Cultural Enrichers

Cultural Enrichers and projects
At Culturally Enriched Communities, we recognize that around the world, there are daring and caring people and teams who use design to create communities in which everyone can thrive. Our goal is to foster synergies and give visibility to these innovative ideas as we firmly believe that the answers we are looking for in creating a just and equitable world are right here, in front of our eyes, if we know where to look. Use this form to nominate Cultural Enrichers and their projects. Projects of all scales and at any state of development in design education and practice can be nominated.

Traci Engel Lesneski – CEO, Principal, MSR Design
“I created an MSR Design-sponsored series of public forums (NextDesign) focused on the intersection of social issues and design. I also conduct a series of workshops around the globe for non-designers exploring the linkages between the built environment and inclusion. Internally, I founded an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) working group that examines MSR Design’s practice, process, and projects and hosts regular firmwide conversations with the goal to improve in each area. MSR Design is the first MN architecture firm to attain a JUST 2.0 label.”

Tina Patel – Assistant Professor of Interior Design,
Kent State University

“With a keen interest in current social injustices, I started reading An American Summer- Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz, which focuses on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by segregation policies and witnessing violence. Foluké Cultural Arts Center in Cleveland uses art to end poverty, racism, and discrimination. A haven for at-risk youth, they wanted to expand their services by acquiring a new building in Cleveland. I introduced this as a studio project so students can sharpen their understanding of others with different realities as well as expose them to the role of art in ending poverty and exclusion. Another goal was to provide the organization with a prototype.”  

Betsy Vohs – Founder and CEO at Studio BV
“As designers we can use our talents to help make a difference in our community and work with organizations to maximize the value of buildings and spaces. I believe good design can change everything.”

Leif Kutschera – Artist and designer
“In the wake of George Floyd’s murder I knew I had a responsibility to do something. But would doing something actually be harmful by taking up more space as a White person? The best action I could take was to use my talents as an artist. I painted a series of watercolor bleeding hearts to auction off, reaching out to businesses who offered their services from framing to printing pro bono. After rallying several other local artists to join, I created a publicized event in which all proceeds benefited rebuilding areas of Minneapolis affected by the protests. I connected with my community in grief and put that pain into something actionable.”