By November 15, 2018 Read More →

DesignView – Youth Creativity

by Lee Davis, Founder, Modesto Design Collective (MO.DE)

Modesto Cardboard Challenge: Inspiring Youth Creativity
In 2012, the short film Caine’s Arcade was released about a 9-year old boy, Caine Monroy, who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate arcade out of cardboard in his dad’s used auto parts store in East Los Angeles. The film (which was also featured and selected as the Audience Favorite during the MADWEEK Architecture & Design Film Night at the State Theatre on September 21st) focuses on Caine’s dream of having customers play in his cardboard arcade. It became a global phenomenon, with over 10 million views online, and tens-of-thousands of customers visited Caine’s Arcade to play. Shortly after the film’s release, the director founded a nonprofit to launch a Global Cardboard Challenge to foster kid creativity worldwide.

There are thousands of creative kids just like Caine Monroy here in our own community. This was confirmed for us on Saturday, September 22nd when we hosted Modesto’s inaugural MADWEEK Cardboard Challenge & Day of Creative Play during the farmer’s market on the green outside of the Stanislaus County Library. The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of families and kids of all ages engaged in creative play through fun and exciting games and activities.

At the heart of the day was the Cardboard Challenge, an opportunity for kids to build whatever they could dream up using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination. We were delighted to see the creative energy and talent of our young people and we’re excited to celebrate this month the winners of the 2018 MADWEEK Cardboard Challenge:

FIRST PRIZE winner: Bennett Vickery – who created a mechanized arcade game
SECOND PRIZE winners: Yuushi Kennedy & Maddax Nielsen – who co-created a flying dinosaur
THIRD PRIZE winner: Selah Chen – who created a miniature theater with a secret village on stage
Honorable mentions also went to: Lucy Daniels; Lila Garcia-Singh; Katelynn Geier; Kinsley & Kayce Miller; Audrina Yang; and Liam List for their amazing creative entrees!

2018 MADWEEK is especially grateful to Pacific Southwest Container (PSC) for the generous in-kind donation of cardboard materials; the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) – California Sierra Chapter for it’s financial and in-kind support of the event, and to the Modesto Art Museum, the Modesto Design Collective (MO.DE), and the American Institute of Architects Sierra Valley (AIASV) and our Challenge judges: Chad Kennedy, Barrett Lipomi, Jessica Ringer, Brian Schardt, and Amy Vickery.

Creative problem-solving is one of the most important core skills for young people no matter where their interests lie, and no matter what educational and/or professional path they pursue. Creativity is a core social value and a critical skill every child should be encouraged to develop. Kid’s innate creativity, curiosity and passion needs to be nurtured at home, in school and by the community, so that more kids in Modesto like Bennett, Yuushi, Maddax and Selah can develop their skills and talents as creative thinkers and doers.

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About the Author:

Lee Davis currently divides his time between California and Baltimore, Maryland, where he is the Co-Director of the Center for Social Design and Faculty in the MA in Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Prior to MICA, Lee was co-Founder and served for 16 years as co-CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of NESsT, an incubator for social enterprise start-ups in emerging markets. Lee is Co-Chair of the Board of the Winterhouse Institute, dedicated to advancing social design education, and is a Social Enterprise Fellow at the Yale School of Management. He has worked for corporate design firms in the USA and Japan, and was the first in-house designer for CARE, the international aid and development organization. He holds a BA from Connecticut College and an MA in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University. Originally from New York but now a proud Californian, Lee has called Stanislaus County home for the last 15 years. He currently lives in Modesto with his Brazilian partner Daniel, a composer, conductor, and professor of music. Lee is currently working on establishing the Modesto Design School as well as a book and exhibition on the history and heritage of design, innovation and invention in Modesto.