In 2000, I had the extreme good fortune to hear architect Samuel Mockbee lecture. Samuel co-founded The Rural Studio for architecture in Alabama and won the MacArthur Prize for his work, inspiring young architects to design and build homes and community buildings in Hale County Alabama. As I sat watching Samuel’s presentation, I thought “why isn’t there anything like this for graphic design?"

By 2001, I had moved from San Francisco to the coast of Maine intent on creating a program, inspired by The Rural Studio, to inspire young graphic designers, writers, photographers and other creative people that their work can have a positive and significant impact on the world.

 

So far, the program has exceeded my expectations and it has been a privilege to work with such a great group of people.

2003: The first group of designers arrived in Maine for a month-long investigation into “Thinking Wrong” in May of 2003. During that inaugural program, we produced a publication that pushed the traditional form and expectations of a book. The American Institute of Graphic Arts selected the book as one of the 50 best designed of the year.

2004: Project M traveled to the Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica to do a communication project for Dan Janzen, the area's founder. The amazing book that resulted from this is finished and will, hopefully, be published soon.

 

 

2005: In addition to working on a project with The Womens Trust, which does micro-financing in Ghana, Project M purchased a used ambulance and converted it into a rolling design studio. Our first expedition was to deliver donated equipment and supplies to Gulf Coast designers displaced by hurricane Katrina.

2006: Last June our project involved a trip in the ambulance to East Baltimore. Our project, the "This is not grass" book was printed in February and will be distributed soon. It is designed to encourage donations to build parks on abandoned urban lots in East Baltimore. Find out more at thisisnotgrass.com

John Bielenberg
Founder and Director