Reunion: December 15, 2018

This Saturday scholars, mentors, advocates, and alumni gathered to reconnect and celebrate at reunion 2018! They commemorated the end of the semester with laughter, food, and the release of the trailer Parsons Scholars Program video directed by Youth Advocate alumni Shola Ajayi. The trailer highlighted the Parsons Scholars community and featured scholars sharing how the program has impacted them. The festive gathering also included prizes and group games. Mentors and advocates alike brought their skills together to make reunion 2018 a celebration to remember.  Entrepreneur and current mentor Allison Esannason of Smiley’s Cheesecakes brought delicious cake for everyone to share. Alumni advocate, architect and rapper Nicolas Savvides, hosted the event alongside mentor and DJ Tiama Wilson. Current mentor Dirm Luawo, used his design skills to support […]

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Open Studios: December 8, 2018

Today was Open Studios for all Scholars! Scholars ended the semester celebrating and showcasing all of the artwork they created. During the afternoon, junior scholars met with visiting artist Akeema Zane to finish their artist bios. Afterward they reflected on their fall semester and expressed ways they could have improved, how they felt in their classes, and activities they would like to participate in next year. With the support of Youth Advocates, Mentors, and staff, the senior Scholars continued to submit college applications and edit their college essays. We are so proud of all the scholars accomplished this week!

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Prashast Thapan & The Museum of Moving Image Trip: December 1, 2018

This Saturday, Scholars met with Prashast Thapan an independent Game Developer, Artist, and Graphic Designer that has worked for MTV, Viceland, Chillin Island and more. Thapan grew up in New Delhi, India and attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he majored in Graphic Design and experimented with gaming. He shared his journey as an artist, his experience at fellowships and moving between jobs before sustaining himself as a freelance artist. Scholars were fascinated by his work and his perseverance in creating a career path that suited his interests. Afterward, the Scholars visited the Jim Henson Exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image to explore the intersection of art and digital media for themselves. Fascinated by Jim Henson’s […]

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PLAYTECH + Pratt Admissions Representative: December 1, 2018

This week Seniors continued finishing their college applications and took a break to attend the PLAYTECH event hosted by The School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) at Parsons in partnership with Open Campus. Scholars joined the New School community to listen to presentations, test games, and interact with multimedia projects developed by students, faculty, and professionals in the field. Scholars engaged with game designs and digital projects as they networked over pizza. The day concluded with a visit from a Pratt admissions representative to discuss internships and various opportunities at the school. Scholars were happy to ask in depth questions about the admissions process and ways to make their applications stand out.

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Seniors Take Over: Fall 2018

After completing their Summer Intensive Studies, Senior Scholars have embarked on their final year in the program, guided by Youth Advocates Sophia Mak and Deja Holden, and Mentors Jeannette Torres Molina, Tatiana Glover, and Allison Esannason.     Here is a short summary of all the amazing things they’ve been up to so far! Senior Scholars began the semester with community building activities and shared their feelings about senior year. They set personal and group-oriented goals and expectations to help prepare them for the semester. Workshops began by introducing students to a useful and necessary organizational tool, Google Sheets! Students used google sheets to organize and track their personal college deadlines and requirements. Scholars learned that the first step to accomplishing a goal […]

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We Out Here! Junior Scholars: Fall Semester 2018

Following their first summer Academy experience, the Junior scholars got off to a great start this fall! Led by Youth Advocates Havanna Fisher and Kevin Cadena, and Mentors Dirm Luawo and Kadeem Lamorell, the scholars dove right into Academy classes ranging from Fashion Design to Architecture. They participated in afternoon workshops on college research and social justice movements in art, and attended various events, like the Cooper Hewitt Teen Design Fair , National Portfolio Day!   Here is a snapshot of everything they’ve been up to!   The semester kicked off with Scholars meeting an admissions representative from Colombia University to discuss educational opportunities in the arts. Scholars completed a research assignment weighing the pros and cons of their school choices. Led by […]

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Black Panther & Black, Brown and Asian Solidarity: April 21, 2018

The Senior Scholars spent the first part of their day working on their banners, preparing for their Capstone demonstration. Now that they’ve printed their unique patterns on the fabrics designed after their research in Chinatown, they’re applying text based on their interviews, to create banners that speak to anti-gentrification in Chinatown and Black, Brown and Asian solidarity. The Seniors wrapped up Capstone this week with a visit to Roosevelt Park to scope out exact locations for their Capstone demonstration and art installation. The Junior Scholars took a trip to the movie theater to watch Black Panther. This was the first time viewing the film for the majority of the scholars, and it was an experience best shared with trusted friends […]

