YCS Kids Help with Designs for Festival of Flavors
For the fourth year in a row, Words and Pictures was asked by YCS (Youth Consultation Service) to promote Festival of Flavors. This annual fundraising evening showcases the great food and drink offered by some of New Jersey and New York’s most celebrated restaurants, while raising money to benefit the more than 4,000 displaced children fed, clothed, and provided for by YCS each year.
Since the evening is focused on food, Senior Managing Art Director Dave Gisler suggested that we make the invitation all about food as well—and involve some of YCS’s kids. So on a warm summer evening, our staff congregated on the first floor of the Holley Center in Hackensack with about 20 youngsters, ranging in age from 7 to 14. We brought with us a number of simple designs sketched lightly on sheets of paper: a heart, a smiley face, a peace sign, the words “LOVE,” “YCS,” and “THANKS.” Each child was invited to select a design and decorate it, with help from our staff, by gluing on small foods such as candies, cereal pieces, pretzel sticks, and pasta.
The results were dazzling, as you can see from the pictures. As each design was finished and dried, we photographed it and then left it for the artist to claim. The children seemed to be captivated by the possibilities, and there were as many artistic interpretations as there were participants. Despite the fact that quite a few of the “art supplies” were consumed along the way, most of our young Picassos did more than one design.
Back at the office, Graphic and Web Designer Linda Danh silhouetted the art made by the YCS kids to adorn the invitation and program. She found the experience enjoyable from start to finish. “It was great to see all of the kids personally create their pieces to use as the main design elements,” said Danh. “Since they executed the artwork using such a variety of colorful foods, the rest of the designing came easily. I wanted to complement their artwork, so it felt natural to create almost a hand-crafted and scrapbook feel without drawing focus away from the food imagery.”
Although YCS is a pro bono client, we do some of our best work for them, because we believe so strongly in the work they do. Spending time with their kids is a privilege; most of us feel that we get more out of it than they do.
As our President Rhonda Smith put it, “This was our fourth year to design the Festival of Flavors invitation and program, and it’s the one I’m most excited about. Working with the Holley Center children was such a rewarding experience. The kids were not only enthusiastic, they were an inspiration. After all, Festival of Flavors is about the kids, and having them participate just seemed right.”
To learn more about YCS and the upcoming Festival of Flavors event at the Park Ridge Marriott on November 26th, go to www.ycs.org.