Florida International University announced that it will team up with a philanthropic organization to create an incubator geared toward monetizing arts- and design-driven ideas.
The endeavor will be a joint effort between the College of Communications, Architecture and the Arts — referred to as CARTA for short — and the Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation, a Fort Lauderdale-based organization that donated $831,000 for the project.
“CARTA recognizes that technological advances have profoundly altered creative practices,” said CARTA Dean brian Schriner. “The Ratcliffe Arts + Design Incubator at FIU will prepare students with the technical and creative skills needed to be competitive in the 21st century’s global, creative economy.”
The incubator will bring in two designer who will be led by department chair Jacek J. Kolasinski, a new-media artist and associate professor of the visual arts. The designers will operate their own on-site studios, with students — Ratcliffe fellows — shadowing them. The designers will mentor the fellow, co-design products for university and external clients, and oversee the fellows’ development of startup businesses or patents.
Schriner said the incubator will immerse art and design students in the experience of process of getting viable products ready for commercialization, providing “critical preparation” for producing across creative fields after graduation.
“This project has the right momentum at the right time and is so unique in that it makes the most of the assets and resources that FIU has,” said Carol Ratcliffe.
The Ratcliffe gift will fund the incubator for a three-year period, including $450,000 in scholarships, two designers who will teach courses in graphic and object design, a monthly lecture series, state-of-the-art technology, office space, a small business library, seed-capital programs and other resources.
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