Category Archives: General Interest

Environmental Design students to envision “One Arroyo”

Image courtesy of the Arroyo Advisory Group

Image courtesy of the Arroyo Advisory Group

From fly-fishing and professional football to archery and bird watching, Pasadena’s historic Arroyo Seco serves as a 900-acre playground as diverse as the millions of urban sophisticates, suburbanites and nature dwellers who use it each year.

If Pasadena were to succeed in revitalizing the Arroyo’s 22-miles of trails and creating a singular vision for the canyon’s three distinct areas—the Hahamongna watershed, the Central Arroyo’s entertainment hub, and the rivers of the Lower Arroyo—the Arroyo Seco could rival New York’s Central Park, Chicago’s Lincoln Park, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and L.A.’s own Griffith Park in esteem and recognition.

This Fall term, a team of Environmental Design students will try to do just that as they help reimagine Pasadena’s greatest outdoor space. Embedded in Environmental Design’s Sustainable Design Studio, faculty member Professor James Meraz will encourage students to design unique spatial experiences that are sustainable, eco-friendly and environmentally responsible, with the potential to encourage a critical dialogue and a new stewardship and symbiosis in our relationship to our Southern California eco-system.

The class will explore a wide-range of topics, including public furnishings, interactive installations, play equipment, hospitality spaces, way-finding and experiences that may reinvigorate surrounding trails and landscapes. As Environmental Design Department Chair David Mocarski recently explained to Pasadena Now, “Everything happens in the environment. And so the class is really looking at possibilities of reimagining and looking at how we can elevate people’s interaction with the Arroyo Seco.”

The class project stems from a collaboration between ArtCenter and the Arroyo Advisory Group, a citizen-led effort to develop a cohesive vision and implementatio

ArtCenter Premieres Student Self Portrait Video Series

Product Design student Miguel Harry

Product Design student Miguel Harry

ArtCenter has launched a new video series featuring student self portraits, providing a glimpse into the creative journeys of five of our students.

“In their process of researching colleges, most prospective students plan a campus visit, browse the website, or make an appointment with an admissions counselor,” said Kit Baron, senior vice president of Admissions and Enrollment Management for ArtCenter. “While these experiences are valuable and provide a great way to gather information, hearing directly from ArtCenter students to learn about their stories and their lives provides yet another deeper level of sharing. We’re often asked ‘What’s it really like to be an ArtCenter student?’ We hope the stories of these five talented individuals helps answer that common question and provide prospective students with a realistic glimpse into their world.”

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

Illustration Student Cristina Wilson

The five students were asked to share their creative journeys and reveal personal details such as their early inspiration, decision to attend art school, current projects and long-term goals. All production in the field was completed by the individual students, who were commissioned to spend 12 weeks meeting once a month to workshop their projects, from proposal through final cut, while undertaking the challenging process of capturing their own creative evolution in a professional quality video—all in addition to their demanding studio and academic course load. Light guidance was provided throughout the creative process by a small team of staff from Admissions and Marketing and Communications. The result is a series of video self-portraits that truly capture the student’s intimate voice, motivations and distinctive viewpoints.

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Admissions staffer Tom Stern publishes his second novel

MyVanishingTwinBookCover (1)

Vice President of Admissions Tom Stern has just published his second novel, My Vanishing Twin and will be celebrating its launch at Vroman’s Bookstore in Old Pasadena on Monday, June 19 at 7:00 pm.

My Vanishing Twin tells the story of Walter Braum, who is pregnant with his own twin brother. It is an exceedingly freak manifestation of a rare medical condition called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. But it is also a sudden thorn in Walter’s psyche, bringing into question most everything he thought he knew about himself and his life.

We checked in with Stern about his book and his writing process on the eve of its launch:

Campus News: How do you have time to write when you have such a demanding job?

Tom Stern: For me, it’s the inverse. The time I invest in writing affords me the ability to navigate a demanding job and busy life.  On my good days, I can even navigate them reasonably well, occasionally getting a thing—or even two—right. On my bad days, well… the time I carved out to write helps me keep some modicum of perspective

CN: The premise of your book, the Vanishing Twin Syndrome, is kind of an obscure medical condition. Is there a reason behind this choice? Was there a lot of research involved?

