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Studio Upstate Awarded ASPIRE grant

Matt Donaldson and Bridget Kirkland, co-directors of Studio Upstate in downtown Spartanburg.

Studio Upstate, USC Upstate’s student-run graphic design agency, will be able to provide a better professional work experience for graphic design students thanks to a $38,000 ASPIRE grant it recently received from the University of South Carolina’s Office of Research.

Since its move to Main Street in downtown Spartanburg, Studio Upstate has been improving its new home to provide an environment comparable to that found at modern design firms, says Matthew Donaldson, associate professor of graphic design and co-director, with associate professor Bridget Kirkland, of Studio Upstate.

The grant will provide much-needed computer and technology upgrades that will give students up-to-date tools to use when creating professional work, Donaldson says.

“Student experiences with Studio Upstate are the equivalent of undergraduate research experiences in other disciplines,” he says. “Scholarly outcomes in our discipline are completed design projects for clients, such as logos, identity and branding, brochures, posters, and websites.”

USC Upstate’s Director of Research Melissa Pilgrim worked with Donaldson and Kirkland to develop the proposal supporting one of the only student-run, income generating organizations at the university.

Studio Upstate is located at 172 E. Main St. in Spartanburg. USC Upstate is among its largest clients.