UCF and Universal launch ‘Creative Lab’ for themed design

 UCF and Universal launch ‘Creative Lab’ for themed design


Subsequent semester, choose grasp’s college students on the College of Central Florida will name Universal Orlando their classroom.

By a partnership with Common Artistic, UCF’s Themed Experience program is offering a Creative Lab course the place college students will find out about leisure design and improvement within the classroom and at Common’s artistic headquarters in Orlando whereas creating their very own initiatives.

This system will assist college students make skilled connections as they acquire “hands-on, real-world expertise” within the challenge improvement course of, Common Artistic President Mike Hightower mentioned in a press release. Different program leaders mentioned it additionally helps the theme park firm mentor rising designers, together with these from underrepresented backgrounds.

“This type of studying is nice for UCF college students, nice for our theme parks and leisure, and nice for Common Artistic as we assist develop and encourage the subsequent technology of creators,” Hightower mentioned.

The primary UCF/Common Artistic Lab course subsequent spring will solely be supplied to graduate college students within the Themed Expertise program, which trains college students to create points of interest, displays and different experiences for venues corresponding to theme parks and museums.

Subsequent summer season, the lab will open a six-week class to graduate and upper-class undergraduate college students from throughout UCF or any accredited faculty or college, in accordance with the college.

“Not each program has the benefit that we have now of being situated proper right here within the coronary heart of the trade,” mentioned Peter Weishar, founding director of the Themed Expertise program. “So you might be an impressive designer who’s seeking to work at Common finally, however situated out of state — you might come right here for the summer season and take this class.”

College students should signal non-disclosure agreements with Common. Despite the fact that they won’t be engaged on upcoming initiatives with Common firsthand, college students will nonetheless be studying about issues in improvement and displaying Common’s groups their very own initiatives, Weishar mentioned.

“On one hand, we don’t need them speaking about commerce secrets and techniques exterior of sophistication, and however they need to agree that they know they’re displaying their work to Common,” he mentioned.

Common Artistic plans, designs and builds leisure throughout Common’s theme parks, from curler coasters to accommodations and eating places. A lot of its employees are engaged on the Orlando resort’s third theme park, Epic Universe, slated to open in 2025.

The category is anticipated to be fashionable, however it’s going to solely have the ability to admit about 20 college students every semester, Weishar mentioned. This system has 62 college students enrolled in its Grasp of Nice Arts and Grasp of Science tracks this fall after graduating its first class in May.

College students will break up their time between UCF’s lecture rooms and Common.

“They’re going to go on subject journeys to Common, whether or not or not it’s within the parks and resorts, strolling the rides after hours, [and] spending time with the experience designers, operators and engineers speaking about the way it’s all put collectively,” he mentioned. “And a few courses, we’ll be going to the Common Artistic studio workplaces and speaking to designers. They’re going to find out about mental property and authorized points and all the opposite issues that go into making a themed atmosphere.”

Weishar mentioned the course has been in improvement for a few yr. It was initially pitched by Mike West, a Common Artistic and Walt Disney Imagineering veteran who serves on this system’s advisory council, and West arrange a gathering between Common and the Themed Expertise group.

“They cherished the concept from the beginning, and so they set about attempting to make it occur,” Weishar mentioned. However it needed to undergo a number of groups at UCF and Common to get approval first.

The lab is a “multi-year dedication” from UCF and Common that Weishar hopes will assist college students domesticate their artistic kinds.

It additionally goals to extend variety and illustration within the theme park design trade. Experts say the field skews white and male, and it may be onerous for aspiring designers from non-traditional backgrounds to entry.

“The course opens up alternatives for brand new and numerous views for aspiring creators from all around the globe — which is able to solely profit our thriving trade,” Chris Oliver, vice chairman of engineering and security at Common Artistic, mentioned in a press release.

Weishar mentioned some scholarship cash is offered for college kids who want monetary assist to take the course.

“I don’t know if we’ll change the world, however we’re positively doing as a lot as we will for this class,” he mentioned.

krice@orlandosentinel.com and @katievrice on Twitter


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