Students, faculty, and alumni make their mark for student scholarships

Students, faculty, and alumni make their mark for student scholarships

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni from Ringling College of Art and Design collaborated with Maker’s Mark Distillery to produce a series of uniquely designed bottles of bourbon called, Make Your Mark. The project is part of the College’s Industry Experience (INDEX) program, which creates opportunities for students to gain real work experience while still in college. Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and self-proclaimed bourbon aficionado, Jeff Schwartz was integral to the project. Schwartz and a group from the College visited the distillery in June 2023, where they tasted and selected the barrel, which was bottled that September. The barrel was donated to the College by Maker’s Mark. 

After culling their network and putting out an open call to students, faculty, and staff, they distributed bottles to the artists for design. The project was launched at the College’s annual fundraising event, Avant-Garde, with the auctioning off of eleven of the art object bottles. There are 24 bottles currently on view in the Special Collections at the Alfred R. Goldstein Library through the end of the month. Between 50 and 70 bottles will be transformed into works of art in the coming weeks and available to be auctioned at events. Proceeds from the auctions will support student scholarships. 

Schwartz shared, “We’ve raised $2,100 on 11 bottles so far, which is great. Our goal is to create and auction 200 bottles total, and the rest will be offered to actually consume, either at events or to go along with the art objects for purchase—offering one to collect and one to drink.” 

The artworks made for, on, or around each bottle vary drastically, from hand-painted works to sewn cloth embellishments, to sculptures, and even a wooden birdhouse. Schwartz also created 60 custom red oak boxes to cradle the bottles. The graphics for the boxes were designed by Graphic Design Department Head Jeff Bleitz and laser cut by photographer and digital services coordinator Nancy Nassiff. Several of the boxes were incorporated into the artwork created for the bottles. 

Make Your Mark, Ringling College of Art and Design collaboration with Maker’s Mark Distillery

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