Study With The Best: Stories from the Community Colleges

Study With The Best: Stories from the Community Colleges

August 23, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


♪[THEME MUSIC]♪>>>WELCOME TO
STUDY WITH THE BEST,” THE MAGAZINE SHOW
THAT’S ALL ABOUT CUNY. I’M TINABETH PINA. ON TODAY’S SHOW, WE’LL EXPLORE
CUNY’S LOCAL COLLEGES, TELL AN ACTIVIST’S
COMPELLING STORY, CHECK OUT THE PHOTO EXHIBIT AT
QUEENSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE,
AND SO MUCH MORE. BUT FIRST- QUEENSBOROUGH’S COMMUNITY
COLLEGE RECENTLY HOSTED AN EXHIBIT WHERE THE
ARTIST AND HIS SUBJECT HAD AN UNUSUALLY CLOSE BOND.>>MY NAME IS
MARK ASNIN. FOR THE PAST
ALMOST 35 YEARS, I HAVE BEEN A DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER. I STARTED OFF WITH CHARLIE WHEN
I WAS 18 YEARS OLD. MY FASCINATION
WITH UNCLE CHARLIE STARTED WAY BEFORE
I WAS 18. GROWING UP ON A
STREET CALLED NECK ROAD IN THE ’60s
AND ’70s, IT WAS REALLY THE GOOD
FELLOWS WORLD. SO IN MY FAMILY DYNAMIC, UNCLE
CHARLIE WAS THAT PERSON. HE WAS TATTOOED.
HE WAS A FIGHTER. HE HAD BEEN
ARRESTED. ONE TIME HE SHOWED
UP TO MY HOUSE, AND I WAS GOING SOMEWHERE, AND I
GOT IN HIS CAR. HE OPENED UP THE
GLOVE COMPARTMENT AND HE HAD LIKE A
.38. TO ME, THAT WAS
REALLY COOL. UNCLE CHARLIE WAS
A TOUGH UNCLE. MARCH 10th, 1976,
UNCLE CHARLIE WAS NEVER ABLE TO GO
BACK TO WORK. IN THOSE DAYS, IT WAS CALLED A
NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. HE WENT FROM LIKE
A BIG BODYBUILDING GUY, THE TOUGH GUY
UNCLE. HE WAS EMACIATED. HE WAS BEDRIDDEN,
HE WAS ANOREXIC. HE RECEIVED SOCIAL
SECURITY DISABILITY FOR A
DIAGNOSIS OF SCHIZOPHRENIA. IN THE PROJECTS,
IN THE BOOK, YOU SEE SOME OF THE
RECORDS FROM THE DOCTORS SAYING HE
HAS SCHIZOPHRENIA. BUT ON THE OTHER
HAND, OTHER DOCTORS WOULD TELL YOU THAT
WAS NOT A TRUE DIAGNOSIS. I DIDN’T ORIGINALLY GO
TO MY UNCLE AND ASK HIM BECAUSE OF HIS PHYSICAL
AND EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL CONDITION. IT
WAS INTIMIDATING TO ME. I WENT TO MY AUNT
AND SHE ASKED HIM. MARK WANTS TO
PHOTOGRAPH YOU AND PHOTOGRAPH THE
FAMILY FOR ART SCHOOL. SO HE SAID
ABSOLUTELY. BECAUSE WHEN WE
LOOK BACK ALL THESE YEARS LATER,
I WAS GOING TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIM. SO I WENT AND MADE
PICTURES EVERY WEEK. I TOOK THIS
PICTURE, AND IT’S THE FIRST PICTURE
IN THE BOOK THAT IS AN ENVIRONMENTAL SHOT
OF THE LIVING ROOM. HE’S LAYING IN
THIS CASTRO CONVERTIBLE LOOKING LIKE HE’S DEAD. YOU KNOW, IT’S ALL
WINDOW, AND MY PERSONAL
EXPRESSION TOLD THE CLASS EVEN
THOUGH I HATE DOCUMENTARY
PHOTOGRAPHY, THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE
SUPPOSED TO DO. THIS IS IN 85
PALMETTO STREET IN THE LIVING ROOM
WHERE HE SLEPT ON A CASTRO CONVERTIBLE.
