We Are Cornish: Reintroducing Cornish College to Seattle
When Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones took the job as president at Cornish College, he saw the need to grow awareness and outreach—he constantly shared that he wanted to help the college reintroduce itself and its people to Seattle.
So in the spring of 2019, the newly minted Marketing and Communications (MarCom) department was tasked with this reintroduction. A new website, a rebrand, and a reinvigorated social media strategy started the reintroduction. Though Cornish has always been vital to artistic foundation in Seattle since 1914, it was clear that in some ways we are also Seattle’s best kept secret.
That didn’t make sense to MarCom: In Seattle, Cornish’s Theater and Performance Production students have been an integral part of theatrical infrastructure and Cornish visual artists and designers are woven into the fabric of fine art and design notched into the ecosystem of the tech and creative corridor. This goes for our Cornish dancers, musicians, writers, and filmmakers as well.
The arrival of MarCom’s plan came through a constant refrain: How do we tell this story?
Cornish inboxes are stuffed with alumni, student, faculty, and staff accomplishments—films, productions, books, exhibitions, animations, podcasts, promotions, and so much more. What was clear was the amount of accomplishments each individual shared—interdisciplinary, hybrid, and collaborative projects. So, it was obvious that sharing stories about the news—highlighting only a single moment in an artist’s career—wasn’t enough to articulate the story and accurately embody the range and proliferation of our community’s work.
MarCom’s approach became focused on the individuals that make up the community, rather than the final product, award, or presentation.
The foundation of this approach demanded content and media capturing artists in process, artworks in progress—people caught in the act of making. The videos and mini-docs would be raw, behind-the-scenes, caught in the hallways and classrooms. The photos would be mid-project.
The department used iPhones with Moment lenses, always capturing whatever the community breathed into the world and as the hallways, classrooms, studios, and spaces evolved, there were cameras in their pockets, ready to record. These phones acted as mini film crews, gathering evidence of this thriving community to translate that feeling of being in the moment, bearing witness to the process of creation, and sharing it with the Cornish community and beyond through various digital platforms.
Some projects born from this approach include:
A student-led project curated and executed by MarCom’s student content creator, Winter Mallon (brilliant artistic and teammate, by the way) who interviewed students and staff around campus as a way to collect and collage the artistic and personal range on our campus. Check these out here, as well as the COVID video interviews on our socials.
#WAYWO (What are you Working On?)
A mini-doc series of one minute documentaries focusing on student projects and artistic approaches. Students were even told, “It doesn’t have to be about Cornish. If you want to tell us about your hardcore punk band, we want to know.” These personal mini-docs are on hiatus until we are all back on campus making art in a shared space, but you can check out the first eight episodes here.
These docs follow department-specific projects from gallery set up, performances from build and rehearsal to productions, class projects, and much more. Check these out here.
How I Teach
Mini-docs with faculty discussing their approaches to the classroom and teaching. What to expect in their learning spaces. These mini-docs are on hiatus until we are all back on campus making art in a shared space, but you can check out the first four episodes here.