TS: The medical condition was a piece of information I must have quietly tucked away in the back of my brain.  As the initial pages I was writing began to coalesce into what would become My Vanishing Twin, it dawned on me that I was about to write a book about a man who discovers he’s pregnant with his own twin brother who, once born, is obsessed with acquiring his MBA.  A classic tale, I know…  But as I puzzled over this direction, Vanishing Twin Syndrome surfaced in my thinking. I remembered having read articles about fairly unsettling instances of the phenomenon.  So I dug back into these and other articles to sort of flesh out the concept, taking much poetic license with it, of course.

CN: Both of your novels are about regular guys with regular lives whose lives turn when faced with something extraordinary. Do you write yourself into your books? Are you headed for an extraordinary adventure? Or is writing your extraordinary adventure?

TS: I like that assessment a lot. I would tweak it a bit, though. I think that both of my books are about regular guys who discover something extraordinary in what they had considered banal about their own lives. I think my books are about people coming into self-knowledge in the way that most of us do: begrudgingly. They are confronted with realities that they cannot immediately accept, having built their lives on a belief in a contrary truth. In this regard, I think I’m no different than my protagonists. They just get to experience more poetic or metaphorical manifestations of this process than I do. That said, I think our personalities are quite different.

CN: Are you working on the next book? Any hints at the direction?

TS: I am always working on something.  Right now I’m working on a few things that I think are shaping up into books. And I’m also writing some articles in support of the release of My Vanishing Twin. One essay that I’m really proud of will be published on The Los Angeles Review of Books Blog in July.

CN: Anything else you would like the community to know about your writing career?

TS: I’ve learned an incredible amount from experiencing the variety of ways that our various departments approach their creative disciplines. It has undoubtedly made me a much better writer.

Two ArtCenter faculty receive prestigious AIGA Fellow awards

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Alum and Graphic Design faculty member Wayne Hunt of Hunt Design and Humanities and Sciences faculty Errol Gerson have been awarded the prestigious Fellow award for 2017 from AIGA Los Angeles.

The Fellow award program is a means of recognizing designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct within their local or regional design community as well as in their local AIGA chapter. The areas of education, writing, leadership and reputation, as well as the practice of design are given equal consideration in measuring significant contribution.

The last current ArtCenter faculty member to receive this award was Petrula Vrontikis (2007). Former faculty Agustin Garza was named a Fellow in 2012. This is the first time that two ArtCenter faculty have received this honor in the same year.

They will be honored at a ceremony June 22 at the Millwick in the Arts District in Downtown L.A.

Product Design faculty member Krystina Castella on the serious business of designing for play

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIf there is a fountain of youth, full-time faculty member Krystina Castella may have discovered it. Castella, whose youthful appearance and intense enthusiasm for everything she does belies her years of experience, has been teaching at ArtCenter 25 years, the last 12 of them full time.

A Product Design faculty member, she also leads sponsored projects and Designmatters Transdisciplinary Studios (TDS). Additionally, she teaches business classes in the Humanities and Sciences department, materials classes in the Integrated Studies department, classes about the manufacturing and licensing process for ArtCenter at Night and a t-shirt start-up class for the ArtCenter for Teens program.

A graduate of RISD’s Industrial Design program, Castella also studied cognitive developmental psychology and cultural anthropology with a focus on children’s culture at UCLA. Which leads us to the one thread that has been constant in her lengthy professional career—her work’s focus is often centered on creating and designing for kids.

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Ready! Set! Graduate!

HILL_121015_586cc“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. (Sonnet XCVIII)”William Shakespeare

This Saturday, following a sometimes exhaustive, always intensive, memorably vigorous and astonishingly creative commitment to making and learning, ArtCenter is going to release a new crop of youthful graduates into the world.

As the day approaches, let’s celebrate these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world. Here’s the lowdown for the week:

Thursday, April 20: Graduation Show Preview, MDP Receptions and Grad Art Open Studios, Fine Art Exhibition

Thursday activities start in the morning, when students get to meet select potential employers during Recruitment Open House. In the evening, industry leaders, employers, corporate partners, donors and alumni get the first look at the Spring term’s graduating artists and designers at the invitation-only Graduation Show Preview, held from 6–9 pm.

