Connection for the common good

  • Oliver Blank (left) partners with Director of Comparative Arts Nicola Conraths-Lange (right) during an exercise.

  • Comparative arts students participate in a "three compliments" activity.

  • Comparative arts students complete an exercise about human connectedness.

  • Jimenez and Blank (foreground) lead an exercise.

April 20, 2018

In April, comparative arts students enjoyed class sessions with visiting artist Oliver Blank and Asha Jimenez.

Blank and Jimenez are co-founders of Outside, a human-centered design agency that seeks to design and create objects that will reduce suffering, encourage peace and increase health and well-being. Jimenez and Blank have previously worked with Google, UNICEF, Thought Works, Lego and UNHCR, among others.

During the two-week residency, the students worked with Blank and Jimenez to develop a concept for an arts-related mobile application that would be produced by and for the Interlochen community.

The students also spent time exploring physical and emotional well-being, as fostering such feelings in the audience is a key component of Jimenez and Blank’s work. Blank and Jimenez led the students in a variety of exercises designed to help them connect with themselves and others.

The young artists also continued work on their personal annual projects, which will be presented in an end-of-year showcase on May 17.