FROM ’81 UNTIL TODAY, HE’S REALLY BEEN
SITTING IN ONE ROOM WAITING. HE’S WAITING FOR
LIKE THE NEXT DAY FOR LIFE TO BE
RIGHT. HE NEVER BROKE
POSITIVE, HE NEVER BROKE HIS
EMOTIONAL WOES. HIS DREAM TO GO LIVE IN
CALIFORNIA NEVER CAME. MY UNCLE CLEARLY
BELIEVES HE’S A GENIUS BECAUSE ONE
PSYCHIATRIST ONCE SAID HE WAS BORDERLINE GENIUS. HE
TAKES THAT INFORMATION AND HE USES IT THAT HE
WAS A GENIUS AND HE NEVER GOT OUT. IN 1987, CHARLIE’S
WIFE CAROL LEFT HIM AND ABANDONED
THE CHILDREN. FOR MANY YEARS,
SHE DIDN’T SEE THE CHILDREN. SHE DIDN’T SEND
CHILD SUPPORT. THAT’S WHEN NEW
YORK AND MANY OTHER PARTS OF THE
COUNTRY WERE GOING THROUGH THE CRACK
EPIDEMIC. ALL OF A SUDDEN,
CHARLIE WAS LIVING AND COHABITATING
WITH WOMEN WHO WERE ADDICTED TO
CRACK. IN THIS EXHIBITION
YOU SEE AND IN THE BOOK, YOU SEE
WOMEN SMOKING CRACK. YOU SEE THEM LIVING IN THE HOUSE
WITH HIM. YOU SEE THEM IN
OTHER INTIMATE MOMENTS. I ALSO HAD MY
UNCLE EXPLAINING TO THEM THAT THIS
IS SOMETHING HE WANTED. HOW CHARLIE
WANTED HIS STORY TO BE TOLD, BLANCA UNDERSTOOD 15
MINUTES OF FAME. SHE UNDERSTOOD
THAT SHE WAS NOW BEING PHOTOGRAPHED. I
PHOTOGRAPHED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE BECAUSE
UNCLE CHARLIE REALLY GAVE ME THAT HUGE
OPENING. I TOLD MY STORY
VISUALLY. I CURATED THAT. I EDITED THAT. AND
I THEN RECORDED HIM. AND HE GOT TO TELL
HIS STORY. HE LIVED IT. I WENT HOME AT THE
END OF THE DAY. THAT’S SOMETHING
HE ALWAYS REMINDED ME. SO HERE AT THE ART
GALLERY, THEY’VE INCORPORATED SOME
OF THE TEXT AND IN THE ROOM THAT THEY
BUILT WHERE, I MEAN, OUTSIDE OF
HIS WORDS, YOU CAN GO INSIDE AND
LISTEN TO HIM.>>I WAS VERY HAPPY TO
COLLABORATE WITH THE SCHOOL OVER THESE 15 YEARS
OF THEIR SUPPORT. I THINK THE
AMAZING THING ABOUT THE GALLERY
IS THAT THEY’RE WILLING TO SHOW
THIS KIND OF WORK IN 2016. THAT’S A REAL
COMMITMENT TO THE STUDENTS AND TO THE
COMMUNITY. I THINK WHEN AN
ARTIST OR ANYBODY ENTERS INTO A
PROJECT LIKE THIS, IT’S HARD TO KNOW
THE CONSEQUENCES. MY FIVE COUSINS,
THEY HATE THAT I EXPOSED THEIR
INNER SECRETS, THE DARKNESS OF THEIR
LIVES. THEY REALLY DON’T
LIKE THAT UNCLE CHARLIE’S WORDS,
WHICH ARE SO HARD, WERE PUBLISHED IN
A BOOK. WAS THAT WORTH IT? I DON’T REGRET
DOING THE PROJECT. I GOT TO TELL MY
UNCLE’S STORY. PEOPLE WILL SEE
IT. I HOPE THAT OTHER
FAMILIES LOOK AT IT. BUT I DO HOPE SOME
PEOPLE, THAT THEY’LL BE ABLE TO
SEE THIS WORK AND SAY, THAT REMINDS
ME OF MY COUSIN’S SISTER. BUT THEN MAYBE THEY GET A
BETTER UNDERSTANDING FOR WHATEVER PROCESS
THEY GO THROUGH.>>DESPITE SOME
DAUNTING OBSTACLES, RENATA HILL IS EARNING
HER ASSOCIATES DEGREE AT BMCC AND IS ON THE PATH
TO A BRIGHT FUTURE.>>WHEN RENATA HILL MADE
THE DECISION TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL FOR HER
DEGREE IN HUMAN SERVICES, SHE DIDN’T LET HER
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND STAND IN HER WAY. RENATA HILL IS ONE OF THE STARS
OF AN AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY, OUT
IN THE NIGHT, WHICH TELLS HER
STORY OF HOW SHE WAS INCARCERATED
ON ONE SUMMER NIGHT IN 2006.>>WE DECIDED,
LET’S GO TO THE CITY. I WAS LIKE, THE
CITY? OUR SAFE HAVEN. WE GET APPROACHED
BY THIS GUY. IT WAS SOMETHING
HE SAID, AND HE WAS LIKE, LET ME
GET SOME OF THAT. I’M LIKE, LAUGHING, AND
I’M LIKE, YOU CAN’T HAVE NONE OF THEM.
