I've been quite a fan of your annual October “Young Designers to Watch” articles for the past couple years. As a graduate student at Northwestern University in Chicago, I've found it very encouraging to see artists my own age garner some national attention, as well as to learn that they are making the transition into the professional world. Yet I feel I must reprimand you on two points. First, I would inquire why you go to the time and expense of putting together such an article, yet neglect to include photos of their work (when applicable). I understand that space is a premium, yet if these are intriguing enough people to profile, certainly their work is interesting enough that we all would like to see it. More vexing though, is a trend that I perceived as I read your most current issue and then reviewed previous October issues.
In the last three years, you have profiled 15 young designers from a wide array of backgrounds, and whose specialties cross the spectrum of design disciplines. Yet all 15 (at the time you chose to write about them) work (or worked) out of New York City. And while I understand that NYC is a major theatrical focus in the country, and that a very large number of young designers call the Big Apple home, I would yet argue that equally talented designers live in Boston, my own Chicago, San Diego, and many points in between. This is not to say that those you have honored with attention are not deserving, but it does appear that a “geographical advantage” exists. (As a point of comparison, I would mention that of the six recently honored with NEA/TCG Designer Grants, only three currently reside in New York.)
In coming to this realization, another similar situation came to mind. Every May, you take the time and space to mention the NYU showcase (often dedicating a full page to the article and pictures from the graduating designers' work, I might add). Yet from my “Midwestern” vantage point, it seems that no effort has been made to do the same for other programs around the country. Here in Chicago, DePaul and my own Northwestern separately have showcases, and I know that similar events exist at most top schools.
Likewise in the past, I do not recall any attention being paid to the annual USITT Young Designers' Forum, or Ming Cho Lee's Clambake (perhaps the premiere showcase for graduating MFA designers in the country). And that one happens in your own New York backyard! What gives?