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Open Studios, Beat Making & Activist NY: April 14, 2018

Open Studios offers the greater Parsons community the opportunity to see the work created by the pre-college students, including our Scholars’ work. It’s a great way to celebrate and experience their hard work as they grow from semester to semester. Spring Open Studios is especially significant for the Sophomore Scholars since it’s their first semester in the program. “The Sophomore Scholars successfully completed their first semester at Parsons today, and completed gorgeous work from both their Foundation Drawing and Painting class, as well as their Foundation Design class”, states Mentor, Dirm. The afternoon led the Sophomore Scholars on a trip to the Museum of the City of New York. The specific exhibit they visited was Activist New York, which explores […]

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Screen Printing, Sanctuary and Coding : April 7, 2018

Youth Advocate Kevin facilitated a workshop on coding for the Sophomore Scholars that included the background and history to how modern coding came to be, specifically certain types of codes, such as HTML, CSS and Javascript. Some of the Sophomores expressed their concerns about working with coding, stating their fears, and their lack of knowledge in this field. The activity introduced the Sophomores to Adobe Dreamweaver, which was the first time they used the program. They opened up Google Chrome alongside Dreamweaver to view their codes in real time, to see what elements are working and what aren’t, this way, they could adjust their webpage to their liking through codes. With codes, the sophomores were able to learn how to […]

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Black Panther, Collins and Lookbook: March 31, 2018

Back in class after a short break, the Sophomore Scholars were surprised with a trip to the movies to see Black Panther! While many of the scholars had already seen the record-breaking movie, the screening presented the opportunity to engage with the film in a critical way and center the experience of the scholars as artists of color in the world. Before heading to the movies, Youth Advocate, Kevin, shared Huffington Post’s article, People Want To Know Why Brooklyn Museum’s New African Art Curator Is White. The Sophomores read the article and shared their opinions on it how they felt about the statistics that were mentioned in the article, as well as how the article compares this topic with the […]

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NYCoRE Conference 2018: ___ Is All We Got!

Saturday, March 24, 2018, marked the 8th annual NYCoRE Conference held at James Baldwin High School in NYC. The New York Collective of Radical Educators is made up of public school teachers, youth workers and their allies committed to fighting for social justice in the school system and society at large.  There were over 50 engaging workshops presented throughout the day, ranging from topics on migration, democracy, and social justice pedagogy, all kicked off by a powerful keynote address by Dr. Monique W. Harris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School. “___ Is All We Got”, was this year’s conference theme: In the unveiling and wake of the current (and past) administration, enduring political climate and ongoing […]

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A Pieceable Kingdom & Canal Street Market : March 17, 2018

On their last Saturday before their break, the Sophomore Scholars excitedly visited Camille Hoffman’s exhibit, Pieceable Kingdom, at the Museum of Arts and Design. Hoffman graduated from California College of the Arts as well as Yale School of Art and is of Jewish and Filipino descent. She extensively uses her background and experience to create works that engage with unconventional materials such as chicken wire, table cloths and collage. Her theme for Pieceable Kingdom revolves around the “histories of race, gender, and power [that] are often embedded within influential American landscape paintings of the nineteenth century through their depictions of light, nature, the frontier, and borders.” The students quickly pointed out certain cultural references in Hoffman’s pieces, such as Dora, […]

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Exhibitions as Classrooms : March 10, 2018

The Sophomore Scholars visited two exhibits in and near the Parsons campus. The first exhibit, titled Off-Axis, feature work from the Sophomore’s foundation teacher, Yashua Klos, as well as work from well known artist, Kambui Olujimi. The exhibit revolves around the exploration of the “deconstruction of normalized structures of control to expose the power dynamics at play against black bodies”, as explained in the exhibit’s description. This exhibit is housed in the lobby of 55 5th Avenue, which is situated in Time Equities, Inc., which is a real estate firm, and right across the street from the University Center. The curator for this exhibit, Jenny, works for a real estate developer, under the Art-In-Building program. She described the job of […]

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Anti-Oppression Training and Professional Practices: March 3, 2018

In the morning, the Sophomore Scholars created and worked on their resumes, and were able to complete them at the start of the afternoon workshop. Once they completed their resumes, they started a quick Photoshop tutorial for editing their photographed artwork. Youth Advocate, Kevin, led the class with step by step process with certain tools and adjustments with an example photograph they pulled off of Google. After the simple Photoshop tutorial, the students took photos of their final/works in progress self-portraits painted in Yashua Klos’s Foundation Studio class, and edited them to post on their Learning Portfolios. The Learning Portfolios are digital archives, made using Tumblr, where students track their progress over the course of the 2.5 years in the […]

