Kent State Meets the Big Apple: NYC Studio Announces Official Opening Oct. 11

Kent State University’s College of the Arts has found a second home in New York City and will officially announce its NYC Studio grand opening Oct. 11.

Photo by Gary Harwood

Fashion design students work on their projects during a summer session at Kent State’s New York City Studio, located in the heart of the garment district in midtown Manhattan. The grand opening of the studio is Oct. 11.

Kent State’s NYC Studio, located at W. 39th St. at 8th Ave. in New York City’s garment district, will announce the opening of the 4,500 square-foot space that will give College of the Arts students the opportunity to learn and connect with professionals.

“The New York City studios provide very functional and serviceable space for fashion students in the heart of the fashion district, which makes this a wonderful location,” says Dr. Timothy J. Chandler, dean of the College of the Arts. “New York City is the right place for our students.”

Chandler says the location makes the studios an attractive space for students in theatre and dance, music and art, because theatre and music production companies and venues are located close by, along with the world’s great art galleries and museums, which are all accessible from the NYC Studio space.

“As such, while fashion students will be the immediate beneficiaries of this new space, all students in the College of the Arts will be able to benefit from Kent State having a foothold in such a vibrant artistic place as New York City,” he says.

The NYC studio opening will include a program with welcoming remarks from representatives and professionals from the fashion industry and business district; and comments from Dr. Lester A. Lefton, Kent State University president; and Dr. Elizabeth A. Rhodes, director of the Fashion School.

Kent State University started the NYC Studio planning following a suggestion made by Linda Allard, alumna and design director for Ellen Tracy (Fashions), who is on The Fashion Industry Advisory Board of The Fashion School at Kent State, says Rhodes. The board encouraged the school to create more opportunities for students in fashion design and merchandising in New York City.

Kent State’s Fashion School took 25 students to the studio in spring 2006 for the first New York City educational experience.

“The city provides a ‘textbook’ for the study of fashion,” says Rhodes. “It is a background that supports the studies of a fashion design or fashion merchandising student. The experience was so successful for the first group of students that Kent State’s College of the Arts decided to begin exploring other uses of the studio.”

Fashion students at the NYC Studio were taught by industry professionals who assisted them in establishing the beginning of a professional network. Professionals exposed students to actual study tours to off-site places in the city as well as to speakers pertinent to topics of study, including Fern Mallis, coordinator of Fashion Week; Margaret Walch, director of The Color Association; and Scott French, menswear designer and member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

“Honestly, I can say that the lessons I have learned here in New York City are the most valuable, out of all four years,” says Gina Shaffer, a Kent State fashion design student.

The facility includes a 50-seat lecture hall with online projection capability as well as a wireless environment, computer lab and faculty office space. The design studio has 12 workstations with industrial machines, dress forms, cutting tables and equipment.

Kent State’s NYC Studio hopes to maximize its mission of linking the academic and workplace environments for the professional advancement of individuals who impact the fashion industry, Rhodes says. This will involve hiring a studio director and developing year-round programming while continuing to seek external partnerships/funding for operations.

For more information visit Kent State’s NYC Studio Web site.

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