WE’RE ALL GAY. ALL OF THEM IS MY
GIRLS. I’M STILL NOT
THINKING THIS COULD ESCALATE
INTO SOMETHING SERIOUS. WE HAVE GONE BACK
AND FORTH. THAT KIND OF TOOK
A TURN TO THE LEFT BECAUSE AT SOME POINT, HE GOT
EXTREMELY ANGRY. HE SPIT ON ME AND
THREW A CIGARETTE. EVERYTHING JUST WENT LIKE CRAZY
FROM THERE. YOU KNOW, OUR
DEFENSE WENT UP. WE HAD TO PROTECT
OURSELVES.>>DURING AN
AGONIZING TRIAL, RENATA WAS CONVICTED
OF GANG ASSAULT IN THE SECOND DEGREE AND SENTENCED
TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON BUT SHE ONLY SERVED
THREE AND A HALF.>>WHEN I CAME
HOME IN 2010, I WAS WITH THIS TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM,
AND THEIR MAIN FOCUS WAS FOR ME TO GET IN COLLEGE. MY MAIN FOCUS WAS
FOR ME TO GET CUSTODY OF MY SON
BACK. I GOT MY SON BACK, AND I STARTED
LOOKING FOR JOBS. CLOSED DOORS, AND
CONSTANTLY, THE DOOR WAS BEING CLOSED. I WAS
GIVEN OPPORTUNITIES. BUT IN THE PROCESS, I WAS
HELPING SO MANY OTHERS AROUND ME BY SHARING
MY STORY, BY HEARING THEM CRY AND
GIVING THEM WORDS OF WISDOM THAT I
WASN’T EVEN TAKING MYSELF. I WAS LIKE, HOW AM
I ABLE TO HELP SO MANY PEOPLE BUT I
CAN’T HELP MYSELF? WHAT IS IT I NEED
TO BE DOING? EVERYBODY KEPT SAYING, YOU
SHOULD GO TO SCHOOL, YOU SHOULD BE A SOCIAL WORKER. I’M NOT GOING TO
SCHOOL. I BARELY MADE IT
OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. YOU WANT ME TO DO
EXTRA YEARS IN COLLEGE? I PUT IN AN
APPLICATION.>>SIX YEARS LATER, SHE’S
WELL ON HER WAY TO RECEIVING HER ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE. HER SUCCESS,
HOWEVER, DID NOT COME WITHOUT
OBSTACLES.>>IT’S GOING TO
BE REALLY DIFFICULT TO FIND YOU AN INTERNSHIP DUE TO YOUR
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND. A LOT OF THE ORGANIZATIONS
USED TO ACCEPT STUDENTS WITH CRIMINAL
BACKGROUNDS, THEY NO LONGER ARE DOING THAT.>>RENATA’S PERSEVERANCE
LANDED HER AN INTERNSHIP AT A NOT FOR PROFIT
COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATION THAT
PROMOTES ALTERNATIVES TO
INCARCERATION.>>SHE’S REALLY,
REALLY DEDICATED IN WANTING TO MAKE
A CHANGE FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS THAT HISTORY
OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. SHE HAS SEEN SOME
HORRIBLE ATROCITIES, I WANT TO CALL. WHILE SHE HAS BEEN
INCARCERATED. BUT THE MAIN FOCUS
FOR HER IS REALLY SHE WANTS TO BE
ABLE TO MOVE ON SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE
DON’T HAVE THE SAME TYPE OF SUFFERING OR INCIDENTS
THAT SHE’S HAD TO ENDURE.>>RENATA STRUGGLED
TO FIND AN INTERNSHIP BROUGHT BMCC’S ATTENTION
TO THIS PROBLEM OF PEOPLE WITH CRIMINAL
BACKGROUNDS IN COLLEGE. LISA ROSE IS
DEDICATED TO THIS ISSUE.>>WE WANT PEOPLE
TO BE ENGAGED IN THE LIFE OF THE
COLLEGE, NOT ONLY IN THE CLASSROOM, BUT WE CAN BE
REALLY, VERY, VERY CRITICAL, IMPORTANT TO
PEOPLE WHO COME HOME FROM OR WHO
ARE RE-ENTERING AND COMING BACK
FROM PRISON IN BEING ABLE TO CREATE THE
LIFE THAT THEY IMAGINED. BUT IT’S REALLY,
REALLY A STRUGGLE. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT THE STRUGGLES ARE.>>PROFESSOR ROSE
IS AMAZING. I FEEL LIKE SHE’S
REALLY DOWN TO, LIKE, HELP THIS SITUATION. AND TO
