September 15, 2022

Dana Arnett and Kevin Bethune Interview Jane Saks

Saks is the President and Artistic Director of Project&, and the co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of M2M: Monuments to Movements

VSA CEO Dana Arnett and dreams • design + life CCO Kevin Bethune recently interviewed Jane Saks, the president and artistic director of Project&. She is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of M2M: Monuments to Movements.

In this episode, Saks shares the origin stories behind the many projects that make up her “collaged life,” how she redesigns traditional spaces to be inclusive and expansive, and how she engages a variety of artists, architects, designers and writers to take on some of the biggest social justice challenges of our time.

Here’s a quote from Saks during their chat, on the complementary roles of art and design, and the role of art as “a second respondent”:

“When you need blood and sandbags and shelter and food, you don’t call it an art, right? It’s not the first to get there at the fire. Now, it can soothe a baby who’s crying—I’m not saying it isn’t often a first responder, but it’s really a second respondent. And that’s where the idea of design and architecture and art and culture really come together. As a second respondent, we get to be reflective. We get to risk, we get to be courageous, make mistakes. We can’t make mistakes as a first responder, right? And so that’s where the properties of these fields really kind of overlap. So if you have a chance to rethink building shelter, what does that look like? What does that feel like? How does it make people feel? And so as a second respondent, you can question. And it also means that you can commit to getting deeper and deeper into the problem. That’s what art and culture does. It’s what design is and it’s what architecture does.”

“The Design of Business | The Business of Design” is a podcast from Design Observer, now in its 10th season. Dana Arnett and Kevin Bethune co-host the show, exploring how design works within complex organizations to shape decisions and processes, drive innovation, evolve products and services, and more.

Click here to listen to the episode and learn more about this Design Observer podcast.

Dana Arnett

Dana Arnett

Chief Executive Officer

Dana is the guiding force behind VSA’s creation of brand programs, digital and interactive initiatives and marketing solutions for its diverse roster of world-class clients. In his current role, Dana leads enterprise activities at VSA including strategic planning, growth initiatives, people development and the integration of the firm’s diverse capabilities. Since founding VSA with Robert Vogele, his career has been steeped in design leadership, policymaking, business and brand consulting, and a long record of public service. He has been recognized internationally by multiple organizations for his contributions to design and design thinking, including the Smithsonian Institute. In 2016, Arnett worked with the State Department under the Obama Administration to brand and launch Spark, the first-ever government led global entrepreneurship initiative. Dana is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale, a recipient of the AIGA Medal, a former board member of the Architecture & Design Society at the Art Institute of Chicago, Project &, and has served as National President of the AIGA.