Historically Black Bowie State University Upgrades Its Animation Program

LAIKA, the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning feature film animation studio best known for Missing Link, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Coraline, is partnering with Bowie State University to build the nation’s first stop-motion animation studio at a historically Black college and university. The partnership will enhance the university’s animation curriculum, with the goal of providing a career pathway for Bowie State students into the animation industry.

LAIKA’s donation will fund upgrades to Bowie State’s green screen studio to allow stop-motion animation production. The art form, one of cinema’s oldest techniques, entails the incremental movement of objects, such as puppets, filmed 24 times per second to create the illusion of movement.

“This is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that will carry them into the professional world of animation,” said Tewodross Melchishua Williams, chair of the university’s department of fine & performing arts. “There are a lot of storytelling and narrative elements that have yet to be brought to life via stop-motion animation, especially in the arena of children’s programming. We are looking at this partnership to be an internship and career pipeline that can help diversify the animation industry, which has been a traditionally underrepresented sector when it comes to the voices of people of color.”

Williams is a graduate of Morgan State Univerity in Baltimore. He earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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