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Toy Story: Students learn art of toy design

April 25, 2014 12:00AM

It’s not often that university students get to sit around and play with toys in class, but that’s exactly what some art students are doing this semester.

 Sort of.

 The new Toy Design class in the Pittsburg State Department of Art gives students a hands-on lesson of the world of toy design.

 “This course is an attempt to help students understand the industry and art of toy design,” said Associate Professor Portico Bowman. “I like to call this the ‘beta version’ of the course, because this is the first time it’s ever been taught here.”

 Bowman said she believes the course has proved to be a valuable asset in the educational experience of art students.

 “Students have studied the mechanics of toy making, such as how to make things move, the philosophy and psychology of toys and the purpose of play, while looking at the toy industry to analyze trends and marketing strategies with an eye to pitfalls and toy making practices that could be challenged and changed,” she said. “It’s very exciting to see everybody find their own place within this giant world of toy design, and I’ve been extremely impressed with the results.”

 The class involves more than just art, however. The Department of Art has teamed up with the College of Technology to provide the students with 3-D prints of the toys they design.

 “This is one of the few courses that we’ve offered here that takes two fairly dissimilar areas across campus and combined them into one course,” said Norm Philipp, assistant professor in the School of Construction. “What this does is gives the students a better representation of what’s actually going on within industry in terms of cross-collaboration. It lets the students see both facets so that they can put something together and put it out into the world.”

 The toys, books and games that have been created in the course will be available for purchase during a Toy Sale on the Oval from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. onThursday, May 1. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to SafeHouse Crisis Center.

©2014 Pittsburg State University