After more than 40 years at the West Virginia University School of Art & Design, Eve Faulkes is retiring. Her legacy will live on at the school with the creation of the Eve Faulkes Justice Through Design Endowment.
The endowment will provide scholarships for underrepresented students majoring in graphic design.
The design profession is aware of the dearth of African American and Black, Indigenous and People of Color seats at the table. This scholarship is a down payment on a future leader who might use their education in design to change culture by adding their voice to the conversation we need to have, and the innovations we need to make, as a society.
“Only 19 percent of WVU students are BIPOC and less than 60 BIPOC students have come through the Graphic Design program since its inception,” Faulkes said. “The same problem is happening in the industry, and we’re left asking, ‘why are there so few BIPOC designers?’”
According to Faulkes, the need for diversity in the industry has never been greater. As momentum grows across the country surrounding social justice issues and inclusivity, BIPOC designers are in high-demand to be the voices of their communities.
“We look at design as a service to the communities we serve, and all communities need design,” Faulkes said. “We need to have a diverse industry that can provide authentic, informed design.”
Faulkes also knows that BIPOC students who have completed the program thrive. Students like 2014 graduate Stormy Nesbit, a senior designer at PetSmart who had her Black Lives Matter designs picked up by Forever 21 as a clothing line for Black History Month, and 2003 graduate Taurean Jones, who now works for Google where he is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion leader developing and driving initiatives that advance underrepresented groups. Jones was featured in Forbes magazine’s “Forty Under Forty” issue. A 2013 graduate, Roman King is the creative director for the Woman’s National Basketball Association, where he created BLM designs for the courts.
The inclusion of more BIPOC students will benefit everyone in the classroom, says Faulkes.
“West Virginia isn’t very diverse so you have a lot of students coming into the program that have maybe never had any person of color in their classrooms,” Faulkes said. “If we diversify the classroom, we start discussing new perspectives, different life experiences. We create understanding and we create allies.”
The Eve Faulkes Justice Through Design Endowment will provide scholarships to undergraduate students starting in 2022.
Individuals interested in contributing to The Eve Faulkes Justice Through Design Endowment can visit https://give.wvu.edu/art-and-design.