Coast Guard teams up with MassArt on graphic arts project

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — The U.S. Coast Guard and Massachusetts College of Art and Design teamed up this winter to develop a series of multimedia projects designed to help educate the public about Coast Guard missions.

By law, the Coast Guard has 11 missions:

  • Ports, waterways, and coastal security
  • Drug interdiction
  • Aids to navigation
  • Search and rescue
  • Living marine resources
  • Marine safety
  • Defense readiness
  • Migrant interdiction
  • Marine environmental protection
  • Ice operations
  • Other law enforcement


The 1st Coast Guard District public affairs office in Boston reached out to MassArt last summer to get some ideas on how to share those missions visually.

“In public affairs, it’s our job to keep Americans informed about how the Coast Guard gets the job done,” said Lt. Joe Klinker, 1st Coast Guard District public affairs officer. “We could just do that the old-fashioned way through news releases and the occasional TV appearance, but the age of new media opens up endless possibilities for creativity. That’s where MassArt came in.”

The goal of the project was to work with students who would come to the table with fresh perspectives and an ambition for visual storytelling, said Klinker. Klinker teamed up with Lisa Rosowsky, a graphic design professor at MassArt, to come up with a plan that met everyone’s needs.

Each of Rosowsky’s students were assigned a mission and then told to arrange visits to units throughout the northeast. After several weeks of visits to boat stations, cutters, air stations, and other operational units, the students presented their projects.

“Our students got the experience of going out on the water, of going inside the facilities and actually talking with the people who were involved in the day to day missions of the Coast Guard,” Rosowsky said.

While some of the work has already been used in boating safety campaigns and news releases, the 1st Coast Guard District intends to work with students over the months ahead to ensure that every detail is ready for public visibility.

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