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Noah Humes, Comm Arts ‘17 2021 Black Creatives Institute Participants

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. Registration deadline is Tuesday, August 1, 2023.

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

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. 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 PCP test. Students will be required to submit proof of vaccination including a booster prior to their arrival through the Student Health Center's OwlCare Portal. Students can request an exemption (medical or religious/philosphical)from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by going to the Student Health and Wellness website.

Participating students who are not fully vaccinated* may need to move in earlier for quarantine and testing. The program dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, August 16–Sunday, August 20, 2023
  • Move-In will happen on Wednesday, August 16th in order to account for rapid COVID-19 testing/vaccinations prior to thestart of the program
  • MonthlySessions with a faculty member will take place after the program to ensure a successful connection.

Program Design At-A-Glance (all times are PDT):

  • August 16th | Move In and Opening
    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.
  • August 17th |:LA Day
    Time Program/Activity Description  
    7:45AM-8:45AM Breakfast On Campus  
    9:00AM-9:30AM Off campus Museum Trip Museum     
    10:00AM-11:30AM Museum visits    
    11:30AM Travel for Lunch     
    12PM-1:30PM Lunch     
    1:45PM-2:45PM Studio Visit with Alum    
    2:45PM-3:15PM Travel to Leimert Park    
    3:30PM-5:15PM Leimert Park Walk Visting Art + Practice space and Sole Art Lab.  
    5:30PM Travel back to Otis College    
    6:00PM Dinner    
  • August 18th | Speakers and Sessions
    Time Program/Activity Description
    9:00AM-10:00AM Welcome and Opening Keynote Keynote Speaker
    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
    2:30PM-3:00PM BREAK  
    3:00PM-3:30PM Mindfulness Session Students will engage in mindfulness practices to support a sense of health and wellness.
    3:45PM-4:45PM 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-6:30PM Dinner and Wrap Up  
    6:30PM-8:00PM Student Led Activity   
  • August 19th | Speakers and Sessions
    Time Program/Activity Description  
    7:45AM-8:45AM Breakfast On Campus  
    9:00AM-10:30AM 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.  
    10:30AM-10:40AM BREAK    
    10:40AM-11:40AM Ghost the Burnout Recognize signs of burnout and develop coping mechanisms to assist in building resilience and self-love/self-healing.  
    12:00PM Travel to Loyola Marymount University    
    12:30PM-2:00PM Lunch with Loyola Marymount Black-student success program    
    2:00PM-5:30PM IdentityDevelpment Workshop with LMU    
    5:30pm-6:30pm  Dinner    
    6:30PM-8:00PM Student Led Activity Game night hosted by our RAs and Peer Mentors.  
  • August 20th | Closing and Move-Out
    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-1:30PM  Closing Speaker Closing Speaker: Will Ragland, Creative Director
    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.


    Mike UwandiClosing 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.

Black Creatives Institute Workshops

Students working on Self-Portrait (From bottom to left): Andre Atkins, Jay Brantley, Brooklyn Gordon, andJide Onumonu

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.

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.

Chrysta Burton

Chrysta Burton, Executive Vice President, Bad Robot Productions, Inc.