Category: FIT staff & faculty

She took one refurbished piano…

By , June 13, 2013 2:25 pm

… some primer, a little paint, 15 discarded music books, 1/3 gallon of glue, and created one of the 88 pianos re-envisioned by artists for Sing for Hope (a public arts organization in NYC). The artist responsible for this piano is Art and Design Dean’s Office staff member Amy Bauer.

In February Bauer submitted a proposal to be chosen as a Sing for Hope artist. She envisioned tearing pages from vintage music books and covering an entire piano with them. It’s in keeping with an artistic process that involves using discarded paper for works that have nostalgic and recycling themes.  

Being fine tuned

In March, Bauer received confirmation that her proposal was accepted. April and May were spent working on her masterpiece.

Being prepared for the elements

Until June 15 Bauer’s piano will remain outdoors for anyone to admire and/or play. The  piano will then be donated to a school or community center in NYC. 

Current location: On the porch of the Van Cortlandt House Museum in the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Tickling the keys.   Photo: Richard Hecht

Sunday, June 16 all of the pianos will be located at the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center for a free all-day celebration from 11:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.


For more information about Amy Bauer, her piano  and art work visit:

Photos by Amy Bauer

BFA – A Fair to Remember

By , October 5, 2012 4:31 pm

your hosts from the Dean’s Office, Amy, Ashley & Kim

A roomful of expertise — department chairs, professors and student advisers — were on hand at the BFA Fair on October 4th to speak with students interested in art and design BFA majors. “Students often don’t realize the offerings and the vast number of programs available to them,” says Professor Ellen Goldstein from accessories design. “The BFA Fair opens their eyes to a vast number of opportunities.”

Suzanne Anoushian, chair of communication department with prospective BFA student

Professor Anne Kong from visual presentation and exhibition design talking to students

“We talked about everything from job opportunities to majors and ours being more 3-dimensional,” said Professor Anne Kong.

Prof. Birgit Schwarz-Hickey from advertising design talking with students

Fashion design chair, Colette Wong talks to a curious student

“The BFA Fair is a wonderful opportunity for all Art & Design students,” says Colette Wong, chair of fashion design. “It’s informative even for students who know what their major will be. They learn more about the study abroad programs and any lingering questions get answered.”

Prof. Frederun Scholz of graphic design providing guidance

Prof. Sarah Mullins & Vasilios Christoflilakos, chair of accessories design

Prof. Sandra Krasovec advising prospective student of packaging design

“I had a very important conversation with students about what they can do after graduation,” said Jeff Way, assist. chair of fine arts. “We have graduates who come to the classroom to talk about what they are doing.”

Student advisors & textile design BFA majors Gabrielle Marino and Samantha Dines help out behind the swatches

Sara Petitt, chair of textile surface design

Ramon Campos holding an octopus  prototype made by alum Andres Garza

 Ramon Campos, a student adviser, switched to toy design after completing his AAS in illustration. He was on hand to help prospective students navigate the waters.



photos: Rachel Ellner


A storyteller by trade, Anne Kong honored

By , September 25, 2012 10:05 pm

Professor Anne Kong is in the news again, but this time the splash is all about her.  Kong was recently chosen by readers of a top design, architecture and marketing magazine DDI, as a 2012 Portfolio Award winner.  Kong was among eight others including architect John Bricker and author Paco Underhill who received the award. 

Anne Kong is the recipient of DDI magazine’s Portfolio Award

Asked by DDI to describe her design philosophy Kong said  “It has always been larger than life, which is why I love working on large-scale projects. I am a storyteller by trade and my exaggerations coincide with my personal style…I enjoy the challenge of pushing my design sensibilities into the uncomfortable realm. I am passionate about working collaboratively and seek out partnerships that can advance a process or experience. I see endless opportunities to create visual engagement.”

In June, Prof. Kong and 12 visual presentation and design students participated in DDI’s Student Window Challenge. The daylong window-dressing event was held at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fifth Avenue flagship store and ended with an awards presentation hosted by DDI and Saks.


photo used with permission


Meet Oliver Amato-Muzzy

By , August 28, 2012 3:44 pm

Please welcome Oliver, the latest member of the photography department’s extended canine family. The five-year-old Smooth Fox Terrier was adopted from a Rhode Island rescue facility by Ron Amato, chair of the photography department and his husband Seth Muzzy. “He’s changing every day,” says Amato. Oliver it appears has discriminating tastes. “Last night he was playing with all his toys. This morning he wanted nothing to do with them.” 

Oliver Amato-Muzzy

“Why the long face Oliver?” asks assistant chair Brad Paris the owner of a mutt named Pill.  Well for one thing Oliver had 11 teeth extracted last week, not long after being neutered. It’s a lot for a little fellow to go through, but Amato says his boy is very resilient.

Ron Amato, Oliver & Seth Muzzy

We hope for Oliver’s speedy recovery.

 photos: Ron Amato

Art & Design’s Sass Brown Appointed Acting Assistant Dean

By , August 13, 2012 4:39 pm

Sass Brown, our new Acting Assistant Dean, has been appointed to replace Dr. Erika Massaquoi, who left in April.  Brown is student-conscious,  eco-conscious,  a dedicated promoter of sustainable fashion, and about to publish her second book on eco fashion and accessories.

Acting Assistant Dean Sass Brown

“She not only has her heart in the right place but her intelligence and creativity as well,” says Dean Joanne Arbuckle. “Assistant Dean Brown has great knowledge of our fashion programs, and will be an enormous asset.”

