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A MAD, mad world: BSU holds Media, Art & Design Day

Fertile-Beltrami senior Anne Sykes holds up a black light to look for clues Thursday while in an "escape room" that was part of BSU's second Media, Art & Design Day. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Students from area high schools work together on Thursday to find clues in an "escape room" during BSU's second Media, Art & Design Day. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- High schoolers from across northern Minnesota checked out some of the applications for a career in the arts Tuesday.

BSU’s second-annual Media, Art & Design Day aimed to show students that they can make a living in the arts, said Dan Voss, an articulation coordinator in the university’s college of business.

“We show students that, yes, you can do this and you can make a living and here's how you can do it,” Voss said.

Students from 20 northern Minnesota school districts showed up to sample from a menu of more than a dozen seminars about printmaking, graphic design, virtual reality, drawing and more.

Some tried their hand at an “escape room” that models experiential marketing techniques, which encourage active participation. There, the students split into groups to scour a mock art gallery for clues that would help them “rob” it: a provided dossier indicated a gallery worker is colorblind, so students searched the black and white paintings there, for instance; and a small enigma machine they had to assemble helped them decode a message hidden in the labels underneath another painting.

Anne Sykes, a senior at Fertile-Beltrami High School, used a blacklight to hunt for clues after she learned one of the gallery’s wealthy donors invented invisible ink. And Tristan Rossman, a junior at Blackduck High School, guessed the password to a faux administrator’s laptop with information gleaned from another dossier, which led him to a schematic of the gallery’s camera system and more clues to more puzzles.

“This is the kind of stuff you can work on here,” Wyatt Wehking, a senior at BSU’s School of Technology, Art, and Design told the high schoolers. The school focuses on exhibit design, and he was one of three students there who put together and ran the escape room. “It's all based on experiential design.”

Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

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