Author Archives: Anna Macaulay

Grad Art’s Diana Thater receives prestigious Art + Technology Grant from LACMA

Diana Thater, “As Radical As Reality” (2017), installation for two video projectors, two media players, and Altuglas Visio screens

Diana Thater, “As Radical As Reality” (2017), installation for two video projectors, two media players, and Altuglas Visio screens

Diana Thater, ArtCenter alumna, core faculty member and former chair of the Grad Art department, was one of four artists awarded a 2018 Art + Technology Grant from LACMA’s Art + Technology Lab. Inspired by the spirit of LACMA’s original Art and Technology program (1967-1971), which paired artists with technology companies in Southern California, the Art + Technology Lab at LACMA supports artist experiments with emerging technology.

Thater will develop a new body of work that is focused on bio-inspired and bio-mimetic robots. Working in video, the endeavor will investigate how these machines adapt the neurophysiology and behavior of their animal models. Thater’s project is called The Zeroth Law.

The grant awards include monetary and in-kind support for projects that engage emerging technologies. LACMA issued the 2018 Request for Proposals in December 2017, and the museum received over 430 submissions. The four grant recipients selected for 2018 will work with neural networks, genetic engineering, navigation systems, and bio-mimetic robotics.

The Art + Technology Lab and its artist projects enjoy the support of an advisory board composed of the leading innovators across a variety of technological industries. Advisory board members lend their experience and expertise and help drive the conversation around how museums will use new technology in the future. Members of the advisory board come from Accenture, DreamWorks Feature Animation Group, Google, Hyundai, Snap, Inc. and SpaceX

An exhibiting artist since 1992, Thater has received international acclaim for her groundbreaking film, video and installation-based works. A writer and curator as well as an artist and educator, she is known for exploring the unpredictable relationships between culture and nature, human and animal, and science and magic. Her film Welcome to Taiji with T. Kelly Mason and Ric O’Barry served as the basis for the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. Her work is in LACMA’s collection and was the subject of the major exhibition Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination (November 22, 2015–April 17, 2016).

LA Design Festival events in Pasadena

LA design festivalThe LA Design Festival honors the city’s rich design culture and celebrates its status as a global design capital. From architecture and interiors to graphic, industrial, fashion, set, costume, and experiential design, the LA Design Festival showcases the best of the local design scene as well as some exciting national and international voices.

Intuitive Objects: When Interaction Becomes Second-Nature // Friday, June 8, 7–10 p.m.
The Supplyframe DesignLab presents Intuitive Objects: When Interaction Becomes Second-Nature as part of on Friday, June 8, This event marks the inaugural opening of the Supplyframe DesignLab’s gallery. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is free and offers a great networking opportunity.

Designed Interactions: Diverse Perspectives // Saturday, June 9, 2–5 p.m.
A panel discussion featuring Interaction Design Chair Maggie Hendrie, alumna Christine Meinders, and women from NASA/JPL and Artifical Knowing. The design of physical objects, screen-based software, as well as gesture and voice interfaces, share a universal language: the language of interactions. This panel, featuring women at the forefront of interaction design, will explore what it means to design interactions for emerging technologies, machine learning, and diversity in a world that is changing exponentially.

Tickets are $10 for general admission but FREE for students with code STUDENTACCESS.

Design Slam 2018: Prototyping the Future // Saturday, June 9, 7–10 p.m.
Design Slam is a mashup between a poetry slam and design-oriented flash talks, accompanied by sounds and images. This year’s Design Slam features interactive installations and flash talks by ArtCenter students around the theme Prototyping the Future. Taking place on the rooftop at 950, Design Slam is an exhibition, a performance, a party, an immersive experience like no other.

ArtCenter Dominates ICFF Studio 2018 Competition at New York Design Week

“Black Kaleidoscope” designed by Jialun Xiong

“Black Kaleidoscope” designed by Jialun Xiong

The ICFF Studio competition is open to designers working in the industry for less than five years who have a working prototype that is not in commercial production. Each year, up to 12 finalists are chosen to exhibit at ICFF in their own individual booths under the ICFF Studio umbrella. This year, eight out of the 11 chosen finalists were from ArtCenter. Congratulations to this talented crew who were chosen out of hundreds of submissions from around the world.