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Self Love & The Rubin Museum: February 24, 2018

The Sophomores The Sophomores started their afternoon with a presentation on time management and wellness. Advocates Nick and Kevin worked together to survey the class on their time management and offer tips to help them manage their time. During the presentation, Scholar: Daniel also offered personal tips that helps him with time management, like “prioritizing important homework and decide what to do next”. The Advocates and Sophomores shared a lot more ways to time management such as the Forest app, to do lists and routines. The Advocates also talked about personal wellness. When Kevin posed the question “How do you integrate wellness into our lives?”, Scholar: Zaniah stated, “Self love and telling yourself you’re ok”, and received a great applause […]

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Interviewing 101, Social Housing and Artificial Intelligence: February 17, 2018

The Sophomores took a quick trip to the Center for Architecture to see the exhibit: Social Housing –New European Projects. “The exhibit revolves around transforming social housing in a way that allows accessibility to new low-cost housing buildings while benefiting the city they’re housed in”, says Mentor Dirm Luawo. The exhibition space featured detailed mockups of the proposed building as well as context around the site. This included how to re-envision current buildings and renovate them in a different manner, providing a more comfortable way of living and updating its aesthetic and usage. The Juniors took a field trip to Eyebeam, a nonprofit studio for collaborative experiments with technology, to experience the work space of Stephanie Dinkins. There was a […]

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Juniors meet BUFU & Sophomores meet Sophia Dawson: February 10, 2018

  The Junior Scholars met two of the four collaborators and co-founders of BUFU (By Us For Us), a collaborative living archive centered around (Pan)Black and (Pan)Asian cultural and political relationships. Currently in residence at Eyebeam, “BUFU is working on a platform which will live both online and in physical installations to create interactive engagement with the stories they have collected…working from interview conducted in Ethiopia, Japan, Korea, Jamaica, China, India, Ghana and the US.” They shared with the Juniors how they travel around the globe and record/document people’s stories to create small clips of everyday lifestyle from a different perspective. Then with the short films they make they create installations so others can engage with the artwork. BUFU got to […]

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Tumblr, The Whitney & White Box Gallery: February 3, 2018

On a trip to White Box Gallery in the Lower East Side/Chinatown, the Senior Capstone Class met with gallery founder and director, Juan Puntes, to view the current exhibition, Jizi: Journey of the Spirit.  Jizi’s work confronted the legacy of the Revolution’s antipathy to religion and traditional Chinese life and attitudes. Deeply interested in the spirit, the artist’s work contains a strong metaphysical strain and sheds light on the complex, and at times contradictory, impulses at work in contemporary Chinese art and culture. The trip was part of the research by the Capstone class, led by Joseph Cuillier of The Black School. The Scholars were able to engage in a conversation about the history and significance of White Box as […]

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Back to the Grind: Welcoming our new Sophomore Class of 2020! January 27, 2018

  We are excited to welcome a new cohort of 24 students into our program, the new Sophomore Scholars! They started their Foundation classes with a joint class to get better acquainted with each other, and created collages to represent themselves on the outside, but also as they perceive themselves on the inside. They were warmly welcomed during lunch by the rest of the PSP family, and in the afternoon, Youth Advocates: Nick and Kevin took the Sophomores to the High Line to locate places around the area that were built with a specific purpose, but repurposed for a different use. The students walked up and down the High Line to draw the found sites in their sketchbook for the […]

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Seniors Prep Portfolios + Juniors at Playtech: November 11, 2017

Senior Scholars One of the Senior’s biggest days was coming up. The next day was National Portfolio Day at the Javits Center and the seniors brought extraordinary works for their portfolios. They kept working all day to finish, complete or get to a point where they feel accomplished with their new works. The Seniors each received a new portfolio case to bring for National Portfolio Day. With help from the advocates, the mentors and Nadia, the seniors selected 12-20 pieces works they brought with them to display in their new portfolios and organize it to show off their works better. Crystal asked me to talk to the class about my portfolio when I applied to Parsons. The seniors have seen […]

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Juniors at El Museo: Saturday November 4, 2017

Junior Scholars Today, the junior scholars had the opportunity to visit El Museo del Barrio. El Museo del Barrio is located Harlem and was made for the community to visit. Most scholars never been to this museum and were very glad they were able to take a look. Sophia and Francisco spoke to them about some of the artists that had their work put in this museum. The scholars were told to view the work and choose at least 3 favorites. They had to sketch the 3 favorite choices and explain why they chose it. As I photographed the scholars walking around, I saw a lot of amazing art work. The scholars were concentrated on their sketches and really took […]

