Q and A with Professor Cindy Buckley Koren
Long before being named “Educator to Watch” by Graphic Design USA, Cindy Buckley Koren was working on award-winning projects with clients including AT&T, Global Finance, and Runner’s World Magazine. For the last 15 years, she has served as a professor of Communications Design at PrattMWP College of Art and Design, and her students are routinely recognized worldwide. Cindy has established several successful Communications Design vocational programs and has taught or lectured at Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University, Hamilton College, and was a featured speaker at the inaugural TEDx Utica. Her current research involves the convergence of art and design and the legalities surrounding the creative legacy of American artist Robert Indiana.
I am a creative director and designer with a primary focus on community building and communication. My background is in editorial and branding design and I have had amazing experiences working on award-winning projects with many renowned creatives. I have served as communications director of One World Utica —an organization that celebrates diversity and cultivates unity through the Rust to Green coalition. My practice is research-based and I hold a deep fascination with artist and MWP alum Robert Indiana who is the subject of my current project “LOVE, HOPE & American Dream” a film in the preproduction stage.
How does your work impact the way you approach teaching?
I promote putting student work out into the wild and I am proud to say that this fearless approach has paid off with numerous awards and honors from around the world. I encourage my students to conduct deep research, take risks, iterate, analyze, and utilize their skills to engage their communities. I am incredibly proud of the impactful projects that have come from PrattMWP such as the Utica Proud and Say Nope campaigns. Every year I am more astonished at what can be accomplished at the sophomore level and look forward to what the next semester will bring.
What is your favorite part about working at PrattMWP?
As an educator, the most rewarding part is to nurture young creative talent to use design to inspire positive social change. My favorite part is that the relationships formed at PrattMWP don’t end at the end of a semester. I have had the honor to curate From Utica to Brooklyn an exhibition featuring PrattMWP alumni; Doug Aldrich, Logan Fitzpatrick, and Zach Meyer—and I am so excited that this fall Cannaday Chapman will be presenting as a part of our Easton Pribble Visiting Artist Lecture Series. At the risk of sounding corny, I really love that no matter what direction their lives take—every former student feels like a part of our MWP family.
What do you hope of PrattMWP alumni?
To keep in touch . . . duh. I am serious . . .I miss and love you all!!