IMPROVE THIS SITUATION. I FEEL LIKE SHE SEES THAT
THERE’S AN ISSUE. AND THAT SHE’S
TRYING TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO
IMPLEMENT SOME TYPE OF PLAN SO
THAT WE, AND WHEN I SAY WE, I MEAN
FELLOW STUDENTS THAT HAVE A
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND, HAVE A
SAY IN THAT. I AM NOT IN A
SHELTER ANYMORE. I HAVE A THREE
BEDROOM APARTMENT WITH ME, MY PARTNER, MY
SON, AND HER DAUGHTER. MY PLACE IS LIKE
SO COMFORTABLE, JUST KNOWING IT’S
NOT A JAIL CELL. AND WHEN I COME
HOME, I’M ABLE TO PUT MY KEY IN THE
DOOR AND KNOW I’M COMING HOME TO MY
FAMILY. EVERY DAY, I WENT
THROUGH ALL DAY, THAT MOMENT IT’S
ALL WORTH IT BECAUSE I LOOK AT
THEM AND THINK, ONE DAY WE’RE
GOING TO BE GOOD WRK RIGHT NOW,
WE’RE ALL RIGHT. BUT ONE DAY, WE’RE
GOING TO BE IN THIS REALLY,
REALLY AWESOME PLACE. I DON’T KNOW WHERE. BUT
IT EXISTS SOMEWHERE. YOU KNOW?>>COMING UP NEXT, BMCC ART
PROFESSOR CHARLES McGILL EXPLORES MATTERS OF RACE
AND REPRESENTATION THROUGH A KIND OF
ART THAT IS ENTIRELY HIS OWN.>>YOU KNOW AT ONE
POINT, THE FORMAL TRAINING AS AN ARTIST IN TERMS OF
DRAWING AND PAINTING ACTUALLY CONCEIVING
OF WHETHER IT’S OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING OR
OBSERVATIONAL DRAWING, AT SOME POINT, THAT
GETS LEFT BEHIND. IT’S KIND OF LIKE,
NOW WHAT? ONE DAY COMING
BACK FROM PLAYING GOLF UPSTATE, WE
RAN INTO SOME TRAFFIC. I WASN’T GOING TO
BE ABLE TO MAKE IT HOME IN TIME TO
DRESS OUT OF MY GOLF CLOTHES AND
MAKE IT DOWN TO CHELSEA WHERE I WAS GOING
TO GO AND SEE AN OPENING. WHEN I WAS THERE,
A WOMAN SAID, DO YOU MIND IF I TAKE A PICTURE
OF YOU? I SAID, NO. WHY? SHE SAID, I HAVE
NEVER SEEN GOLF CLUBS AT AN ART
OPENING BEFORE. AND THAT REALLY
WAS A MOMENT WHERE I SAID, IF I CAN
SOMEHOW INCORPORATE GOLF, GOLF EQUIPMENT, GOLF
WHATEVER, GOLF PARAPHERNALIA, IF
I CAN GET THAT INTO MY STUDIO
PRACTICE AND COMBINE IT WITH MY
EVER PRESENT DESIRE TO WORK THROUGH RACE AND
REPRESENTATION, YOU KNOW, IT WAS A
PERFECT MARRIAGE. YOU TAKE THIS SYMBOL OF WHITE
EXCLUSIVITY, WHITE PRIVILEGE, WHITE
PRIVATE COUNTRY CLUBS. TAKE THAT AND RIP
IT APART. RIP THE NOTION APART, RIP THE
SYMBOL APART. REASSEMBLE IT, AND
LET’S START THAT CONVERSATION
AGAIN. WHEN I DID MY FIRST GOLF
BAG, IT WAS THE LYNCH BAG. I HAD A BLACK BAG
IN THE CORNER OF MY STUDIO, AND I
THOUGHT, I’M GOING TO DOWNLOAD SOME
LYNCHING IIMAGERY, AND I’M GOING TO
GLUE IT TO THE BAG. SO I DID THAT AND
I MADE SOMETHING I THOUGHT I WOULD
NEVER MAKE, EVER. THE RAFT OF THE
KATRINA BAG IS THE ONE BAG THAT IS
PARTICULAR TO A CERTAIN EVENT,
ONLY BECAUSE THE IMAGERY ON THAT
BAG REMINDED ME OF A FAVORITE
PAINTING BY JERICHO, WHICH IS
THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA. WHEN YOU START
TAKING THE BAGS APART, THERE’S
HARD PLASTIC, HEAVY, YOU KNOW,
NYLON STITCHING. THERE’S BRASS. RIVETS. THERE’S STEEL
THROUGHOUT. BUT YOU DON’T KNOW
THAT UNTIL YOU START TAKING THEM
APART. WHEN YOU START
TAKING THEM APART IS WHEN YOU SEE, THESE ARE
REALLY RESISTANT TO CHANGE. AND IF YOU PUT
THAT IN A LARGER CONTEXT, AND YOU LOOK AT,
LET’S JUST SAY FOR EXAMPLE, THE ELECTION OF
