Black Indigenous People of Color Summit Hero Background Image

Black Creatives Institute

Mission Statement

Otis College’s Black Creatives Institute is focused on developing an inclusive and affirming campus climate for incoming Black-identified students in an effort to increase: student engagement, first- to second-year retention, and degree completion.

Program Goal: Fostering community among Black-identified creatives by providing holistic support of their personal growth, identity formation, cultural development, and career development to create a stronger sense of belonging within the Otis College community.

Student Learning Outcomes: As a result of participating in the summer bridge program, students will:

  1. Gain a strong network of creative colleagues through peer engagement and support.
  2. Explore and expand upon their identity as a Black creative.
  3. Develop tools around self-efficacy in order to foster self-confidence and personal empowerment as a Black creative.
  4. Gain an in-depth understanding about campus resources that will assist students in being successful personally, academically, and socially.
  5. Develop strategies and skillsets to actively engage in their academic experience, including studio preparation.

How to Register:If you self-identify as a Black creative and are an incoming new student who would like to participate in this free program. The registration deadline is Monday, July 29, 2024.

Register Now


Who is Eligible?

All incoming new students are eligible for this program. This program is focused on Black-identity development and being a Black creative and will offer opportunities for students to self-explore and build connections around this focus.

Black Creatives Institute Self Portrait

Mai Tae Preece, '25, Self-Portrait Activity

Where the Program Will Take Place:

This year, the Black Creatives Institute will take place in-person in the Residence Hall on campus with a small contained group over the course of five days as an immersive experience prior to Orientation Week. Monthly meet-ups and programming throughout the academic year will take place as well. The COVID-19 vaccination will be strongly recommended, rather than required, for students. Otis College continues to stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines and will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccine clinics throughout the school year. We will require proof of negative test for COVID-19 24 hours prior to move-in for a rapid test, or 48 hours prior to move-in for a PCR test. If students do not come with a test result, we will test on -site prior to moving in.

The program dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, August 14–Sunday, August 18, 2024
  • Move-in will happen on Wednesday, August 14
  • Monthly Sessions with a faculty member will take place after the program to ensure a successful connection.

Program 2023 Sample Schedule

Time Program/Activity Description
1:00PM-2:00PM Move-In and Testing All students attending BCI and who plan to live on campus for the academic year will be moving in at this time. COVID-19 rapid testing will take place during move-in and/or proof of vaccinations will be required. 
1:30PM-3:00PM Move-In and Testing All students attending BCI and just moving in for the weekend will begin to move in at this time, and should be prepared to take a rapid COVID-19 test and/or show proof of vaccination. 
5:15PM-7:00PM Dinner and Housing Orientation All students will receive a brief housing orientation, and get to know each other.
7:00PM Student Led Social Event Icebreaker activity for all participants.
Time Program/Activity Description
9:00AM-10:00AM Breakfast On Campus
10:30AM-11:45AM California African American Museum  
12:00PM-2:00PM Lunch | Fixins at LA Live  
2:30PM-3:15PM Hauser and Wirth  
3:45PM-4:15PM Studio Visit with Kohshin Finley  
5:00PM-6:15PM LACMA | Afro Atlantic Histories Exhibit  
6:30PM-8:00PM Poetry in Color at LACMA  
9:00PM-11:00PM Movie Night  
Time Program/Activity Description
9:00AM-10:00AM Welcome and Opening Keynote Keynote Speaker: Lynette, Nylander, Executive Editorial Direcor, Dazed Media
10:15AM-11:00AM Student Intros and Community Building and Expectations  
11:00AM-1:00PM Black Staff and Faculty Panel Black staff and faculty at Otis College will provide insight into their background and experience to help students connect, and offer a space for students to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversation with these systems of support. 
1:00PM-2:30PM Lunch Discussion: Student Panel "Real Talk" Continuing students who identify as Black Creatives share their Otis College experience, what it means to be a Black Creative, and how they navigate systems that have sometimes been challenging based on their identity as a Black person, as a creative, or both
2:45PM-3:45PM Imposter Syondrome Session Board of Governor, George Fatheree
4:15PM-5:15PM Creating the Black Creative Guided discussion with some multimedia engagement to begin the conversation with students around what it means to be a Black Creative within the art and design world.
5:15PM-8:00PM Student Leader Meet and Greet with Dinner Program  


