AWE: Animation Workshop Educators



AWE: Animation Workshop Educators is a team of artist/animators/academics who share their love of animation with youth in playful, participatory workshop settings. Incorporating media literacy through social, cultural and film history, youth are encouraged to express their own voices through animation. They do this by considering contemporary questions, and engaging with creative play.

Individually or in small teams, participants create animated shorts. Working within conceptual and technical parameters, they consider an issue and brainstorm, design characters, construct characters, storyboard, animate, edit, add titles, credits and create a soundtrack. Within this process, there are many moments of AWE, as characters come alive, problems are solved, and ideas are realized.

This AWE is the most satisfying part of our teaching.

One goal is to design authentic learning experiences. Since 2006, we have participated with the AWG: ASIFA Workshop Group, where each year children in over 20 countries around the world create animation towards a common theme. Last year’s theme was color and our color was yellow.

To celebrate our process, and have some fun ourselves, the AWE team created an animation, Animated Collaboration. Our animated moving painting showcases the playfulness and the animation of the animation team… and the kids who have taken our workshops.


AWE: Animation Workshop Educators is Deanna Morse, Gretchen Vinnedge, Maggie Annerino, Lynn McKeown and Suzanne Zack. In Animated Collaboration, we worked with over 60 collaborators in 18 countries.

This collaboration works as an inter-generational, local/international project that expands problem solving skills and teaches ways to think visually.  As youth find and express their ideas to the global challenge; the result is colorful and creative animation play. And this participatory art develops more critical viewing skills.

Animated Collaboration was featured in the Collaboration Show at the UICA (Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts), Grand Rapids, MI, in fall, 2014 and in Holland, MI during winter 2015. Our student animation “Yellow: ticket” won best animation at the KDL Teen Film Festival in 2015.

AWE partners with the CMC Education Department, Grand Valley State University, and ASIFA/Central, USA.