BARACK OBAMA, AND YOU SEE THAT SINCE THAT ELECTION, THERE
HAS BEEN A LOT OF PUSHBACK. A LOT OF RESISTANCE TO
CHANGE. THESE ARE GOLF BAGS. THEY’RE MEANT TO
HOLD GOLF CLUBS AND GOLF BALLS AND
TEES AND SO ON. FOR ME, THERE WAS
AN INHERENT OTHER POSSIBILITY FOR
THESE THINGS. WHEN I WAS IN THE
GOLF STORE, SELLING GOLF
CLUBS, WE WOULD PUT ALL THE GOLF
CLUBS IN THE BAG, PUT THE HOOD ON
TOP OF THE BAG, AND SET IT OFF TO
THE SIDE. I WOULD LOOK AT IT
AND THINK AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES
THIS IS LIKE A LITTLE KLAN HEAD
PERSON HERE? AM I THE ONLY ONE
WHO SEES THAT? THESE NEWER
ABSTRACT PIECES COMING AFTER THESE
HOODED PIECES, THAT IS A
TRANSCENDENCE OF SOME SORT OF THAT
PRIOR KIND OF POLITICAL/RACIAL
ELEMENT THAT WAS VERY MUCH A PART
OF HOW THE WORK WAS MADE AND HOW
THE WORK WAS CONCEIVED. AS I APPROACHED
THESE FOUND OBJECTS AND STARTED MAKING ART
WITH THEM, I COULDN’T NOT MAKE
THEM WITH THE MIND SET OF A PAINTER OR A MIND
SET OF A DRAFTSMAN, REALLY, SO THIS
CURRENT WORK IS WHAT I LIKE TO CALL
PAINTING INFORMED ASSEMBLAGE, OR
PAINTED INFORMED SCULPTURE. IT’S INFORMED BY
THE PROCESS I USE WHEN I PAINT. SO IF YOU SAW, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE LAYERS OF COLOR,
TEXTURE, YOU WOULD SEE WHAT I AM
TALKING ABOUT IN TERMS OF THE
PAINTING PROCESS. ESPECIALLY THIS PIECE HERE.
IN BACK OF ME. DILEMMA. THE FACT THAT I’M
MAKING THESE TARGETS AND
THERE’S THIS RASH OF KILLINGS BY
POLICE OF YOUNG BLACK MEN, I’M NOT
SAYING, OH, WOW, THERE’S SO MANY
RASH OF KILLINGS BY POLICE OF YOUNG
BLACK MEN, I HAVE TO MAKE SOMETHING
THAT SPEAKS TO THAT AND I’LL MAKE
A TARGET BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE THERE’S A TARGET
ON YOUNG BLACK MEN’S BACKS. THAT’S NOT THE
PROCESS. THE PROCESS IS, OH, THIS KIND OF WORKS
IN THIS CLIMATE. THE WORK REALLY,
IN MY OPINION, CAME AS A
PRECURSOR TO ALL THIS. IF WE JUST WANT TO
TALK AESTHETICS, THAT’S FINE, TOO. SOMEONE TOLD ME
THIS THE OTHER DAY. THEY WERE LIKE,
YOU OWN THE GOLF BAG, WHICH I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW,
PRETTY GOOD. LIKE JOHN CHAMBERLAIN OWNS
DISCARDED CAR METAL. I’M NOT SAYING I’M
ANDY WARHOL, BUT HE OWNS THE
CAMPBELL’S SOUP CAN. THAT WAS KIND OF A
NEAT THING TO HEAR, OH, YOU OWN
THE GOLF BAG. THAT WAS A NEAT
THING TO HEAR. TEACHING AT BMCC
IS, FOR ME, I GET TO REVISIT MY POST
HIGH SCHOOL YEARS. I LOVE WATCHING
THAT PROCESS. I LOVE SEEING
STUDENTS WHEN I GO OVER TO THEM, MOST
OF MY STUDENTS ARE LOOKING FOR LOOK
THIS LITTLE SHOVE ON THE SHOULDER
WHEN I WALK BY THEM. THEY TURN AND LOOK
AT ME AND I GO, THERE YOU GO. AND THE SMILE THAT
THEY GET BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T THINK
THEY WOULD GET THERE, BUT THE FACT I GET TO
INFLUENCE STUDENTS THE WAY I WAS INFLUENCED
EARLY ON, THE WAY I GET TO HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO POSSIBLY CHANGE
THE DIRECTION OF THE WAY THEY THINK
AND CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF WHERE
THEIR LIVES ARE GOING, JUST BASED
ON THE FACT THAT SOMEBODY SAID, YOU
HAVE IT. YOU KNOW, I LOVE
THE TEACHING. I LOVE MAKING THE
ART. IT’S NEVER BEEN