Undergraduate candidates from Advertising, Environmental Design, Film, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Imaging, Product Design and Transportation Design will be showing at Hillside Campus. Graduate Environmental Design, Graduate Film, Graduate Industrial Design and Graduate Transportation Systems and Design master’s candidates will also have work on display at the Hillside Campus.

Graduate Media Design Practices and Graduate Art will be holding a reception and open studios at the 950 Building at South Campus and Undergraduate Fine Art students will have an exhibition at the 870 Building at South Campus. The South Campus locations will be open from 7–10 pm.

Saturday, April 22: Graduation

ArtCenter’s Spring graduation ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Following welcoming remarks by President Lorne Buchman, the baccalaureate and master’s candidates—along with faculty, staff, family and friends—will hear from this term’s Student Leadership Award recipient. The Student Leadership Award is given out each term to a student who exemplifies standout leadership qualities and accomplishments. This term, a committee of students, faculty, and staff affirmed the values of this award by selecting to Product Design major Jeff Smith. Faculty member Fridolin Beisert, in nominating Smith, said “I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing Jeff mature into a leadership role where he is guiding and inspiring student across disciplines, genders and cultural backgrounds. To me he represents the ideal candidate for this important award.”

Those assembled at the Civic Center will also hear from valedictorian Eliot Eames Saarinen, who is graduating with a degree in Fine Art. Fine Art Director Mitchell Kane noted that, “Eliot is a meticulous maker and thinker of objects with visionary tendencies tempered by real world practicalness.”

Following the student awardees, special guests Janice Feldman and Story Musgrave will be bestowed with honorary degrees (Doctorate in Fine Arts) from the College and Musgrave will present the graduation address. Feldman and Musgrave, two diverse individuals whose work is informed by their sense of “space,” spoke with President Lorne M. Buchman before a select audience as part of a Full Circle event on Thursday night.

Trained artist and interior designer Janice Feldman is the founder and CEO of JANUS et Cie, an industry leader in residential, contract and hospitality design. A visionary in the field of sustainability and material innovation, Feldman opened her first JANUS et Cie showroom in the Pacific Design Center in California in 1978, and has since transformed the company into a full-service design resource with extensive and varied collections.

Graduate Industrial Design faculty Story Musgrave, a NASA astronaut for more than 30 years, has flown on six different spaceflights. He performed the first shuttle spacewalk on Challenger’s first flight, was a pilot on an astronomy mission, conducted two classified DOD missions, was the lead spacewalker on the Hubble Telescope repair mission and, on his last flight, operated an electronic chip manufacturing satellite on Columbia.

Saturday, April 22: Graduation Show

After the ceremony, Graduation Show opens to the public at both Hillside and South Campuses from 1–6 p.m., where work by the newest ArtCenter graduates will be on display. The show features student projects from major fields of study at ArtCenter, including Advertising, Environmental Design, Film, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Imaging, Product Design, Transportation Design, Graduate Film, Graduate Industrial Design and Graduate Transportation Systems and Design at Hillside Campus. Work from Graduate Art and Graduate Media Design Practices graduates will be on display at the 950 Building and Fine Art graduates will be showing at the 870 Building at South Campus.

President Buchman updates the community at All Hands Meeting

buildings and facilities-3797Approximately three times a year, President Lorne Buchman holds an “All Hands” meeting to update the community on the status, plans and priorities of collegewide initiatives. The All Hands meetings are customarily scheduled shortly after Board of Trustee meetings to allow the President to announce any decisions or areas of focus for the Trustees. On March 16, President Buchman updated the group on current priorities for the Trustees and College leadership.

Space planning and facilities upgrades are always moving targets. The College is mindful of the fact that moving is stressful and disruptive and the Facilities and Campus Planning department is spending considerable time looking at alternative scenarios to achieve a planned end result with the least disruption. One of the big issues presented to the Board of Trustees was the question of whether to prioritize building out academic spaces and completing essential building upgrades over building student housing. The College and the Trustees recognize that student housing is a significant concern for the student body and entering students. On the other hand, it is critical that the College create appropriate space for each academic program, including providing necessary shops, equipment, other student services and galleries.

