Although receiving a degree from SVA is an individual accomplishment, recent educational research points convincingly to the critical role that support from peers plays in academic achievement. It is clear, I think, that relationships make the educational experience not only more successful, but more enjoyable. Whether the individuals are classmates or faculty members, these interactions provide the kinds of motivation that are indispensable for achievement.
This is a topic I address in speaking to students at SVA's Orientation program, when I urge the newest members of our community to look around the room at the individuals who will one day be their professional colleagues. In truth, this is a subject that could be addressed by any of our more than 27,000 alumni. They know better than I that the relationships formed at SVA serve them well far beyond their years in school here. That fact is very much in evidence in the pages of this issue of Visual Arts Journal, where you'll read several stories about the accomplishments that have arisen out of mutual critique and collaboration.
In "Under the Influence," acclaimed artist Tim Rollins, an alumnus of the BFA Fine Arts Department who now teaches in the program, pays tribute to longtime faculty member Robert Murray, who took Rollins under his wing in the 1970s, helping him to make work that is "both radical and transcendent."
As discussed in "Digital Publishing: Unrestricted Access," a similar ambition brought together two students in the BFA Illustration and Cartooning
Department to create a comics magazine specifically for the iPad. Trent Thompson teamed up with classmate Amedeo Turturro to launch INK with the belief that, "In digital, the only thing restricting you from telling your story in the best possible manner is you, the creator."
You'll see the benefits of mentor-mentee relationships in "Color Commentary," which features a selection of work by students graduating from the BFA Photography Department. Through a program begun at SVA 20 years ago, Department Chair Stephen Frailey enlists leading professionals from every corner of the New York arts community to mentor a student pro bono. The experience culminates with an annual exhibition at SVA that is notable for the quality and diversity of the work shown.
As you'll come to understand as you read this issue, whether their medium is comics or photography, T-shirts or performance, our alumni and faculty continue to push the boundaries of their individual fields—thanks, in no small part, to the relationships formed at SVA.