New School News

Parsons School of Design Launches an Innovative Virtual Art, Design, and Fashion Festival Celebrating Student Resilience and Creativity

Parsons School of Design has launched  Parsons Festival 2020, a virtual celebration of graduating students, intellectual, innovative, and cutting-edge artistic achievements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented students with many challenges; they have responded by demonstrating a heightened level of resilience, flexibility, and creativity, reflected in their exceptional work. This year’s group of artists, designers, filmmakers, illustrators, architects, and photographers have produced a body of work that encourages repeated viewings and immersion.

On view now is student work from programs including Architecture, Data Visualization, Fine Arts, Photography, Interior Design, and Strategic Design and Management. In the coming weeks, the work of Communication Design (to be announced), Integrated Design (to be announced), and Transdisciplinary Design (to be announced) students will be added to the website. And in early July, the School of Fashion, together with award-winning musician Solange Knowles and her creative agency, Saint Heron, will present Here and Now, a virtual festival highlighting the work of students in the Fashion program.

“Parsons students pivoted quickly and responded to the moment with creativity, resilience, and perseverance,” says Rachel Schreiber, executive dean of Parsons School of Design. “The added bonus of the extraordinary work that they’ve created for this virtual festival is that it can be shared with an even larger audience in the art and design community than ever before, and for a longer period of time. Despite the adversity presented by COVID-19, this festival embodies our students’ best qualities as designers, artists, strategists, and scholars who are committed to creative problem solving, critical thinking, and social justice.”

“When approached to design and develop the Parsons Festival online portal, we knew we wanted to create a platform that captured the excitement of graduation, while also highlighting the resilient spirit of the Parsons class,” says Alums Nika Fisher and Dylan Fisher of the design firm Labud and the website’s designers. “Through a series of lighthearted real-time interactions, we gave students the opportunity to celebrate together, but at a distance. The site keeps tally of these interactions and prominently displays how many users are currently viewing the site to reinforce this idea of a communal party and encourage users to come back for another visit.” 

Upcoming special events include, the School of Art and Design History and Theory’s Spring 2020 Festival showcase on May 30th, and on June 5th, the Urban Graduate programs at Parsons will host From the Epicenter: Infrastructures of Inclusion, a project that addresses the inequities and injustices of the last four decades of global development and economic growth policies.

Listed below are student projects that are currently on display.

School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) 

BFA and MFA Design and Technology

HINDSIGHT is an interactive thesis show celebrating the designers, creators, and innovators of Design and Technology’s Class of 2020. The work explores six themes:

  1. Memoirs, which calls for a re-examination of the self
  2. An analysis and examination of our Consumptive Habits
  3. Discoveries of new avenues for Self-Care
  4. New Solutions for seemingly intractable problems
  5. Innovative thinking about how we Articulate ideas in an ever-changing world
  6. Ways to Generate Fresh Questions prompted by the progress we have made and rearticulate old questions yet to be answered

 MS Data Visualization 

The department presents 18 projects that demonstrate students rigorous and painstaking research and analysis. The projects examine four themes: Data and Policy, Health and Livelihood, Media and Society, and Food and Culture. Projects include a visualization of American voters’ unconscious response to political advertising and media using brain data, and an exploration of the relationship between the climate crisis and sleep health. 

BFA and MFA Fine Arts 

This virtual show features the artwork by graduating students in painting, sculpture, video, installation, performance, and other media.  It showcases the depth and breadth of student approaches to art making. 

AAS Graphic Design 

This website is a landscape that links AAS Graphic Design students’ projects, reflecting cross-pollination and encounters of the familiar with the unexpected and presenting new meanings in the margins

BFA Illustration 

A wide range of authorial voices and creative applications are on display in the form of books, comics, zines, paintings, drawings, prints, animation, motion, film, sculpture, objects, and installation, demonstrating the versatility and resourcefulness of the senior class.

BFA Photography

This year’s extensive online exhibition is the culmination of work produced by a diverse group of student voices examining themes ranging from grief and mental illness, to Black identity, and the representation of marginalized individuals. 

School of Art and Design History and Theory (ADHT) 

MA Fashion Studies and MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies 

Students built a virtual video exhibition, using widely available digital collections such as those of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress. The resulting work covers a wide range of fashion studies topics, and serves as a laboratory for exploration and teaching through online collections.  

School of Constructed Environments (SCE) 

Master of Architecture 

Mobility is an overarching theme that has provided the framework for a range of individual architectural pursuits throughout the year. Students thought deeply about the design of subway stations, bicycle facilities, multi-modal transportation centers, and post-automobile transit in relation to the block structure of the city and equity surrounding changing infrastructures. 

BFA Architectural Design 

Student projects explore the human body and the human social body (or bodies), as constructed and framed through the material conditions of architecture, urban fabric, and interior space. 

MFA Industrial Design 

Students in this program created innovative and provocative designs that advance or challenge the field of product and industrial design, expanding the notion of product design to reflect a greater understanding of global supply and value chains and to address economic and social inequities.

AAS, BFA, and MFA Interior Design 

AAS students explored design concepts for residential, retail, workplace, and hospitality interiors, analyzing the relationship between interiors and the decorative arts. 

BFA students selected a New York City subculture or scene (such as punks, the Kiki Ball, and hipsters) and explored the way interiors allow these groups to emerge, grow, thrive, and sometimes die. Students laid the groundwork for the design of a space by analyzing the social and spatial infrastructure supporting the group.

MFA Interior Design students examined the relationship between interiors and the seclusion necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Phenomena explored include a re-definition of interiority resulting from the growing importance of home as a place of refuge and the role of technology.

MFA Lighting Design 

Student work addresses the relationship of lighting design to other disciplines connected with constructed environment and explores the potential of light and lighting design to respond to the most challenging questions facing our society and culture. 

BFA Product Design 

These projects consider objects and systems that address contemporary and speculative future realities including sustainability, manufacturing/labor, social justice, and technological change while exploring materials, fabrication, aesthetics, and social engagement in both local and global contexts.

School of Design Strategies (SDS) 

Parsons Scholars

Using a variety of materials, scholars created artworks focusing on the idea of family, highlighting ways art and culture can be seen, understood, and experienced. Parsons Scholars Program is a three-year college access art and design program for NYC public high school students.  

BBA and MS Strategic Design and Management 

Students designed solutions for partners including UNICEF, E. & J. Gallo, and L’Oreal, employing progressive and inclusive practices in developing strategies offering long-range actionable insights.

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