The College decided on the following drivers for decisions regarding sequencing and implementation of facilities updates

  • Must be education focused
  • Must include removal of the Annex
  • Make all possible efforts to move programs only once
  • Balance interim needs with permanent spaces
  • Consider available space
  • Maintain maximum classroom counts
  • Achieve long term vision of redistribution
  • Consider financing strategies and constraint

Most importantly, should the College decide to update academic spaces prior to building on-campus student housing, the Trustees intend to launch a simultaneous initiative to address housing and affordability issues for students. Preliminarily, there are discussions surrounding the option of providing housing allowances or pre-leasing buildings in the surrounding area or along the Metro Gold Line. Any initiative surrounding student housing will have affordability as its primary goal. You can see various scenarios for who will be housed and where on the walls of the break room on the fourth floor of 1111 and will be posted on the Facilities and Campus Planning section of Inside ArtCenter later this month

President Buchman also reported on the ways ArtCenter is taking action regarding issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as detailed in a recent campuswide email from the Council on Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Personnel—the College is actively recruiting for a new Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation Administrator and Title IX Coordinator; two new outside Contract Title IX/Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation investigators; and is currently drafting a job description for a new Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, that will report directly to the President.
  • Training—We are exploring training options for employees, including exploring mandatory diversity training for all staff and faculty. We are also simultaneously exploring cultural sensitivity training for all students and/or expanded intercultural co-curricular programs; and piloting a design culture immersion program during the Summer term to help international English language learners to adapts to ArtCenter and the U.S.
  • Communication & Support Systems—Art Center is committed to better communication with student, faculty and staff; streamlining existing reporting structures; exploring best practices in regards to sexual harassment, based on the work of fellow institutions; looking at issues of access and affordability; and developing new strategies with the Board of Trustees to address issues of homelessness and chronic hunger, as well as catastrophic loss of financial resources

The President also reminded the community about the upcoming WSCUC accreditation visit and reported on the results of the Shared Governance Assessment Task Force. The complete All Hands address to the community, as well as earlier All Hands meetings, can be viewed here.

This week at ArtCenter

flats_friday3Monday, April 10, 2017

12:00–2:00 pm: Finals Fiasco—Dog Therapy
Room 201, Hillside Campus

Come get some love from our volunteer BARK therapy dogs!
Contact the CSE with questions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7:00 pm: Finals Fiasco—Studio Snacks
South Campus, All Buildings

Students studying and participating in evening classes are welcome to stop by our grab and go stations (1111 6th floor, 950 2nd floor, and 870 lobby) to pick up a few snacks to get them through the late night hours!

Contact the CSE with questions.

7:30 pm: Graduate Seminar Lecture Series—Ali Subotnick presents Camille Henrot
Los Angeles Times Media Center, Hillside Campus

12:00–1:00 pm: Yoga
Sinclaire Pavilion (Room 201 if raining or excessively cold), Hillside Campus

Free and open to the entire ArtCenter community. Mats are available for checkout in the CSE office.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

8:00–11:00 pm: Finals Fiasco—Late Night Breakfast
Café, Hillside Campus
8pm: Movie Night with Sticky Buns and Coffee
10pm: Full Breakfast buffet

This ArtCenter tradition fills every seat in the house! Students studying and participating in evening classes are welcome to 1st’s and 2nd’s to get them through the late night hours!

Contact the CSE with questions.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


1:00–2:00 pm: Yoga
Building Lobby or Room 101, 870 Building, South Campus

Mats are available for checkout in the CSE at Hillside.

1:00 pm: Finals Fiasco—Pizza Party
East Bridge, Hillside Campus

Stop by for a slice (or 2) and a coke! Staying nourished is the key to giving your mind the energy it needs to create!

Contact the CSE with questions.

