MCA Pilots Creatives-in-Residence Program with EPIcenter

Contact: Carrie Corbett VP for Communications & Marketing (901)272-5111

Aug. 11, 2016


Memphis College of Art Pilots Creatives-in-Residence Program with EPIcenter
Groundbreaking student agency supports local and international startup companies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art (MCA) launched its first Creatives-in-Residence program with the entrepreneurial hub EPIcenter over the summer, giving three students a unique, hands-on opportunity for professional development and experience. MCA students Mariel Ramsey, Von Muren and Tom Curry, seniors in MCA’s Graphic Design and Animation programs, participated in the rigorous program for a summer internship.

The EPIcenter Creatives-in-Residence program is the first of many MCA community partnerships and internships of its kind. MCA’s Director of Professional Practices Zark Strasburger developed the Creatives-in-Residence program with EPIcenter’s Director of Talent Programs Elizabeth Lemmonds to provide a distinct educational experience for MCA’s students, while providing creative solutions for businesses and organizations. “The Creatives-in-Residence program at EPIcenter is an expandable collaboration between partners who work to develop individual potential and business opportunities, and contributes to growth in our city,” said Strasburger.

Lemmonds says the service that MCA’s Creatives-in-Residence provided this summer has been groundbreaking for the companies that work with EPIcenter. “We saw a significant need for accessible design work, specifically visual strategy, graphic design, storytelling, animation and other areas. The Creatives-in-Residence team provided a caliber of strategic guidance and design assets previously unavailable during formal accelerator programming,” said Lemmonds.

Ramsey, Muren and Curry essentially built a design agency from the ground up to meet the various design needs of the 17 startup companies selected for this year’s groundbreaking Summer of Acceleration, a 15-week collaborative program with EPIcenter, Start Co. and ZeroTo510 accelerators. Projects included creating designs for branding and collateral materials, as well as some advertising pieces. The creative team agrees that the residency has provided them with valuable insight to working in a design firm and with entrepreneurial companies. “We have learned a lot about what it really means to run a design firm from the business side—the importance of persistence in communicating well with clients and managing projects, and always maintaining an active role to complete a project,” said Muren.

Their design work will be featured in some of the startup companies’ presentations at Demo Day on Thursday, Aug. 11 from 2–5 p.m. at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education, 203 S. Main. St. More information about the Demo Day event can be found online at

Additional MCA Creatives-in-Residence opportunities with community partners are in development, and will provide an educational experience for MCA students that catalyzes innovative behavior. More information on this program and future opportunities can be found at

Photo: (from left to right) Mariel Ramsey, Von Muren and Tom Curry

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.

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