Designers Respond to Crisis

 This month, has been one of witnessing communities respond to catastrophe through information, art, and action.

Local artists, including our own Alicia Diane Durand, submitted designs for posters and t-shirts to benefit flood victimsFrom Phillip Maddox, creator of

After watching more news in one weekend than I've probably ever sat through in my entire life, I was completely amazed at the widespread destruction. Twitter and Facebook were both buzzing with friends of mine who had to evacuate or had lost everything in some cases. 

I decided to put my skills to work where I felt they would benefit those in need the most. I kicked things off with a design I created based around the concept of lifting up not only the spirits of our neighbors who had loss, but also a visual representation of lifting Nashville out of the waters. Then, I put out an open invitation to my constituents and on the site for designers to submit their work to help.

Photos from

The 2010 Nashville Flood

 Alphachimp Studio was founded in Chicago in 1998 and spent five years in Pittsburgh. Since 2007, we have called Nashville home. Starting May 1st, storms rolled into Middle Tennessee that would bring over 20 inches of rain in some areas in just 2 days. The Cumberland River, which runs through the heart of downtown Nashville, rose over 51 feet, it's highest in over 80 years. The devastation is nearly immeasurable and early estimates are already at $1.5 billion and climbing.

Sunday night the local news and internet was filled with images and video reveling the scope of the disaster: the flooded city, inundated little towns, marooned suburban neighborhoods, and sunken landmarks, including the Grand Ole Opry, the epicenter of country music and crowned jewel of Music City. see more photos >>

We were proud to see Tennesseans pulling together and pulling each other out of harm’s way.

Within days, visual and musical artists brought their talents forward as a vehicle for raising awareness and much needed support, including a 4-hour local telethon hosted by musician Vince Gill that raised $1.7 million.

Alphachimp is proud to be a small part of the effort, along with several other local designers, with an original poster design by Alicia Diane Durand for Lift Up Nashville.

All proceeds will go directly to Flood Relief - Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund.

On the amazing side, we watched social networkers and bloggers coordinate efforts, largely due to Hands on Nashville, to resue the stranded, deliver much needed supplies, and identify crisis areas.  

On the curious side... no one in the country seemed to know about it! Read more on the social media role in recovery efforts in this article from the Nashville City Paper titled: Marketing Community Tragedy.

Later in the month, we participated in a conversation in Chicago bringing together innovators on the edge of mapping and stopping the effects of natural and man-made disasters. For more, read post on PopTech's Social Crisis, Social Mapping & Social Change.

The main lesson: When tragedy stikes and a feeling of helplessness sets in, get into action, use the skills and network you have, and always ask: "How can I be of service?"