ABOUT WHETHER I’M GOING TO BE ABLE
TO SELL IT OR NOT. IT’S THE URGENCY OF MAKING
THE WORK THAT MATTERS MOST.>>>BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT
LaGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS HELPING LOCAL
AND INTERNATIONAL ENTREPRENEURS GROW THEIR BUSINESS. LET’S HAVE
A LOOK. >>AT LaGUARDUA COMMUNITY
COLLEGE NY DESIGN OFFERS A SPACE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS
BOTH LOCAL AND FOREIGN TO GROW
THEIR SMALL BUSINESS RIGHT
HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.>>IT’S ALREADY A MAJOR
CHALLENGE TO START A COMPANY. AND THE FAILURE
RATE IS 9 OUT OF 10.>>TRISTAN BEL IS THE
DIRECTOR OF NEW YORK DESIGNS, A SMALL BUSINESS
INCUBATOR, A ONE STOP SHOP FOR HELPING YOUNG
COMPANIES GET OFF THE GROUND.>>THIS PROGRAM OF LAGUARDIA
COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS MEANT TO HELP ENTREPRENEURS
WITH HARDWARE, TECHNOLOGY, AND
DESIGN INDUSTRY. SO WE ARE — WE
HELP VERY EARLY STAGE COMPANIES
GET STARTED AND GROW WITH OUR SERVICES AND
OUR FABRICATION LABS. WE LIKE TO THINK
ABOUT IT AS A FABULOUS LAB. IT’S SHORT FOR
FABRICATION LAB, AND IT’S REALLY
DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE
TO CREATE THEIR PROTOTYPE.>>OFFERING CHEAP
OFFICE SPACE, TECHNICAL SUPPORT,
AND SOME SERIOUS HIGH END POWER
TOOLS IN THIS HIGH-TECH
FABRICATION LAB, NEW YORK DESIGNS
IS HOME TO SOME OF THE FRESHEST
INNOVATORS IN THE CITY SHARING THE
SAME COMPLEX FROM SHARK TANK WINNERS TO NEW
YORK CITY’S NEXT TOP MAKERS.>>WE’RE ONE OF
THE RESIDENT COMPANIES AT NY
DESIGNS AT CUNY LaGUARDIA. WE SHARE A SPACE
WITH ABOUT 12 DIFFERENT COMPANIES ALSO IN
THE START-UP PHASE AND DO BUSINESS IN NEW YORK
CITY AND AROUND THE WORLD.>>IT’S A START-UP
IN NEW YORK CITY AND WE MAKE DESKTOP ELECTRONIC
3-D PRINTERS. OUR MACHINES CAN
PRINT PRINTED CIRCUITBOARDS, THE
KIND OF THINGS YOU SEE IN ANY
ELECTRONIC DEVICE RIGHT IN FRONT OF
YOU IN LES THAN AN HOUR.>>WHERE MOST CAN
ONLY PRINT PLASTIC, THESE FACTORY PRINTERS
ARE ABLE TO PRINT THE SILVER WIRINGS THAT
MAKE UP CIRCUITRY, BUT UNFORTUNATELY,
PEOPLE LIKE JEFF OFTEN DON’T GET TO
BE PART OF THE INNOVATIONS. HE’S NOT AN AMERICAN
CITIZEN. HE’S FROM CANADA. WHAT’S THE HARDEST
PART OF COMING TO WORK IN AMERICA?>>THE MOST
DIFFICULT PART IF YOU’RE A FOREIGNER
IS GETTING THE VISA. GETTING THAT
VISA VIA WORKING AS A STUDENT IS AN
EASIEST WAY, BUT THE PROCESS IS
VERY TIME CONSUMING.>>THAT’S A BURDEN
THE CITY IS TRYING TO ALLEVIATE WITH
A NEW UPCOMING PROGRAM CALLED THE
INTERNATIONAL INNOVATORS
INITIATIVE INTO NYC.>>THAT PROGRAM
SOLVES A PROBLEM FOR NATIONAL
ENTREPRENEURS WHICH IS BEING
ALLOWED TO WORK IN THE U.S. IT’S A PROGRAM
SPONSORED BY THE NYC, AND THE GOAL IS TO CREATE
PATHWAYS FOR INTERNATIONAL ENTREPRENEURS TO
COME AND BUILD THEIR COMPANIES IN
NEW YORK CITY.>>IF THIS SOUNDS
LIKE THE HOT BUTTON POLITICAL
REFRAIN OF GIVING UP AMERICAN JOBS, IT’S QUITE
LITERALLY THE OPPOSITE. RATHER THAN
SHIPPING JOBS OVERSEAS, INTO NYC IS BRINGING
INDUSTRY INNOVATORS INTO AMERICA FROM OVERSEAS WHO
OTHERWISE MAY HAVE SET UP SHOP ABROAD, AND
WITH THEM COME NEW COMPANIES AND NEW