Lynette NylanderLynette Nylanderis a writer, editor, and creative consultant. Making her career at the intersection of youth and popular culture, she's worked as Deputy Editor of i-D and Teen Vogue, held the title of the Executive Editorial Director of Dazed as well as senior leadership positions at the likes of Alexander Wang and Pat McGrath Labs. She was celebrated on the Forbes 30 under 30 lists and spoken at global institutions such as the V&A, British Film Institute, and The Smithsonian.  Formerly from London, Lynette now resides in New York City.

Time Program/Activity Description
7:45AM-8:45AM Breakfast On Campus
9:00AM-10:15AM Industry Mentor Panel This session will feature 5 mentors who will connect with our students on what the mentor program does, how to the make the most of it, and the importance of networking.
11:00AM-12:30PM Black Joy and Wellness Session with Dr. Byron Young “Let’s Talk About Black Joy,” we will be focusing on the ins and outs of our joy and happiness as Black people. Together, with Dr. Young as the moderator of discussion, we will tussle with questions around the force that is Black Joy and how we experience it, practice it, and barriers to it. We will discuss Black Joy as an act of resistance and Black Joy simply as a nourishing birthright. All you will need to bring are your minds, mobile phones, your love of music.
12:30PM-1:30PM LUNCH  
2:00PM-5:30PM Leimert Park Trip  
6:00PM-7:15PM Dinner  
7:30PM Student Led Activity Freedom Wall Activity
Time Program/Activity Description
9:00AM-10:00AM  Check In and Reflection Check in on the last few days of sessions and events.
10:00AM-11:30AM  Self-Portrait Exploration Reflecting on the last few days, design a self-portrait that reflect who you are, you values, passions, identity, strengths, and other identifiers that best depicts aspects of who you are as an emerging Black Creative.
11:30AM-1:00PM Lunch and Learn: Self-Portrait Share Participants will be able to grab lunch and share each of their reflective self-portraits with the group. 
1:00PM-1:45PM  Closing Speaker Closing Speaker:Will Ragland, Creative Director
1:45PM-2:00PM BCI Student Closing Speaker A current BCI attendee will close out with a reflection on their experience
1:30PM-2:30PM  Move Out and Departures Those living on campus for the fall semester will be able to remain in their assigned rooms.


Will Ragland

Closing Speaker: Will Ragland, Creative Director

Will is an entertainment advertising veteran who currently works as a Creative Director at a leading industry Streamer and has led campaigns for a variety of tv series and films, including Emancipation and Black Bird.

In his prior role as an agency Creative Director, he was responsible for building teams from the ground up, mentoring young designers, and establishing the creative culture as a lead designer on film franchises and brands such as Spider-Man and Johnnie Walker.

As a self-taught designer who benefitted from having incredible mentors throughout his career, Will focuses on supporting the next generation of creative professionals.

All Participants will receive the following upon successful completion of the program:

  • Industry Mentor -Students will be paired with a mentor who works in the art and design industry as a mid to senior level creative, and in the area of focus the student is interested in. These mentors are connected to BOND Creative, which is an agency that places creatives across various art and design organizations.
  • Faculty Mentor- All students will receive a faculty mentor who will be their source of connection to Otis College and serve as a support person through their firstyear.
  • $100 Graphaids Gift Card:All students will receive $100 gift card to Graphaids, the College's art supply store.

Program Fee: This program is completely FREE! All interested students must register for the program and will receive more information on the program schedule.

Register Online

Can I Participate Virtually?

All students participating in this program are ecouraged to participate in the program in-person, and to live in the residence hall for free during the program. Each program session will build upon each other and provide acomprehensive experience that will allow students to build community among each other while networking with creative mentors such as faculty, staff, and continuing students.

The Black Creatives Institute will also offer social programming in the evenings for incoming new students to get to know each other in a more casual way, allowing them to develop a sense of belonging with our Otis community. However, if students must participate 100% virtually, they can do so during certain events, as not all events will have virtual options. We will work with the participants around which events they will be able to access and attend and be sure they are still able to gain a meaningful experience.