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AIGA › Help for Gulf Coast

[On behalf of its readers and authors, Speak Up will make a contribution to AIGA’s Relief Fund. This is possible thanks to your continuous support of this forum and, in turn, of the design profession.]


New York—AIGA has mounted a relief effort to aid designers in the Gulf Coast region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The organization has created a network to account for designers affected by the disaster, which will assess their needs and provide assistance from other designers and organizations across the country.�

“AIGA is the designer’s community,” says AIGA executive director Richard Grefé. “At times like this, the community is more important than ever and eagerly reaches out to support those displaced. AIGA’s members across the country are offering to help and AIGA is eager to provide the means to connect them with those in need.”

All information on the status of those affected, offers of assistance, available computers or studio space, housing or donations should be directed here:


“Once we determine how we can immediately help those ravaged by this disaster, we will establish long term objectives to assist them in rebuilding their practices,” says AIGA president Bill Grant. “As stated by many victims and officials in the area, one of the most serious issues in the disaster’s aftermath involved poor communication. As designers, we must explore how we can apply our skills and craft to address this dilemma in an effective manner.”

AIGA has allocated an initial $10,000 to help designers re-establish their practices. Local chapters and corporate sponsors are also encouraged to provide additional support through financial or in-kind donations. Terry Stone, AIGA member from the Los Angeles chapter, is chairing a task force to coordinate a local response to the disaster. Any designers from the region who would like to take an active role in the effort should contact relief@aiga.org.

To address the relief effort on a larger scale, AIGA is adding two sessions to its upcoming national conference in Boston. One will facilitate how the design community can provide immediate and long-term support for the Gulf Coast region, and a second will discuss the role of design in future emergency and evacuation procedures.

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PUBLISHED ON Sep.03.2005 BY Speak Up
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Thanks for disseminating this Armin.

On Sep.03.2005 at 10:48 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Hello again.

I am on another borrowed computer. (luckily a Mac this time) I'd like to first thank the Speak Up contributors who've stepped up to offer assistance. Thank you from the very bottom of my broken heart.

I would like to ask everyone to understand that they are not getting the complete news of this. THE LOOTING, THE CHAOS. As I have said before (now that I can correctly spell "devastation") that the extent of this tragedy is far from over.

After a while a sort of fatigue will set in and Amercians will go back to "Survior" the TV show rather than Survivor the Reality. I ask that you stay focused on the after-effects of displacement and the fragile nature of refugees. I have had first hand experience of insensitivity that is appallingly hurtful. But I'm strong and I understand that it's just ignorance. I don't have energy to fight every pointlessly sarcastic, racist opinions from every yuppie scum. (Sorry, sorry, I got carried away.)

Mayor Ray Nagan is heroic, Governor Blanco inadequate. Talk radio jocks moronic. Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera of Fox News are telling the desperate truth: Bush and The Federal Government and FEMA are woefully inadequate as Americans die in the streets of my beloved city. THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH.

Desperate people need real compassion not pity. Money more than words. I feel, now, the "sting" of how a homeless guy must feel at being so displaced. But I'm alive and I'll start over.

I may be homeless, but I'm still an illustrator. I borrowed a pencil! LOL.

I thank Design Maven among so many others who have written (pardon that I don't name you all) who alerted me to the AIGA aid. Sign me up! Please.

You'll never comprehend how much these lifelines have strengthened me.

I know I can use it.I am so busy just tying up loose ends, looking for friends who stayed. But I will respond. I'm not too proud to beg under these circumstances.

Thank you.

On Sep.03.2005 at 12:12 PM
Michael Holdren’s comment is:

I heard Mayor Nagin's radio interview from Thursday night. That guy is all heart. I'm calling him Ragin' Nagin from now on. We need more people like him in positions of (government) power.

Pesky, I don't know if you're checking here or your email more frequently but since you posted here I'll tell ya I'm in Austin (not all that far away from New Orleans) and to send me an email or call me if there's anything I can do for you. My contact info is on my site. I'll send you an email as well.

On Sep.03.2005 at 06:45 PM
DesignMaven’s comment is:

Michael Holdren:

In the event you were unaware Pesky has migrated from New Orleans to Atlanta.

He does answer his email. Unfortunately as I posted on Design Observer Pesky has lost everything. He could only save his hard drive.

GOD Bless you Pesky you will Survive and Rise once Again.

Pesky, Out of Mutual Respect, Friendship, Brotherhood and Cordiality, Thanks. I deserve nothing, NO RECOGNITION. It could've been any-one of us within the Speak Up Community.


With Love comes UNDERSTANDING, and COMPASSION for your fellow man.

Who was it that said?



On Sep.03.2005 at 10:55 PM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:

thx for the post Arm... I'll check it out.

On Sep.04.2005 at 02:01 PM
Michael Holdren’s comment is:

DM, thanks but yes I have been in communication with Pesky. I hear Atlanta is lovely this time of year.

Humans can be incredibly short-sighted most of the time and even with the best of intentions not even realize it. For friends who are going through a rough patch at any time in their lives, I usually offer up this point: We don't have God's perspective, and we can't see what His plans are. He loves us and takes care of us when we ask, and has a plan for everything. I have every bit of faith that Pesky and his family will come out of this better than they were before. But that journey will likely be difficult, so keep your chin up at all times Pesky.