JOBS RIGHT HERE.>>IT BRINGS
INNOVATION HERE. IT BRINGS JOB
CREATION. BECAUSE FOR THOSE
WHO SUCCEED, THERE’S USUALLY A
BIG JOB GROWTH.>>THERE’S REALLY
BEEN A TANGIBLE BENEFIT TO THE COMMUNITY
BY VIRTUE OF THIS PROGRAM HERE.>>AS MUCH AS
POSSIBLE, WHEN A RESIDENT GRADUATES
FROM NEW YORK DESIGNS, WE LIKE
THEM TO STAY AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE,
IDEALLY IN LONG ISLAND CITY.>>SEVEN CUNY
SCHOOLS ARE PART OF THE PROGRAM TO
PROVIDE VISAS TO FOREIGN
ENTREPRENEURS. IT’S MADE LaGUARDIA
THE ONLY COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN THE PROGRAM, AND
LaGUARDIA’S INVOLVEMENT GOES TO SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY
AS MUCH AS THE COLLEGE. WITH THE
SUCCESSFUL START-UPS PUTTING
DOWN ROOTS IN THE CITY, THEY BRING
THE JOB GROWTH TO THE NEW YORK
POPULATION, AND NOW THE ATTRACTION FOR ECONOMIC
GROWTH IS GREATER.>>WITH A PROGRAM
LIKE THIS, YOU DEFINITELY WILL SEE A LOT OF POPULARITY. EVERYONE I TALK TO
WHO IS FROM OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WORKING
IN NEW YORK OR AS A STUDENT ARE ALWAYS
ASKING ME, HOW DID YOU GET HERE? THAT’S THE
QUESTION I HEAR THE MOST FROM
EVERY SORT OF POTENTIAL
ENTREPRENEUR OR YOU KNOW, NEW
ENTREPRENEUR. AND I’M ALWAYS
DOLING OUT ADVICE AND CUNY IS ONE MORE PROGRAM
TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT.>>IF YOU HAVE A
PHYSICAL PRODUCT AND YOU’RE
STARTING A COMPANY, WE WANT TO HELP YOU.>>NY DESIGN HAS
ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT PLACE FOR TALENTED PEOPLE TO
GROW THEIR BUSINESS, AND NOW, WITH THE VISA
PROCESS SIMPLIFIED, THE TALENT POOL FOR
CREATING BUSINESS AND JOBS IN NEW YORK CITY IS
GREATER THAN EVER. FOR “STUDY WITH
THE BEST,” I’M ARI GOLDBERG.>>HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT
IT TAKES TO BECOME AN ARTIST? A SPECIAL TALENT? A CREATIVE MIND? LET’S CHECK OUT
THE COMMUNITY ART PROGRAM AND SEE
HOW THEY HELP THEIR STUDENTS
BECOME REAL ARTISTS.>>ARTISTS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE
OPEN MINDED AND IMAGINATIVE. WITH HAVING THAT
WAY OF PERCEIVING THINGS, YOU SHOULD ALSO BE OPEN TO
TRY ALL KINDS OF FORMATIONS OF ART.>>WE GUIDE OUR
STUDENTS, YOU KNOW, THROUGH THEIR DISCIPLINES.
WE TRY TO HAVE A VERY REAL GENERALIST
APPROACH TO TEACHING ART.>>AT THE MOMENT, I’M ACTUALLY
WORKING ON A SCULPTURE. THE OBJECT I’M
CURRENTLY WORKING ON IS I’M MAKING A
BIRD’S NEST. IT’S A VERY
METICULOUS TASK TO FORM AND MAKE EACH TWIG
THAT’S GOING TO BE THE NEST. AND FROM THERE,
I’M GOING TO HAVE TWO HANDS COMING
OUT OF IT. AND KIND OF LIKE
INTERTWINING WITH EACH OTHER.>>I MAKE A SERIES
OF SKIN DRAWINGS THAT ARE DRAWINGS
ON GLASS MADE FROM ACTUAL HUMAN SKIN
THAT’S SOURCED FROM THE INSIDE OF
MY MOUTH, COLLECTED IN SMALL AMOUNTS
OVER LONG PERIOD OF TIME. AND THEN THE SKIN
IS PIGMENTED WITH TATTOO INKS AND
DRIED TO THE SURFACE OF THE
GLASS TO FORM IMAGES.>>THE CONCEPT
BEHIND THE SKIN WORK IS BOTH A
MATERIAL EXPLORATION AS WELL AS A WAY OF TRANSLATING
THIS CHEEK BITING HABIT INTO A MORE
CONSTRUCTIVE OUTLET. TRYING TO CHANNEL
THE ANXIETY RESPONSE THAT
SIGNIFIES THE CHEEK BITING INTO
A VISUAL FORM. I HAVE BEEN AT
