Sarnia creative agency leads March Break workshop
Cole McLean, 14, is at work alongside other students taking part in a March Break workshop at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia. The students were creating a St. Patrick’s Day-themed social media campaign. (Paul Morden/Sarnia Observer/March 15 2017)
A team of Sarnia high school students were getting a crash course on how to create a social media campaign during a March Break workshop at Sarnia’s Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery.
The three-day course with approximately 10 teens was being led by Tomorrow Media, a creative agency that set up shop nine months ago in downtown Sarnia.
It was leading one of two workshops the public art gallery offered during the March Break.
“They kind of get a taste of what it’s like, in our process,” said Liwordson Vijayabalan, creative director with Tomorrow Media.
“First it’s pencil to paper, creative expression, getting your ideas out very quickly.”
The second stage is executing the work, followed by launching the campaign to the public, he said.
Doing all of that in just three days is “absolutely insane,” Vijayabalan said.
But he added, “I think we’re going to pull it off.”
He and his fellow members of the Tomorrow Media team, Lewis Menelaws and Jason Nguyen, were pitching in to make sure everything was ready to go by Thursday, when the workshop ends.
But Vijayabalan gave the students a lot of credit.
“I think what they’re going to accomplish in three days is something pretty phenomenal,” he said.
“They’ve been grinding hard, so they’ll get it done on time.”
The students were assigned to teams to create a promotional video to be posted online this week, as well as design and build a website where visitors can answer a riddle and earn a St. Patrick’s Day-theme prize. They were also creating a themed Snapchat filter.
“The students get to take pride in that, because they are the ones who facilitated the whole contest and event,” Vijayabalan said.
The video is expected to be posted Friday morning on the art gallery and Tomorrow Media Facebook pages.
The gallery’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/gallery.lambton.
“They’re going to watch the video, hopefully be entertained,” Vijayabalan said.
It will direct viewers to the website where they can enter their e-mail address for a draw.
“Hopefully, we capture like 30 e-mails and then we’ll randomly select one as the winner.”
For a simulation exercise, attracting 30 entries will be a good showing, Vijayabalan said.
“I think that means we did a good job,” he said.
The aim is to give the students “a feel” for the work agencies like Tomorrow Media do in the world of marketing and graphic design, Vijayabalan said.
“That’s what we wanted to do, just give them a little taste of everything and see what they resonated with.”
Vijayabalan said the talents of the students lined up with the roles they were given in the workshop.
“Once we got to know them, we’ve seen some of their work on their phones or laptops, and they’re all incredibly artistic,” he said.
“A lot of them are already dabbling, because of YouTube and the internet.”
Vijayabalan said he, Menelaws and Nguyen met while they were in Grade 9 at St. Clair Secondary School. They’re all in their early 20s and came together with others to start the agency.
“We were actually able to make a job out of what we love doing,” he said.
“That’s what we want to pass on to these kids, let them know the future is a generation of free thinkers. They’re going to have a lot of opportunities in the creative fields.”
This was the agency’s first experience leading a workshop for the art gallery.
“What better to get high school students excited about the career world than getting young, 20-somethings who are doing it, and are using art in a functional way,” said Brittany Sitzes, with the gallery.
With so much emphasis being placed today on subjects like math and the sciences, “it’s nice when the kids who are really excited about art” can be shown how to put those interests to work, she said.
“It’s like the harmony between technology and the arts,” Vijayabalan said.
“It’s pretty sweet.”