BYU-Hawaii student and Kahuku resident Marisa Santeco said designing for Culture Night was the first large-scale project she had ever taken on in her work with Student Leadership and Services.
“Accepting the challenge to design for Culture Night was exciting but also a little scary. Everything was left to my discretion, and at first I honestly had no idea what I was going to do,” said Santeco, a senior studying graphic design.
“My initial idea was to design using illustrations. I spent about 2-3 weeks working on illustrations for each culture. I never felt like it was quite right, and after discussing and brainstorming with my supervisor, we decided that it would be best to use pictures.”
Santeco said she wanted her designs to be accurate representations of the school and the experience of Culture Night while also showcasing her artistic ability. “I wanted to create something that would draw people’s attention,” she explained.
“I worked a lot with the university photographer, Monique Saenz, and I could not have done it without her. We worked to find the best photos to include in my designs. We especially tried to represent students who are still attending the school as all the photos were taken from previous culture nights.”
Santeco said it was rewarding when she had finally completed her designs and got to see them come to life through print. “It was such a surreal experience for me to take something I had worked so hard on for countless hours and distribute it to my school and the community I had grown up in.”
The Culture Night designs were included on several banners, trading cards, and posters around campus, and they were also displayed throughout communities from Hauula to Turtle Bay Resort.
Santeco said Culture Night holds a special place in her heart because she has experienced it throughout her life. “Culture Night is always a reminder to me as to why I love this university so much. It is one of the events that truly shows the beauty of the diversity of the school. I wanted to make sure that was shown in my designs.”
Santeco comes from a diverse background, which she said has helped her to be more understanding of other cultures and find appreciation for the unique differences between them. “My mom is from Thailand and my dad is from the Philippines. I also served a mission in Bolivia, so I have been exposed to South American culture as well.”
She said she has also been surrounded by the local culture around her. “I have lived here all my life. Growing up I danced in a Halau, which exposed me more to Polynesian culture. In designing for Culture Night, I tried to follow the Spirit as best I could to make sure I was representing each culture equally and appropriately.”
Santeco performed with the Latin America chapter and said she was excited to see the rest of the chapters at Culture Night.
NOTE: This story's online publication was delayed because it was going to be featured in the May 2017 print issue.