Representing ArtCenter in the 2018 ICFF Studio were:

  • “Lavida” chair created by Chenchen Fan, Product Design student
  • “Nostalgia” created by Yelling Guo, Environmental Design student
  • “Snug” created by Nupur Haridas, Graduate Environmental Design student
  • “Froz” designed by Huan Pei, Graduate Environmental Design alumnus
  • “Fog Table” created by Haeun Kim, Product Design student
  • “Mokum” and “Creative Exploration” designed by Kelly Kim, Product Design student
  • “Sensi” chair created by Sasipat Leelachart, Environmental Design student
  • “Black Kaleidoscope” designed by Jialun Xiong, Graduate Environmental Design alumnus

Xiong’s “Black Kaleidoscope” was also chosen by Architect Magazine as one of its Top Nine Picks from ICFF 2018.

Now in its 13th edition, ICFF Studio is the forum where emerging designers compete with peers by submitting market ready, producible concepts with the goal of being chosen as one of the finalists that will be profiled to 36,000 architects, interior designers, developers, visual merchandisers, and retail buyers attending ICFF. The most prestigious competition in the design industry, ICFF Studio presents a handful of young and emerging designers to the best of the North American design community; the most successful architects, the leading interior designers, the best visual merchandisers, buyers from the nation’s better retailers and the markets top developers. In addition, finalists are exposed to more than 800 exhibitors from all over the world who get to meet with finalists, see their concepts and designs and in many cases get to do business with them.

Finalists are presented at ICFF in their own individual booths under the ICFF Studio umbrella, offering an amazing opportunity for Studio finalists to introduce their offerings to the design world and begin to build their future. ICFF Studio winners can launch their career by presenting their designs to some of the world’s top designers and architects. A great example is ICFF Studio star and ArtCenter alum Nolen Niu, who launched his idea into the market at ICFF, then started his own business in Los Angeles.

ICFF Studio is presented by ICFF and Bernhardt Design. Bernhardt Design is a leading designer and manufacturer of contemporary furniture for the home, office and hospitality space for over 127 years.

ArtCenter cleans up at The One Club’s Young Ones competition

Advertising students Maggie Michella & Ada Zhang celebrate their pencil win

Advertising students Maggie Michella & Ada Zhang celebrate their pencil win

The Young Ones Competition, which was started in 1986, is considered one of the most acclaimed advertising, interactive and design student competitions. Every year, students from art and design schools worldwide apply to be considered for one of the coveted awards. For the 2018 awards, ArtCenter students scored 36 winning entries, propelling the College into third place among all institutions with student entries.

Altogether, ArtCenter students won three pencils, seven cubes, one portfolio and 25 merit awards. Loki Jiang and JongWoo Han received a silver pencil for their “Superhero Damage Report” entry. Amalia Ambartsumyan, Jesse Portillo and Ksenia Mikhaylova were awarded a bronze pencil for “The O Campaign” and Maggie Michella and Ada Zhang received a bronze for “Optimism in a Box.”

Tais Bishop was awarded a silver cube for “Brutal: Reviews from Brazil’s Concrete Corridor” and Yuma Naito received silver for “AFROPUNK Festival.”

Lovisa Boucher for “Wise by Patagonia”, Alpha Lung for “Sci-Fest Los Angeles”, Karlo Francisco for “Julliard Brand Identity”, Stephanie Rhee for “Post It or Live It” and Leo Estevez for “Creative Storm—SGD Newsletter,” received bronze cubes. Duy Dao was recognized with a Young Ones Portfolio award.

You can see the complete list, and view each entry, here.

Celebrating legendary faculty Tony Zepeda and our Printmaking Studio


Part 2 of the exhibition A Living Treasure: Thirty Years of Anthony Zepeda and the ArtCenter Printmaking Studio opens at the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall in the 870 building at South Campus on Tuesday, May 22, from 7:30–9 p.m.

