It's spring in the city, and if you can't tell by the weather, you can tell by the annual installments of graduating student design exhibits cropping up at universities, like this year at NYU and SUNY-Purchase College.

NYU's Tisch School of Arts, Department of Design for Stage and Film will be exhibiting work from the 2004 MFA graduating class of 17 designers from set, film, costume, and lighting disciplines May 5-12th (noon-8pm). There will also be an opening reception, on Tuesday, May 4th (5-8pm), attended by NYU alumni, theatre and film design professionals, and students. An additional session with the graduating students will be held Saturday, May 8th (2-5pm). The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The 2004 class is extremely diverse with students from eight countries and across the U.S. — from Romania to Colombia and Berkeley, CA, to Omaha, NE.

The Design and Technology program of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at Purchase College (SUNY) is holding its 2004 Portfolio exhibit in two locations and on two dates: Monday, April 19th, at Kathryn Reid Productions in New York City (260 W.Broadway), and at the Purchase campus from Tuesday, May 4-6th (9:30am-5pm) in the Social Sciences building, room 2001, with an opening reception on Monday, May 3rd from 5:30-7pm.

The exhibits feature design and technical work by graduating BFA and MFA students from the school's professional training program. SUNY-Purchase is one of only five schools in the Consortium of Professional Theatre training programs, and their BFA/MFA students participate in professional productions, using the campus' Performing Arts Center and Broadway as a “laboratory.” Currently students are working on Broadway productions such as Fiddler on the Roof, Bombay Dreams, the upcoming Raisin in the Sun, while the Center has hosted Olympia Dukakis in Aeschylus' The Agamemnon, and the Sydney Dance Company.

The technical and artistic skills gained by this apprentice-style education will be displayed at the 2004 Portfolio exhibits. Program chair, Daniel Hanessian, describes the exposure to industry positions as “externships” and believes that the students impact the entertainment industry before they graduate. Of SUNY-Purchase's rigorous training and the faculty's involvement with student work, Hanessian says that “the result is a tremendous amount of success for our graduates.” A fact illustrated by the large percentage of students that already have work lined up after graduation.

For more promising student work, check out our “Designer Sketchbook” on page 32.