Brown has been the Resident Director for FIT’s study abroad program in Florence and a full-time professor in the Fashion Design department. Brown received her BA in fashion design from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design  in the U.K. and her master’s in Global Fashion Management from FIT.

Before entering academia, Brown was a designer with her own signature collection in the U.K. and Canada. She has published papers and spoken around the world on the topic of sustainable design, worked and volunteered in women’s cooperatives in South America, and taught workshops for manufacturers and fashion enterprises throughout South America and China.

Her first book, “Eco Fashion,” has been translated into Italian and Spanish.

“We’ve moved way beyond organic cotton T-shirts and baggy hemp pants,” she says. “Today, eco fashion must be chic, with materials and production truly sustainable, not only in procurement but also in processing and disposal.”


Photo credit:  Kah Poon

A Gown for Every Princess

By , June 14, 2012 4:13 pm

Once a high school senior has her date for the prom, she focuses next on her gown, shoes and accessories.  “I rejoice in seeing young people get dolled up to go to the prom. I didn’t go to mine,” says Shaniqua Matthews-McClam, Coordinator of the Interior Design Department.

Kira Marie Britt shows off her new prom dress to Shaniqua Matthews-McClam.

Gowns donated to L.A.C.E. Leading Ladies for the prom dress giveaway

But what happens when a fashion indulgence for the Big Dance isn’t affordable? Matthews-McClam tends to that inevitability. On May 5, her organization, L.A.C.E. Leading Ladies, oversaw the giveaway of over 1,340 prom and graduation dresses along with shoes and accessories at C.S.21 in Brooklyn (making it a four-fold increase from last year’s prom dress giveaway.) It meant a lot of dolling up and a lot of rejoicing.

Shaniqua Matthews-McClam

High school student looking at accessories

Prom dress giveaways are not new, says Matthews-McClam, but are rarer in less affluent neighborhoods.  She’s quick to give a shout-out to all the stores and individuals who supplied the Leading Ladies with many top brand gowns and accessories. “There was Macy’s, Forever Yours, Open Ceremony, family, friends, neighborhood stores.” A raffle was held for a custom-designed gown donated by designer Gwen Beloti who attended the event.

Shoes are a new addition to L.A.C.E.’s prom dress give-away

Whether a rite of passage, a lavish indulgence, or just an outrageous night out, the prom has special resonance for teenagers and their families.  Proms were the subject of two recent guest lectures at FIT.  Mary Ellen Mark’s presentation of a four-year project photographing proms across the country was followed by the film “Prom” made by her husband, the filmmaker Martin Bell.  In October, photojournalist Gillian Laub (see previous post) discussed her New York Times photo essay of the until recently segregated proms at Montgomery County High School in Georgia.

Prom prep

The first girl on line get lots of frills

Matthews-McClam’s event was an artistic success as well. And the press took notice. Brooklyn New York 12, New York Daily News and BCAT television station have all done features on the prom dress giveaway. This year students from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism produced the video “Prom, Cinderella Style” about the Leading Ladies work for their publication Brooklyn Inc. The video features Kira Marie Britt (shown in first photo above).

“Every time I am interviewed people ask me ‘Why dresses? Why fashion through philantropy?’ I love fashion. Any time I have felt down or needed a change in life, I went and purchased a new item. It made me feel better. I am not promoting shopaholics. I truly believe people are at their best when they are looking good and confident. To look good is too feel good.” It’s a statement that bodes well for another fashion windfall for next year’s prom.

A princess and her girlfriends

To learn more about L.A.C.E. Leading Ladies go to their website: or facebook page.

Photos courtesy of L.A.C.E. Leading Ladies

An award-winning living room takes the cover!

By , January 30, 2012 4:03 pm

The judges of Westchester Home design contest have chosen the work of Interior Design Professor Phyllis Harbinger as winner in the category of  Best Traditional Living Room. To add to the tribute, images of her award-wining interiors appear in the cover story of the issue announcing the award.

Harbinger, the magazine said, “made it look easy with this beautifully designed living room—sporting traditional lines in the furniture and accessories with added daring twists of color.”

Westchester Home magazine

“The Interior Design Department is extremely proud of Professor Harbinger’s professional accomplishments,” says Interior Design Chair Andrew Seifer. “We congratulate her on her work being shown on the cover of Westchester Home and for winning this award.”

“The architecture of the room called for two distinct conversation areas—one fireside, and then a main conversation area visible through antique wood-and-iron doors at the entry to the space,” Harbinger told  Westchester Magazine.

The winning living room

“The designer has balanced light and dark, ornate and strongly classical, and neutral shades with vibrant color to create a warm, rich, and inviting living room…It is neither over- nor under-decorated. The room is formal, but thoroughly hospitable and welcoming,” said New York School of Interior Design Associate Dean Veronica Whitlock, one of the four judges.

A President’s Party to Remember!

By , December 15, 2011 4:52 pm

Anne Kong & President Brown

This year’s decorations and production design for the  President’s party were created by Anne Kong, Glenn Sokoli and their students.

President Joyce Brown & Veronica Romano

There were tasty things to nibble on,  great music, and lots of mingling of stylish academics and staff!

more stylish people
Vasilios Christofilakos, Michele Nagel & Christopher Uvenio

The stylish with floral heft! Ed Soyka & Kim Loconto

Thank you President Joyce Brown. To a great year ahead!


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