design education

Education as Economic Development

The third largest job producer in the state of Arkansas is the Creative Economy. However, rural populations have an extremely hard time when it comes to recruiting and keeping its art and design teachers not to mention creative individuals in general. What that means for communities like Helena, Arkansas is that our students have less access to a knowledge base that at the very least can provide food on the table, and take them to college to build a career.

As graphic designers ourselves, we cannot discount the impact that art and design education have had on our lives, both personally and professionally. We truly believe that the design process has implications far beyond just visual design— its emphasis on empathy, research, communication, and problem-solving can supplement and strengthen what students are already learning in their core classes. Moreover, by fostering the next generation of creatives and exposing them to the positive impacts they can make on their community through design, we’re hoping to create a new group of engaged, conscientious young citizens with a heart to see their community succeed.

We believe that youth can make a great impact on the revitalization of our city. Since launching our Design Mentorship Program in 2015, we have learned that we can achieve our mission by equipping youth with the tools necessary to improve their community. Our program serves the needs of our youth today while also laying the groundwork to stop rural population loss—perhaps even reverse it.

It’s a simple solution:
Teach our students to utilize the design process as a way to tackle community challenges with the goal of making a positive, lasting impact.

Provide our students with access to the latest technologies, helping them access wider-ranging opportunities when it comes to college and career pathways.

Lead our students through mentorship, encouraging personal as well as academic growth.


Design After School

Beginning in Fall 2018, in partnership with Warfield Concerts and the HWH Advertising & Promotion Commission, we started the Design After School program with 14 area students from KIPP Delta and Helena-West Helena, along with multiple home school students.

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Design Mentorship + EAST

Through the Helena-West Helena School District, we have placed 3-4 design mentors in the EAST and Art classrooms to assist the teachers, guide projects, and provide mentoring to students.


Design Apprenticeship

Starting in January 2019, we will be offering a design apprenticeship to Juniors and Seniors from area schools have the option to leave campus for a job, internship, or apprenticeship.

If you are a student and want to be part of our after school workshops, click below to learn more and submit your information!


If you are interested in applying to be one of our mentors, check out the job page!


If you’re a student who wants to participate in our apprenticeship, click below to learn more and to submit an application!



If you would like to know more about what Thrive has to offer school districts, send us an email!