Sheridan Visual Merchandising Arts Students Featured at Square One Simons for their Blue Trees Display
Have you seen the blue trees around Hazel McCallion Campus? This fall, Sheridan College’s Student Union and Visual Merchandising Arts Program partnered with the City of Mississauga’s Blue Trees project to create a story about environmental sustainability.
The Blue Trees is an international award winning, temporary public art installation by artist Konstantin Dimopoulos. Using a biologically safe blue pigment, trees were transformed into surreal landscapes in the urban centre near Mississauga Civic Centre, the Living Arts Centre, Square One and Hazel McCallion Campus. Raising questions about global deforestation through social action and community participation, the project aims to make draw attention towards an area’s surrounding tree and flora. Sheridan students and faculty were actively engaged in transforming the landscape, adding blue to the neighbourhood’s prominent orange, red and yellow scenery. SSU’s Executive VP, Enrique Ponce, states that the project “aligned with Sheridan’s sustainability initiatives and is a great way to get students to think about deforestation sustainability a little differently.”
At the newly opened Simons in Mississauga Square One Mall, Sheridan’s Visual Merchandising Arts students constructed a creative didactic display highlighting the community engagement component of the Blue Trees project. The window concept was deeply inspired by the artist himself. Students incorporated the distinct blue trees with mannequin arms sprouting from the trunks of the trees to signify the volunteer involvement that builds the art piece. Developing strategies around sustainability has been a cornerstone for the program and VMA incorporates sustainable thinking into both their curriculum and student projects. After the completion of the the Blue Trees installation, the displays went on to be exhibited at the City of Mississauga library near Celebration Square. The group also hopes to use them again for future projects.
We wanted to showcase that Visual Merchandising Arts isn’t all just about beautiful windows but conceptual storytelling. Given the opportunity to design a window for such a huge company, we were incredibly honoured and humbled by the end result and how well the window attracted the masses. Having a mall directly next to our school is like hitting the jackpot. As we specialized in silent selling, this provides us with an endless possibility for growth and hands-on experience…..
Anytime the students can have the opportunity to support projects in the community it not only allows them to be part of a real living example of how the industry works, but it also allows them to develop their own working relationships and networking skills. This project was very unique as it linked together key stakeholders from The City of Mississauga, Simons, and the Sheridan community. With our pending move to our new location at HMC2 we look forward to the endless possibilities between The City of Mississauga and Square One.
Karen Kritzer, Visual Merchandising Arts Faculty
In 2017, Visual Merchandising Arts will be moving to our Mississauga Campus for the start of the 2017 Winter semester.
Click here to learn more about the program.
Click here to see the 2016 VMA Grad show and here to see samples of student work.
Photos by Will Yeung (Courtesy the City of Mississauga), Sheridan VMA students, Karen Kritzer, and Sheridan’s Social Community Leaders.