The evening will open with a “Public Discussion with Tony Zepeda” led by Fine Art Chair Laura Cooper followed by a reception celebrating Tony and the incredible work produced by ArtCenter students over the last thirty years. Part 2 of this collaborative exhibition between the Fine Art and Illustration departments will feature a new offering of prints produced by students over the last thirty years from the ArtCenter Printmaking Studio from a variety of majors, as well as new work—presented here for the first time—by ArtCenter faculty Tony Zepeda . It will be supplemented by photographs from Tony’s years as a printmaker with Gemini, where he worked with some of the most historically significant artists of the twentieth century, including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

This entirely new exhibit replaces the previous exhibition in order to celebrate the astonishingly large body of exceptional work produced by ArtCenter students over the lifetime of the Studio. The exhibition runs through August 20, 2018.

ArtCenter announces partnership with The Main Museum in Downtown L.A.

Photo of The Main Museum's First Floor Gallery by Chris Wormald.

Photo of The Main Museum’s First Floor Gallery by Chris Wormald.

The Main Museum of Los Angeles Art and ArtCenter College of Design announced an innovative agreement to develop a long-term operational and programmatic partnership that would further the missions of the two organizations by expanding their reach and scope of art and design education for students, faculty, museum-goers, and the L.A. community. The exploratory partnership provides financial stability for The Main so that it may remain a crucial resource for the public for years to come, while strengthening outreach and programming opportunities for both institutions.

Within the partnership, programming at The Main would continue in its current spirit and the mission of The Main would stay the same—to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles—with the addition of design, which is a core area of ArtCenter’s curriculum. The collaboration will offer ArtCenter a deeper engagement with the city while creating new opportunities for student and faculty engagement. It is also anticipated that the staff of The Main would engage with ArtCenter’s established and developing programming in a variety of ways.

Read more about this announcement in our Newsroom.

Student concepts for reimagining the Arroyo Seco exhibiting at Pasadena Library

Family members enjoy ArtCenter student concepts for reimagining The Arroyo Seco on exhibit at Pasadena’s Central Library through May 25, 2018. Photo credit: ©ArtCenter College of Design/James Meraz

Family members enjoy ArtCenter student concepts for reimagining The Arroyo Seco on exhibit at Pasadena’s Central Library through May 25, 2018. Photo credit: ©ArtCenter College of Design/James Meraz

Students in Environmental Design’s Sustainable Design Studio class tackled a local challenge when they were asked to reimagine how the neigborhing Arroyo Seco’s natural habitats, resources and historic sites could be preserved, enhanced and connected by a potentially extraordinary end-to-end trail system. Working with The Arroyo Advisory Group, their final concepts are on display at Padadena’s Central Library through May 25, 2018.

“The projects developed by ArtCenter’s Environmental Design Studio are somewhat provocative suggestions of how the Arroyo Seco can be reimagined and enhanced for the next generation of users,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. “I encourage the public to visit the Central Library exhibit and see for themselves the many ways in which the Arroyo evokes inspiration in others.”

Read more about the project and this exhibition in our Newsroom.


Open during construction

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Alan Watts

As you return to campus from break, you may notice things look a little different around here and some people may not be located where you last saw them. As usual, Facilities was busy painting, cleaning, repairing and tending to maintenance matters in preparation for the new term. Also while you were away, Campus Planning commenced work on some much-anticipated major projects at South Campus. Though smaller in scope, there are also projects underway at Hillside.

Most noticeably, the first floor of the 1111 building is being completely transformed, with the creation of the Mullin Gallery and expansion of popular Foodies café underway. Renovations have also begun on the fourth floor, which will house the Alumni Lounge and Gallery as well as administrative offices. Across the tracks, construction of the Heavin Studio, a state-of-the-art video production space, continues on the basement levels of the 950 building. The Mullin Gallery, Heavin Studio and Alumni Lounge and Gallery are being funded through generous donations to the College.

Here’s a quick rundown of what has happened, who has moved, what is open, what is closed and what is planned.

