UAPB Merchandising, Textiles and Design students get hands-on experience

Debbie Archer, Communications Specialist-Section Leader | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences                                  

Student_and_KC-FBpicPINE BLUFF, Ark. – Merchandising, Textiles and Design students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff got hands-on experience in visual merchandising recently by designing a window display at the Arts and Science Center (ASC) for Southeast Arkansas.

Markeda Dunn, Brittany Young, Erin Jones, Jeremy Jones, Demond Robinson, Shaela Hunter, Martika White and Ericka Vaughn, juniors or seniors in UAPB’s Department of Human Sciences Merchandising, Textiles and Design (MTD) Program, volunteered for roles as design manager, signage coordinator, costume researcher or display coordinator, to design the window. The design showcased the students’ creativity and served as advertisement for the ACS’s production of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“This project offered the students an excellent opportunity for hands-on experience instead of just reading about visual merchandising in a book,” Dr. Kaye Crippen, associate professor at UAPB, said. “Actually working with garments, props and mannequins is a very valuable experience since most students will have to do some type of visual merchandising in their internship or when they graduate.”

This is the third year that merchandising, textiles and design students have been invited to create a window design at the Center. Dr. Lenore Schoults, executive director of ACS, envisioned the windows as a way to feature students’ design projects. She obtained funding from Synergy Forum, Inc. recently to purchase mannequins to use for the city beautification project.

“This collaboration between The Arts and Science Center and the UAPB Merchandising, Textiles and Design Department is a great opportunity for the students to gain hands-on experience while also improving the appearance of Main Street, Dr. Schoults, said. “We have to thank Synergy Forum, Inc. for funding the project because the students have used the mannequins so often through the years. This is a great community partnership.”

Dr. Crippen said this project ties in with UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander’s thrust to provide more hands-on experience for students.

“Our MTD program is very career focused,” Dr. Crippen, said.

White, a senior who assisted with the display, said she was grateful for the experience.

“I am glad I got the experience I got at the Arts and Science Center,” White said. “I have an internship now, and I recently had the opportunity to decorate a window display and style the mannequins. The prior experience helped me a lot.”

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