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Juniors Prep for NPD + Seniors Artist Videos: Saturday October 28, 2017

Senior Scholars This week focused on writing. Candace introduced the work of Venus X, who is a Latina DJ from Harlem. In the video that was shown, she explains her rocky journey from youth to now and how she changed as a person. We then discussed the video and what the scholars gained from it, such as the fact that she is her own boss and how her career path she is on now wasn’t her original intent. The rest of class time was devoted on writing and editing their essays. Junior Scholars Today, the scholars had portfolio review day. Francisco’s friend Diane came over to help look over portfolios and give supportive advice. The scholars had brought in artwork […]

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Juniors Performance Art and Seniors Financial Aid: Saturday October 21, 2017

Senior Scholars Today was a productive day for the seniors; right from the start they were already working on things they needed to do. The students were in the computer labs researching colleges they want to attend and working on essays. They were also seeking scholarships to apply for. Later on that day, Program Director Nadia talked to the class about how one can pay for college and how one can be prepared. She stresses the importance of scholarship and grants, especially those from the government when filing FAFSAs, as these methods do not require you to pay back any money and they’re free to apply for. While filing FAFSA  applications, the seniors can check off an option where they […]

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Seniors Prep for National Portfolio Day: Saturday October 14, 2017

After a day off last week for the holidays, the seniors were back on their game with preparing themselves for the future. The class started off with the Advocates asking the group if they have started or completed their financial aid applications, college application, and college essays. Most of the class stated that they have completed their applications for FAFSA. We had a special guest in class, Stephanie Burrell, who graduated from Parsons and introduced us to the how to’s in graphic design. She explained the importance of choosing specific typefaces and color palette, as each decision can affect the outlook of what you are trying to express. With the knowledge she shared with us, we split up into 4 […]

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Juniors Mind Mapping: Saturday October 7, 2017

Francisco and Sophia introduced the class to something called “mind mapping” which the juniors will soon write their own artist statements. Mind mapping allows you to organize your thoughts about yourself as an artist. This exercise was done in an orderly manner. The class discussed the life of an artist, what an artist is, and made a mind map of their own on the board. The class gave some great examples, facts, and ideas. For example, the juniors stated that artists are trend setters/starters, they inspire others, they express feeling through their work, they are a responsive community, they are educated, open minded, and so on. The map started out with the word “artist” and then expanded once statements were […]

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First Day of Academy: September 23, 2017

Senior Scholars As the Seniors start their last year as Scholars in the program, I started my first day as mentor. Before we got started with anything, Program Director Nadia went over the supply list for the Senior’s Portfolio Class. When that concluded, we introduced our name and pronouns. Youth Advocate Candice went around passing everyone a Pink Post-it and we were told to create a 6 word sentence describing how we feel about our portfolio. I wrote “Complicated yet intricate designs, Must do!” Among the most interesting sentences that was written by a Scholar was “I’m trapped inside an anxious mind.” After going through the sentences, we played a quick game of Zip, Zap, Zop! and Nicole won in […]

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May 13, 2017

Juniors got to see the work that seniors do in their last semester. It is always inspirational to see the class above them complete a group project and create informational material for other young artists of color. Scholars responded by asking what they would be doing for senior capstone and having open brainstorming conversations for what they may want to do. Scholars installed artwork from their residency at Parsons for the Parsons Festival. The Parsons Festival is a time where work from across the university is show cased.

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Youth Mode | April 22, 2017

For the first day of their Powrplnt residency which they’ve titled Youth Mode, Parsons Scholars seniors presented their work as a gallery show. Students provided post-it notes to engage other youth, asking them “What’s your Youth Mode?”, having other young artists define what is important to them and what inspires them.  

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Open Studios, Financial Aid, and Powrplnt | April 15, 2017

Open Studios During Open Studios students were given the chance to showcase their work in the classrooms to family, staff and other visitors. They had the opportunity to speak to others about their work and describe their processes and thinking behind the creation of their work. Afterwards, students took turns presenting their learning portfolios to their peers and some family that was present. They each took the mic and scrolled us through their Tumblr pages, describing every picture and note made throughout the semester. This gave them an opportunity to practice public speaking and to articulate the work they did in the semester, as well as the field trips and experiences we had throughout the semester. HEOP/Financial Aid Workshop Advocates […]

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