First Floor and Parking Levels

  • Portions of the first-floor lobby, including the hallway and restrooms, are offline during construction.
    • Restrooms are available on all other floors.
  • Foodies will remain open during construction and is accessible from the exterior entrance.
  • Some areas on P1 and P2 parking levels will be intermittently coned off.
  • The surface lot has been fenced off and will be unavailable for ArtCenter use for the duration of construction.
    • Visitors can park on P1 or P2.

Fourth Floor

  • Application Services has moved to suite 440.
    • The conference room in suite 470 has been converted to office use and is no longer available.
  • Development has moved to suites 445 and 470.
  • Auxiliary Services has moved to the second floor, suite 220 (through August 2018).
  • Environmental Health and Safety has moved to the second floor, suite 220 (through June 2018).
  • Director of Security Jim Finch has moved to the second floor, suite 220 (through June 2018).
  • Facilities has moved to the second floor, suite 220 (through August 2018).
  • Campus Planning has moved to the second floor, suite 220 (through August 2018).
  • Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) has relocated to the second floor of the 950 building and they now occupy rooms 200, 201, 202 and 204.
  • Human Resources will be moving to suite 400 on May 22, 2018.
  • Marketing and Communications remains in suite 480.

Conference Rooms
Please note: contact Jennifer Greendale to reserve conference room space in the 1111 building.

  • The Application Services conference room has been converted to office space and is offline permanently.
  • The conference room in the old Development suite is available.
  • The conference room in the old Campus Planning suite is available and equipped with a Highfive video conferencing system. This room can be reserved on Inside through Roombook.
  • There are conference rooms available on the second floor.


  • Construction of the Heavin Studio is ongoing on the basement levels.
  • CSE’s counseling office has been relocated to room 251 from room 202.
  • Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) moved from the 1111 building to rooms 200, 201, 202 and 204.
  • Room 204 is no longer available as a classroom or conference room.
  • Soil testing and investigation work is ongoing and will occasionally impact parking. Please avoid all coned off areas.


  • At long last, the Annex building is offline.
  • A visitor information booth has been installed at the entrance of campus.

This is an exciting time for the College but we also understand that construction can be disruptive and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. Every effort is being made to minimize interference with our day-to-day activities, including scheduling work for nighttime hours as much as possible. Stay tuned for updates as these projects progress.

Get your Metro Bike Share Student Pass for a buck during bike month!


Celebrate Bike Month in May by signing up for a Metro Bike Share Student Pass for only $1.00! After May it’s only $5.00 per month.

What’s included?

  • 24/7 access to a fleet of over 300 bicycles at 30 stations throughout Pasadena as well as all stations in Downtown LA, Port of LA and Venice
  • All trips 30 minutes or less are FREE and $1.75 per 30 minutes thereafter

Signing up is simple:

  1. Visit 
  2. Access the portal using your ArtCenter student email address AND the discount passcode StudentsWhoLikeBikes
  3. Enter the promo code BIKEMONTH2018 to redeem your first month for $1.00

You can also sign up in person—the Metro Bike Share Team will be on campus for the Welcome Back Students Event.

When: Wednesday, May 16, 2018, from 12–1:30 p.m.
Where: Hillside Campus

This is a limited time offer so don’t miss out!

Service to the community beyond the classroom: The Spring 2018 Student Leadership Award

Photo: Juan Posada

Photo: Juan Posada

Sarah Tirzah Ellis was introduced to ArtCenter at a very early age. Her mother, an alum, frequently brought her to see work in the Student Gallery. She particularly recalls noticing a car designed by a student and thinking to herself, “I want to go here.” Worry over the price of attending college, however, led her to enlist in the Marine Corps out of high school. Eight years later, with two deployments to Iraq and two to Afghanistan under her belt, she left the service, found her way back to ArtCenter and started the next chapter of her life as a student in our Photography and Imaging program. On Saturday, she will graduate with honors, with a minor in Social Innovation, an ArtCenter Honors term and she will be awarded the Spring 2018 Student Leadership Award.

Graduating from ArtCenter is itself a remarkable accomplishment; the College provides a rigorous education and everyone who satisfies our degree requirements has good reason to feel proud. Each graduation ceremony we also take the time to recognize a number of exceptional student achievements—students who graduate with honors or distinction, those who have been awarded an ArtCenter Honors term and the top academic achieving student, who is recognized as valedictorian of the class.

