The MFA program I’d attended at The School of Visual Arts in NY–“Illustration as Visual Essay” (class of ’99)–was celebrating its 30th year and they’d invited all the alumni for a special exhibition and reception. It had been almost exactly 5 years since I was in NY last; I was there to do the 2009 NY marathon, which is a lousy way to visit a city, btw. The whole time you’re worrying about your legs and it was just no fun. Well this time around I got to participate in the marathon only as a spectator, and the rest of the time it was all about reconnecting with friends and EATING. But that’s for another post.
The SVA festivities started at 3:30pm at the SVA Theater in Chelsea, where Marshall Arisman, the Chairman and founder of the program, as well as other longtime instructors, spoke a bit about the program and showed some fun reels of alumni work created especially for the occasion. After that the party moved to the SVA Chelsea Gallery (which wasn’t even around when I was going to school and was rather posh!) for a private reception with all the alumni and instructors. It was so good to chat with alumni and instructors old and new, and while lots may have changed with the facilities and whatnot the soul of the program had not. They still only accept 20 students per year, which means it’s only 40 of us at any given time, and that meant some of use developed some pretty tight bonds. Even though there are no alumni near me in LA, whenever I visit the east coast and meet up with Adam, Eileen, Patricia, Hui-Jin and Sean, the years just kind of melt away. I was bummed not more of us could be there, but it was good to be able to mingle and chat with alumni from other years. This is a truly extraordinary program and I hope for its continued success and longevity.