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News . Feature Stories . Pre-College profile: Jody Amsden

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April 27, 2017

Pre-College profile: Jody Amsden

CIA interior architecture grad wants the room to feel right

Pre-College profile: Jody Amsden

By Betsy O’Connell

When Jody Amsden enters a room or a store, she doesn’t see just the walls or the displays. She takes in the complete space and decides if it works as a whole. That’s a big part of why she is an architectural designer.

“I get excited when I have designed a space and the client is overwhelmed and loves the space,’’ said Amsden, a 2007 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

She flips the pages of her portfolio and finds designs for Godfry’s, an upscale, made to measure clothing store in Columbus. “This was probably my most fun job ever,’’ she says.

The store was leaving a traditional mall space and moving to a freestanding location. The darker clothes needed to stand out, so she used lighter woods and a lot of glass. A two-story stone wall created a dramatic store entry. While clothes stores often are designed to be cramped, the client here wanted a more open space. She included flexible tables and fixtures so that the floor space could be easily reconfigured.

One detail the client didn’t love? Use of the color green. “Doing the final rendering via computer is very useful and can save you time with clients who may like your design but not the colors you have chosen,’’ she explained. Godfry’s green was digitally changed to blue.

At GE’s Nela Park site in Cleveland, Amsden was part of a team creating a museum space, where she was told to put some graphics on the wall.’ She took time to research the Nela Park site and General Electric, and worked historical photos into the design. “The client really liked the end result,” she says. “When somebody says throw something on the wall, you need to stop and think about what you are doing.’’

She wants to crystallize those ideas for her architectural drawing students at the Cleveland Institute of Art this summer. Amsden will be teaching high school students who are taking a two-week immersion class in CIA’s Pre-College program.

“I love CIA,’’ said Amsden. “There, art is celebrated. When you get into the real word, competition is fierce. In the CIA interior architecture department, there is a feeling that we celebrate other artists’ achievements. It’s just like a family. It really is.’’

Amsden’s course will give students the elements, principles and theory of interior design as it applies to both residential and commercial interior environments. The combination of lectures and hands-on studio projects will explore fundamentals of design and space planning, as well as basic skills and techniques of visual and oral presentations. Students will develop a final project of their choice.

At the end of two weeks, students will have a better understanding of design principles, basic drafting and space planning skills, techniques for rendering and perspective drawing and work samples to include in a college entrance portfolio.

Amsden has been doing artwork all of her life, but she didn’t get to seriously study it at the CIA until she was old enough to be considered a non-traditional student. She worked in finance to pay the bills until her three children were in their late teens, “but I was always taking night classes at the local community college.’’ After several years of those classes, her graphic design teacher suggested she attend art school full-time. She made the leap, with the support of her family.

Once at CIA, she gravitated quickly to interior architecture. “I love to draw, and I love to design,” she says. “When you walk into a room, it’s important how it makes you feel, how the whole space makes you feel.’’

To register for CIA’s Pre-College program, click here.

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