Matthew Najarian ’17 inspires dialogue on campus through art

Shared Voices encourages meaningful conversations about political, social, and cultural issues

Shared Voices - Matthew Najarian
Matthew Najarian '17 (center) poses with a group of students featuring his work.

By Seth Tamarkin '20

Matthew Najarian '17 worked hard to finish his senior project for the College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) and begin his career in graphic design. Only five months later, Najarian returned to campus as an alumnus to participate in a panel discussion on Shared Voices, the project that began as his senior thesis.

Najarian created Shared Voices as a poster series aimed at encouraging students to consider how they talk about political, social, and cultural issues. He also wanted to spark discussion among students, which happened in October, when Najarian presented an artist’s talk and joined a panel of students who talked about their views on diversity, inclusion, and community on campus.

As a student, Najarian found motivation for his project in UMassD’s diverse community and the students who tried to create meaningful change. Now as an alumnus, he is encouraged to see faculty, staff, and administration empowering students to take part in social, political, and cultural discussions.

“It speaks volumes about the community at UMass Dartmouth,” he said.

Pushing the boundaries of graphic design

Najarian works as an artist for Wayfair and as a freelance graphic designer creating print and animations for clientele. He is pleased, and a bit shocked, that his project has lived on.

“It was the interest and excitement of the faculty that really made that dream possible,” Najarian said. “Without their connections, partial funding, and willingness to commit to my vision, Shared Voices would've been nothing more than a senior thesis project.”

Energized by the reception of Shared Voices, Najarian wants to continue to push boundaries through graphic design. "Graphic designers possess unique ways of conveying information and expressing emotion," he said. He views his work on campus as integral to “creating a dialogue where these issues can be discussed early for students so that they might change the world in a positive way.”

More information: Feature story: Matthew Najarian '17

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