Florida International University’s newest facility at Biscayne Bay Campus held its grand opening Wednesday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Inc., and FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) partnered up for The Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator, a facility offering FIU art and design students the resources and space needed to bring their business ideas to life.
The Ratcliffe Foundation donated $831,000 to build the modern 2,358 square-foot space.
“The idea behind the incubator was to find a way to help students participate in the creative economy,” said Brian Schriner, the dean of CARTA. “We reached out to the Ratcliffe Foundation and they liked the mission.”
The incubator brought in two designers to help mentor 15 students, also known as Ratcliffe Fellows. Each fellow is awarded $7,500 scholarship for tuition for each year spent at the incubator.
“We had to go through this long process, submit photos of our artwork, artist statements, resumes and a few interviews,” said fellow Victoria Carballo, owner of Lots of Pots, a small ceramics studio that sells personalized pots.
“The incubator has helped a lot because it takes you from the position of having an idea and you want to take it to the market, and the incubator helps you in connecting you with people in the field who have connections and know how to help you” said fellow Hector Brignone, owner of BUNDL, a speaker holder for bikes.
FIU President Mark Rosenberg voiced his approval of the program.
“I’m really proud of CARTA. I’m proud of the students and faculty members. I think the incubator is going to really help foster creativity and more importantly, products that can go to market, products that are of need on one hand and help generate employment on the other hand,” Rosenberg said. “The incubator is going to help students work with people who know how to commercialize high-quality products, students need to have hands-on experience, employers are looking for that.”
Visit http://carta.fiu.edu/ratcliffe/ For more information on The Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator and how to apply for the fellowship.