Bowie State Makes History As First HBCU To Have A Stop-Motion Animation Studio


February 5, 2021

They’re breaking new ground!

Bowie State University, the oldest Historically Black College and University in Maryland, has partnered with the Oscar-nominated animation house LAIKA to build a stop-motion animation studio. According to the press release, “The partnership will enhance BSU’s animation curriculum, with the goal of providing a career pathway for BSU students into the animation industry.” This is the first collaboration of its kind at an HBCU.

“This is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that will carry them into the professional world of animation,” Tewodross Melchishua Williams, chair of the BSU Department of Fine & Performing Arts, said in a statement. “There are a lot of storytelling and narrative elements that have yet to be brought to life via stop-motion animation, especially in the arena of children’s programming. We are looking at this partnership to be an internship and career pipeline that can help diversify the animation industry, which has been a traditionally underrepresented sector when it comes to the voices of people of color, women, LGBTQ and other communities.”


LAIKA donated funds to upgrade Bowie’s green screen studio to enable students to produce stop-motion animations. The collaboration will also allow for the development of internship opportunities for the students; LAIKA said it is “committed to making a long-term investment at Bowie State to prepare students for success in the animation industry.”



“LAIKA is thrilled to be partnering with as prestigious an institution as Bowie State University,” LAIKA’s head of production, Arianne Sutner, said in a statement. “At its heart, LAIKA is a community of artists, craftspeople, and scientists committed to expanding the technological capabilities of our animation medium in order to tell everyone’s stories with boldness, compassion, and excellence. Helping BSU students to express their experience, their artistry, and their potential through the stop motion art form speaks to our creative and corporate mandate. We’re so excited to explore their talents and to provide mentorship and tools that will enlarge the scope of their filmmaking vision.”

The animation & motion graphics concentration is part of the visual communication & digital media arts bachelor’s degree program, one of the fastest-growing majors at the university. And this year, LAIKA celebrated its 15th anniversary with five films nominated for Academy Awards for “Outstanding Animated Feature Film.”

This is an amazing opportunity and we look forward to seeing what you all create! Congratulations, Bowie State!


Photo Credit: Bowie State University

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