Date
Volume 18, Number 1
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Artwork by member of the Women Veterans Art Therapy Group.
Military
Maneuvers

When the School of Visual Arts was founded in 1947, most of the first students to enroll were World War II veterans who had a large part of the cost of their education underwritten by the U.S. government under the GI Bill of Rights. In 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill gave a boost to veterans’ benefits that had declined over the years, allowing more vets to go to school following their military service. As a result, 26 military veterans enrolled at SVA for the 2009–10 academic year. Many of these students meet monthly to share their military and academic experiences in a discussion group organized by Assistant Registrar Gemma Prosper-Brown.

One of the vets taking advantage of the new GI Bill is E. Adam Attia, who is a student in SVA’s BFA Photography Department. Attia applied and was accepted to the College while in high school, but he decided to defer his enrollment and enlist in the U.S. Army, where he served for more than three years as a geospatial analyst, including two tours of duty in Iraq. When he eventually matriculated at SVA, Attia found that many of the digital imaging skills he used for the collection and analysis of geographic data for the army were applicable to his study of photography. His army experience has also influenced his creative outlook. “The military is an environment made up of individuals from all walks of life, and I became fascinated by the diversity around me,” says Attia. “In my photography, I focus on human flaws, as well as man’s effects on the surrounding world.”

The MPS Art Therapy Department has also made efforts to assist the current generation of veterans. In 2008, the department organized the Women Veterans Art Therapy Group, which allows student therapists to provide participants with a space to work through issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder. On Veterans Day 2009, the department presented “Tears Dried Solid,” an exhibition of work by the 10 participants in the group at the Lyons Wier Gallery in Chelsea. [Alia Dalal]

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Stage Presence

Photo by John Marcus

The School of Visual Arts class of 2010 will march across the stage at Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan for the College’s annual Commencement exercises on Friday, May 14. As part of the ceremony, the graduates, their families and the rest of the SVA community will hear an address from this year’s featured speaker, award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner. Kushner’s plays include Angels in America; Homebody/Kabul; and Caroline, or Change, a musical written in collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori. He also penned the screenplays for Mike Nichols’ film version of Angels in America and for Steven Spielberg’s film Munich. The writer’s most recent play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, received its world premiere at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in May 2009 and will open in New York City later in 2010.

Kushner joins an impressive roster of individuals who have spoken at SVA Commencement exercises in recent years; the list includes biographer Robert Caro, New York Times columnist Frank Rich and author Lynne Truss. In addition to giving his address to this year’s graduating students, Kushner will also receive an honorary doctoral degree from the SVA Board of Directors. [Brian Glaser]

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Going Pro

For the spring 2010 semester, SVA’s Division of Continuing Education began offering a series of professional development courses called Art and Industry. These classes are specially designed to enhance professional skills in the business of art, marketing, project management and other professional practices. In addition, there are courses that address specific disciplines, such as photography and fashion accessory design.

Courses in the series include: Ten Things Every Artist Should Know, a seminar exploring grants, copyright, contracts, and more; The Business of Art: How to Plan, Launch and Grow a Creative Business, which is presented from the perspective of a creative talent contemplating life as a business owner or equity partner; Law School for Visual Artists: Know Your Rights and How to Protect Yourself, a practical approach to legal topics for visual artists; and Creating Your Own Fashion or Accessory Company, which lays out the necessary steps for turning designs into a business. Across the board, this series of offerings is intended to help creative minds broaden their horizons by focusing on the knowledge and skills needed to have a sustainable career in art and design.

For more information on these and other courses in the Division of Continuing Education, visit sva.edu/ce or call 212.592.2251.[Asha De Costa]

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For What
It's Worth



As a response to the effects of the economic recession on the art world, students in the BFA Visual and Critical Studies Department decided to take money out the equation for their fall 2009 exhibition, “Outpost.” Rather than offer their works for sale, the artists invited the public to barter goods and services in exchange for paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. To match the unconventional system of exchange, the students chose to forgo trying to show the work in a conventional gallery and instead converted an unused studio into an exhibition space. Next to each work was a “mailbox” where visitors could submit their offers.

The exhibition grew out of a series of discussions in a drawing class taught by faculty member and exhibition organizer Amy Wilson about the reluctance some artists have about pricing their works and exhibiting them in a traditional gallery space. Reflecting the mission of the BFA Visual and Critical Studies Department, which fosters the development of both creative and analytical skills, the exhibitors also produced critical materials such as an essay, a blog and an information booth at the College’s 133/141 West 21st Street building. These efforts helped expand “Outpost” into a larger inquiry into the relationship between art and commerce.

The public responded to the exhibition by making a variety of offers to the artists, including groceries, custom-composed poetry, Web site creation services and even a session with a psychoanalyst. “‘Outpost’ provided a remarkable opportunity to see how much people really value art,” says Wilson. “Money can be something you lose sense of, but the effort and time put into, say, cleaning someone’s apartment is something very real and tangible. And yet, people were willing to trade this sort of thing for works that they wanted to own.” [Alia Dalal]

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Credits            From the President            sva.edu