire to broaden and share our perspectives, last month we got back in the saddle.
We partnered with Design Museum Everywhere, an organization redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century, for their first ever Design Museum Week. The week featured five days of online and offline events aiming to spark conversation, inspire leaders and educate professionals working in all areas of design. Taking advantage of our talented network of colleagues, peers and clients and our contemporary art-filled studio, we hosted both an in-person studio tour and a virtual panel, both focused on education.
ThoughtMatter’s Design Museum week presence kicked off with “Artmosphere,” an immersive studio tour sharing the living gallery and creative hub where our team thrives. We highlighted selected pieces of art in the studio, as well as some of our favorite ThoughtMatter work. Staff were on hand to share background, lead discussions and answer questions about the art and what our guests were seeing, resulting in some very inspiring conversations and moments of learning. We also invited attendees to participate in hands-on activities such as writing their future selves a postcard that we’ll mail them in six months and sharing their inspiration on a collaborative mural.
The evening of inspiration continued with Managing Partner Jessie McGuire sharing the significance of opening our doors after two years. The “Artmosphere” our guests joined us in is more than the ThoughtMatter studio. It’s the soul of our company and a place to be reminded of what’s possible, what it means to struggle, to imagine, to understand the weight of dedicating your life to creativity. By inviting the public into our studio, we invited guests to be agents of change and discuss how we can create a future we all want to be part of.
That future was on prominent display two days later at our virtual panel. Jessie opened the conversation titled “Unending Learning” by taking a moment to celebrate representation, as she was joined onstage by people who looked like her, referencing her Salvadoran-American roots. Panelist Marissa Gutierrez-Vicario is currently the Executive Director of Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE) and teaches in the Art Education department at City College of New York. Panelist Ramon Tejada is a designer and Assistant Professor in the graphic design department at Rhode Island School of Design.
They touched on why it is important for people who have navigated the industry as minorities to share their experience, and how we can continue to focus on including more and different voices in design and beyond. It’s about unlearning the old and learning the new — moving forward by rethinking old narratives to activate a needed set of values in the design world that emphasize responsibility, curiosity, proactive thinking, inclusivity and flexibility. Ramon put it best, explaining it is about being vulnerable, making mistakes, thinking about our communities, families and chosen families, acknowledging not knowing and making the periphery the center. Watch the full panel HERE.
By opening our studio for the tour and panel, we opened ourselves up to important conversations. We interacted with everyone from students and designers to decision makers and plus-ones simply showing their support. Through our collaboration with Design Museum Everywhere, we also learned a lot about working with a partner.
We’re grateful for the chance to share how we are engaging the design world and, whether it be through future events or our work, want to keep opening ourselves up to do more. We want to be active participants in our industry as it moves forward. We want to be mindful of its closed doors and conduct more events that not only open those doors but break them down. It’s time to party.