A unique opportunity arose for Northeast Kingdom native and Northern Vermont University senior Ellen Tierney and her classmates this past semester: the chance to create album and song artwork for the local nonprofit and student-led musical group known as the Kingdom All Stars.

The project came about through NVU’s senior Design Studio course, where Professor Kelly Glentz Brush matches local non-profits and businesses with student-led teams to create design work to be utilized in the local community.

“It’s so cool to see something that you stare at your computer for forever making actually getting put to use,” said Tierney, a Visual Communication Design major, on Thursday afternoon. “To actually make something that has a purpose is so fun and rewarding.”

Tierney led a handful of her classmates in the project, each designing song art for the five tracks on the Kingdom All Stars’ upcoming EP “Awkward,” due out in September.

“The process started out by setting up a zoom call with Todd [Wellington, Kingdom All Stars Director] and learning about his expectations,” Tierney said. “He explained the feeling of each song and shared the music files, but he mostly talked about the mission of the group — their love and celebration of unique and talented young people exploring their passions. He was very adamant to let our design team do the same with fulfilling the request, making sure we weren’t just constantly worried about the details that would impress him and, instead, making things that we were feeling while listening to their songs.”

“That’s why I was so happy to be leading this project,” she said. “Sometimes clients can be so picky about what they’re asking for and you’re just kind of the producer of their vision. But, with this, we each got to be super creative, which I really loved.”

Tierney and her four classmates came up with around six to seven designs per each of the five songs, sending them over to the Kingdom All Stars for final selection.

“They did an amazing job,” said Wellington on Friday. “We love them all … the hardest part was choosing which ones to use because they were all so wonderful.”

According to Wellington, the final design selection got so heated that the student musicians in the Kingdom All Stars had to hold a closed vote on the design for each song. While only one design was chosen per song, the band plans to frame and hang each design at their rehearsal space at the St. Johnsbury ArtPort.

“This project is an example of community helping community,” Wellington said. “And the result was some beautiful art joining some beautiful music. Thank you, NVU-Lyndon.”

While the Design Studio course has been working with nonprofits in the area for many years, this is the first group that was funded through NVU’s Working and Learning Community initiative.

“I think it’s a really great approach for the Northeast Kingdom, to be able to have students work building their graphic design portfolios for real clients,” said Professor Brush. “We partnered with the Kingdom All Stars just through informal networking and are so happy to be able to have our design students create work that’s going to be highly visible and beneficial to a highly talented group of musicians.”

Wellington is staff writer for the Caledonian-Record.

More information about the Kingdom All Stars can be found at kingdomallstars.com

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