But perhaps the most coveted of all is the Student Leadership Award. This award fulfills ArtCenter’s vision of educating artists and designers who are not only leaders within their professional fields but also leaders in their communities. Each term, the College reaches out to the campus population for nominations from peers, faculty and staff. All nominations are considered by a committee of faculty, staff and students and they select the student who most demonstrates leadership through their participation in ArtCenter’s campus life, community outreach, student organizations and department initiatives. The selection committee is often faced with a difficult task of choosing between exceptional students who are both high academic achievers and valuable contributors to the College community. This term was no exception.

Sarah Tizrah Ellis was selected to receive this valuable award on the basis of her devotion to fellow veteran students at ArtCenter. She connected with fellow veteran David Gamez during orientation and together they founded a student club for veterans. “We wanted a group for people like us to come together to share our experiences,” she recalled.

Ellis found the transition from military to civilian life difficult, describing it as like trying to write with your left hand. “It’s messy and full of zigzags and smears. It’s also a very lonely road, especially if you have no one who can relate to your experiences,” she described in a statement supporting her nomination.

The Veterans Association turned out to be much more than a social club. Members helped each other navigate the Veterans Administration system, sharing tips and tricks for getting benefits. The group later expanded to include staff, faculty and alumni.
In addition to supporting fellow veteran students, Ellis was a teaching assistant for eight different classes, served as a photography lab assistant and participated in student government; she was instrumental in the College’s adoption of an early registration policy for veterans; and she brought her unique veteran experience to two Designmatters’ studios, including one that developed campaigns to improve the lives of veterans struggling with PTSD.

All of the nominations in support of award noted Ellis’ devotion to working with veteran students, helping them find their way through the seemingly endless paperwork that is required of vets to receive their educational funding.

Photography and Imaging Department Chair Dennis Keeley raved, “ Over the last eight terms Sarah has demonstrated what service really means to country, what character and honesty means to life and she has put a real face on creativity and practice.”

Ellis found a family in the Marine Corps and she entered ArtCenter wary of others, wondering if she would fit in. She faced her fears by helping others, serving the ArtCenter community as she served her country, and, in doing so, she found a new family, explaining “no one knows the battles of ArtCenter better than an ArtCenter student. No one but an ArtCenter student can relate to what ArtCenter truly is. Through the support I received here, I was able to find myself again.”

The other Leadership Award nominees also boasted impressive community service resumes. Fellow Photography and Imaging student Brandon Rizzuto, also graduating with Honors, was lauded for mentoring his peers, serving as an orientation leader and working in the equipment room and Career and Professional Development department. Graduate Media Design Practices MFA candidate Godiva Veliganilao Reisenbichler co-founded the student group Antiracist Classroom, an initiative that has already made a significant impact in the ArtCenter community, and will graduate with Distinction. Kristen Torralba, graduating with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Social Innovation, was active in student government and shared governance, worked as a teaching assistant, participated in EcoCouncil and co-founded the Freestyle Dance Club. Graphic Design major Yuma Naito, graduating with Distinction, was celebrated for his mentorship efforts, both as a teaching assistant and also informally by hosting mentoring sessions. Miguel Harry, graduating with Honors from the Product Design program, worked in and out of the classroom to help create a collaborative environment at the College, assisting his peers, volunteering at events and working as a tour guide for those interested in attending ArtCenter. Film major Ana Lydia Monaco, graduating with Honors and a minor in Social Innovation, came to ArtCenter after a successful career in public relations and generously shared her industry knowledge and contacts with her peers, participated in campus life through clubs and worked with her department to host culturally significant events. Fine Art majors Bryan Ortega and Joanne Lee, nominated as a team, were celebrated for being a dynamic duo who galvanized their fellow students and worked to better the student experience in many ways, from making the case for physical spaces for students to work, socialize and relax, to advocating on behalf of inclusion, representation and cultural sensitivity.

We thank and congratulate all the nominees for their commitment and dedication to making ArtCenter a more compassionate, transformative and life-changing environment everyone.