DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES
TRINITY CHURCH WALL STREET, NEW YORK NY
Rea Ackerman has a BS in Art Education from New York University and attended classes at Pratt Institute for graphic design. Before working at Trinity Church Wall Street she worked for 12 years with her husband Dennis Di Vincenzo as co-creative directors at Di Vincenzo Design, and before that worked 8 years as design director at Price Waterhouse. In her current post, she plans and implements comprehensive strategies for promoting, communicating and marketing the mission, vision and core values of the institution. She manages the Creative Services team responsible for design and production of all the collateral materials needed to support Trinity’s ministries. In her 15 years at Trinity, Rea and her team have implemented two brand identities, as well as designed and produced: a year-long campaign celebrating St. Paul’s Chapel 250th anniversary, with fifty 6 x 2 ft posters installed outdoors and an exhibit within the chapel; a campaign for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, with an exhibit within St. Paul’s Chapel and an interactive art installation on the fence; an award-winning coffee table book, Trinity Near and Far, Now and Then; signage packages for Trinity’s new building, Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel and the uptown cemetery; and curated exhibits within the museum at Trinity Church. One of Rea’s highlights was Trinity’s partnership with a local elementary school where she was able to volunteer to work on art projects with the children and teachers.
Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?
The pandemic has forced us to reexamine our workplace and our workflow. It has forced us to evolve our staff and skills to support this changing environment, to be flexible and to understand, refine, clarify and help define different workflows, responsibilities and processes. We have realized that staff can work at home and still get the work done. However, being away from each other during the workday can be isolating. Finding a work-family balance can be stressful depending on a person’s home life. It may not be ideal, but because we are all in this together, we are making it work. There will be a new normal in the future where people will balance their work schedule with what works best for them and their co-workers, some days working at home and some days at the office.
What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?
2021 will be a time to overcome the 2020 challenges, it will open up new paths to create work that were not there before. Designers will be thinking of creative ways to refresh and recreate their environment, how they work and how they can help other businesses grow, it will be a time to rebuild and grow. New businesses will need designers to help get their businesses started and existing businesses will need designs refreshed. Office space will have a whole new look, as will public transportation. Designers will getback to work with more opportunities to think creatively. 2020 made me think of how fortunate I am to work at Trinity, a place whose core values are social justice, inclusiveness, compassion, faith, integrity and stewardship, a place that cares, a place that supports the community with free concerts, food for those in need, health and education classes for adults and children, and a place that has kept their entire staff employed. This past year has made me see how important it is to design for a place that helps make the world a better place. Working at Trinity, helped me stay strong and positive, alleviate my anger when I saw the hatred unfold in 2020 politics, and maintain faith that the loss of lives and businesses will end and we will get back to a new normal.
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