One thing I want to point out (and get back on track to this post) is that the AIGA is helping members and non-members alike. If the AIGA is allocating $10,000 for disaster relief, I'm betting that's money that came from paying members. If this is the case, then it's very nice to see the AIGA not limit it's funds to those who helped build it.

On Sep.04.2005 at 02:44 PM
feelicks sockwl jr’s comment is:


sorry to hear of your loss and hardship. i was watching bill o'reilly and your pal sam shepherd on fox 2 nights ago. O'Reilly signed off with "Great job, Sam, you should win some sort of prestigious award or something". My wife and I looked at each other in disbelief. A call for awards during a nat'l crisis? Leave it to Bill O'Lielly.

The best reporting thus far reigns not from CNN, but from Joe Scarsborough (CSNBC) and his "republican wife and Friends" who showed up and actually helped.

On Sep.04.2005 at 06:44 PM
Michael B.’s comment is:

This is a tough time.

If you'd like to partake of some appropriately directed anger, the full transcript of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's now-legendary radio interview ("Excuse my French, everybody in America, but I am pissed.") can be found here. Amazing, heartbreaking, and (to echo Pesky Illustrator) heroic.

On Sep.04.2005 at 07:57 PM
Michael Holdren’s comment is:

Thanks for the link, Mr. B, to the page of the transcript. I noticed that there is also a link to the MP3 of the interview itself, available for download, near the bottom of the page on the left-hand side.

On Sep.04.2005 at 10:16 PM
Unnikrishna Menon Damodaran’s comment is:

I know at least 20 African American Designers and illustrators out of work from New York to Texas. That can't get Jobs not because they are not Qualified. They can't get Jobs because they're Black. A Statement of Fact!!!!!

What a Shame.

Real colours of America is revealed!! Katrina was only a cause.

You are in need of an American Gandhi!

Black or White!

May be it is in the rising.

On Sep.05.2005 at 12:47 AM
Armin’s comment is:

[Due to the unfriendly nature of some of the comments posted in this thread in the past days, some comments have been edited and/or removed. Personal insults and attacks on character are not tolerated, nor welcome, here.]

On Sep.05.2005 at 08:25 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Today I read Anne Rices' column in the New York Times (online) and she points at you, Americans, for abandoning us in our hour of need. That horrible first week. She addresses the topic of racism and what you saw on your tv. To me, personally, I think it's a broad, impassioned statement of anger and hurt, but essentially true. She's speaking for the Abandoned not for herself. (And don't tell me that she's living in LA and rich as a dismissive retort. She is us.)

I know, personally, that almost immediately I got messages from ::Speak Up:: people with offers of help. For that I am deeply grateful. I don't want to be the poster child of lost illustrators or a pitiful character for all of you to write condolence letters to. I want to live again, And I will get back to each one of you with specifics when the time comes. I'm coming out of shock.

First I need a place to live, then I can address what I need to start again. AIGA has not contacted me, hopefully tomorrow.

FEMA is starting to look for the bodies. Some old friends have turned their backs on us, much to my surprise. A minister I never met before told me it is their fear of seeing vulnerability, that we should forgive them and rely on our own inner strength. So the cycle of reality makes me "cut to the chase.": Stop this. Go back to talking about design.

UMD, you're right about needing Gandhi, personally I was hoping for Batman....

I am already beginning to see disaster weariness, political bickering and other agendas besides ACTUAL financial contribution. Money is fuel for everything. Let me repeat that: Money is the fuel for everything....It needs to be direct sustainable aid not one-time-feel-good help. Not just for me but for many who don't have voice to their condition. Every black face I see of the survivors is my brother or sister too. No bullshit.

On Sep.05.2005 at 08:30 AM
Bill Grant’s comment is:


I hear you are in Atlanta. My studio is just north of the city, so let me know how I can help. The AIGA task force is getting up and going, and we hope to be able to assist asap. In the interim, I know of several Atlanta based designers who have offered assistance, including studio space and possible housing. I have an old but reliable Apple Powerbook if you would like to use it or need it for anything. My studio will be happy to assist in any way possible. I am out of town until Wednesday afternoon, but please email me if you need anything immediately. Thank you for your first hand account of this terrible crisis.

Bill Grant

On Sep.05.2005 at 09:24 PM
Shahla’s comment is:

To address the relief effort on a larger scale, AIGA is adding two sessions to its upcoming national conference in Boston. One will facilitate how the design community can provide immediate and long-term support for the Gulf Coast region, and a second will discuss the role of design in future emergency and evacuation procedures.

Of those registered to attend the Boston conference, I wonder, how many are cutting their losses short and staying put saving transportation, hotel and other costs? If, and when, this happens, will the AIGA make note of how portions of these 'donated' registration fees, are being re-directed to the displaced designers initiative? Or since these fees are nonrefundable anyway, no mention will be made of this kind of charity : )

It would be nice to acknowledge those who may 'contribute' in this way in sessions on AIGA's relief effort. Although it seems this is the antithesis of 'conference participation', I'm sure there are those gregarious types who do give in to reclusive tendencies every once in a while.

On Sep.10.2005 at 03:46 AM