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First Night Monterey

Posted on Dec 15, 2006

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First Night <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Monterey's theme, "Rhythm and Hues," became a project for Professor Bobbi Long's Publications Design class last spring. Each year, the class assumes the task of designing the imagery for event materials.


The project gives students real-world experience of working with a client and progressing through various stages of the design process.


Jennie Banta's design was this year's winning entry. The Marina resident is pursuing a degree in publications design at CSUMB; a portfolio of her work is available at


"Publications Design is an upper-division, project-based course that applies related principles and techniques to real clients," Long told the Monterey County Herald. "We work with First Night as a class project for about six weeks. They give us positive feedback and a lot of guidance on student designs. And, eventually, the First Night steering committee chooses one to use for their publicity."


Long, who has an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and a master's degree in fine arts from the Basel College of Design in Switzerland, explains that publication design is not an art class "where students just have a muse. We teach them the actual design process. In design, you have to listen to your client, who tells you their needs and their ideas, and you interpret that," she told the newspaper. "This program gives students a chance to show their talents, skills, and creativity, but it also teaches them how to listen and respond to what they hear, as well as how to manage a project."


According to its website, First Night Monterey seeks to foster the public's appreciation of visual and performing arts through an innovative, diverse and high-quality program which provides a shared cultural experience accessible and affordable to all.


The centerpiece of First Night Monterey is its alcohol-free celebration on New Year's Eve in downtown Monterey.


The First Night concept was created in 1976 by a group of citizens in Boston. It has grown to include celebrations in over 200 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. First Night Monterey premiered in 1993. The volunteer core has grown from 50 to 500; the audience has grown from 9,000 to 40,000; and participation as a performing or visual artist becomes more competitive each year. First Night Monterey has won awards for promoting the arts, building community, and creating innovative programming.