5:00–8:000 pm: MDP Thesis Show and Symposium
Wind Tunnel Gallery, 950 Building, South Campus

Graduate Media Design Practice’s Thesis Exhibition will feature graduating student work in the context of comments by guest critics who will also participate in a symposium discussing relevant topics in design, technology and communication

7:00 am: Finals Fiasco— Bunny Museum Trip


Friday, April 14, 2017

7:00 pm: Design Runway 2017
2nd Floor, 1111 Building, South Campus

An exhibition and multimedia runway show featuring 10 wearable products created by students at ArtCenter College of Design. Models will wear clothing and accessories for all genders, children and dogs.
Questions? Call Carolline Kim at 626 396.4355

Saturday, April 15, 2017

ArtCenter for Teens: Spring Open House
See below for times
Both Campuses

ArtCenter for Teens is the College’s year-round program offering art and design classes to teens in grades 9—12. ArtCenter for Teens gives high school students an opportunity to explore their creative, learn about art and design disciplines and career opportunities, and study with a faculty that introduces professional practices and standards. Scholarships are available.

ArtCenter for Teens holds an informal Open House the last Saturday of the Spring term. Classrooms are open for visits during the last hour of the morning session (11 a.m.—12 noon) and last hour of the afternoon session (3—4 p.m.). Pick up a map and list of “Teens” classes to visit at tables at South Campus or Hillside Campus.

For more information, call the Public Programs office at 626 396-2319.

Knowledge is power: A Transportation Design student’s journey from Zimbabwe to ArtCenter


This story first appeared in Dot magazine.

One day, when then 6-year-old future Transportation Design student Thokozani Mabena was playing with friends in the shanty town where he grew up, in authoritarian-ruled Zimbabwe, he was drawn to a magazine he spotted near some trash bins.

Poring through the magazine, Mabena saw an article showcasing a Japanese designer who conceptualized the Nissan Z sports car. The article also featured a big, round, bright orange dot. Mabena didn’t know, during that pivotal moment of curiosity, that the dot represented ArtCenter, but he instinctively liked the article’s gorgeously vivid car design sketches.

“I’ve been sketching since I was 3. I was like, ‘Wow, maybe this is something I could do one day!’ and I just stored the thought in my memory bank,” said Mabena. “I didn’t know what a classic car was. I knew public transportation. I rode in carriages, pulled by a donkey. One time I rode an actual bull. Sometimes we had to walk long distances. Sometimes we took a truck with an open bed, and stood for hours. We rode bicycles, and in trains, buses, and then cars.”

Three decades after first seeing that ArtCenter dot, Mabena—who came to the United States in 2006 as a refugee—is now set to graduate this term, and will debut his ArtCenter Grad Show thesis project Airbnb-GO on April 20.

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Fresh Food Round the Clock at South Campus


Micro markets are now open and serving food 24/7 in the 950 and 870 buildings at South Campus. There are plenty of food options at the 950 micro market, located on the mezzanine. You can choose from sandwiches, salads and other fresh food that is prepared daily and stocked twice a day. There are also a number of frozen food options, including entrée items, White Castle burgers, breakfast sandwiches and frozen burritos. There are two coffee machines, one offering regular coffee and one offering espresso-style drinks. The espresso machine uses Peet’s Coffee that is fresh ground for each drink and it makes a mighty tasty cappuccino. There is also a wide candy selection, plenty of snack options and a number of ice cream choices. The micro market is a grab-and-go operation, where you select your choices and pay at a self-serve machine, similar to a grocery line self-pay. You can use your credit card or load cash onto a special micro market card.

The micro market at the 870 Building is smaller, almost a mini-micro market, but still offers fresh food items, cold beverage selections and a coffee machine. You will need to use a credit card to obtain your items, with payment based on a system of weights and measures.

Both micro markets are accessible 24/7 so you can choose your favorite midnight snack to get you through your latest project. But don’t grab and walk off without paying because the micro markets are monitored round the clock with video surveillance.

These micro markets are welcome additions to our South Campus, where the food offerings were slim for students studying into and through the night. Sodexo is maintaining the markets and is open to suggestions for items to be included.

Please send your thoughts to and make sure to note that the suggestion is for items to be carried in the South Campus micro markets.