LaGUARDIA SINCE 2009. I TEACH MOSTLY THE
TWO-DEMENTIONAL STUDIO ART
DISCIPLINE, INCLUDING DRAWING,
PAINTING, DESIGN. AS WELL AS THE
CAPSTONE ART AND DESIGN SEMINAR
CLASS.>>WHEN I FIRST STARTED HERE,
I TOOK A SCULPTURE CLASS ON THE SIDE FOR FUN. WHEN I TOOK IT, I
WAS FASCINATED BY IT. I MADE THINGS THAT
I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD MAKE IN MY
LIFE. I REALIZED I WAS
ABLE TO USE MY MIND AND MY HANDS
IN A CREATIVE WAY.>>WHAT WE COVER
IN THIS CLASS IS PORTFOLIO CREATION
IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS. HOW DO STUDENTS
CREATE AND MANAGE A BODY OF WORK
THAT SPEAKS TO THEIR ABILITIES
AND THEIR INTERESTS AND WHERE THEY
WANT TO BE AS AN ARTIST.>>WELL, WE’RE
CURRENTLY SUPPOSED TO RE-INVENT THE
SELF-PORTRAIT. WHEN YOU THINK OF
A SELF-PORTRAIT, YOU USUALLY THINK
OF JUST YOUR FACE, BUT IT ISN’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO
BE THAT. IT CAN BE A
DIFFERENT FORM, LIKE A PERSONAL OBJECT THAT
DEFINES WHO YOU ARE. AND THAT’S WHEN
YOU START TO REALLY THINK OF
WHO YOU ARE AS AN ARTIST, ASIDE FROM
WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON.>>I TRY TO LET
THEM GUIDE THEMSELVES TO
THEIR OWN INTERESTS. MAKE THEM THINK
ABOUT WHO AM I. WHERE DO I COME
FROM, WHAT IS MY PARTICULAR CULTURE
AND HERITAGE. WHAT ARE MY
INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF THE REALM OF
ART SO THEY CAN KNOW THERE ARE SO
MANY POSSIBILITIES IN THE WORLD AND ART CAN HAPPEN
IN ALL OF THEM.>>MY FAVORITE,
FAVORITE WORK I HAVE IS A NON REPRESENTATIONAL
PAINTING. IT HAS A LOT OF
PAINTING. I DID IT WITHIN
ONE HOUR. I BROUGHT IT TO AN
ART EXHIBITION AND EVERYBODY WAS
CRAZY ABOUT IT. THAT WAS THE FIRST
TIME I EVER SHOWED MY WORK, DISPLAYED
MY WORK. IT ENCOURAGED ME
TO CONTINUE DOING MY ART.>>WE WANT TO
ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO GET THEIR WORK
OUT IN THE WORLD, HAVE IT SEEN BY PEOPLE OUTSIDE
THEIR CLASSROOM COMMUNITY OR A COLLEGE COMMUNITY
AT LaGUARDIA.>>WE HAD THIS WONDERFUL
EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE STUDENTS THAT
HAPPENED THIS PAST WINTER AT THE
FALCHI BUILDING. THEY APPROACHED US
BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO PUT TOGETHER A HOLIDAY
WINTER THEMED EXHIBITION. IT WAS HIGHLY
COLLABORATIVE. THERE WAS THESE
GIANT HANGING PAPER SPHERES THAT
THE STUDENTS PAINTED ON AND ADORNED WITH
OTHER COLLAGE ELEMENTS. THEY WORKED
COLLABORATIVELY TO PUT THESE
TOGETHER. WE WERE VERY PROUD
OF WHAT THEY DID, AND I THINK THEY
WERE ALSO VERY PROUD OF THE
EXHIBITION. THE EXHIBITION ADD
THE GRADUATE CENTER IS PART OF
AN ACADEMIC CONFERENCE CALLED
THE WEIGHT OF ALL FLESH. SO MY WORK IN THE
CONFERENCE WILL BE AN EXHIBITION OF A
VERY LARGE SKIN ON GLASS WORK AS WELL
AS A SCULPTURAL DIORAMA. I’LL BE WORKING WITH SOME OF
MY STUDENTS FROM LaGUARDIA. I’LL HAVE THEM ASSISTING
ME WITH MANY OF THE TASKS ASSOCIATED WITH
PUTTING ON A SHOW, ART HANDLING, INSTALLING WORK, GUARDING THE
WORK, AS WELL AS ANSWERING QUESTIONS PEOPLE
MAY HAVE, LIKE A GALLERY ATTENDANT
WOULD DO. WE HAVE BEEN WORKING A LOT
ON A NUMBER OF INTERNSHIP PROGRAMS IN THE
RECENT SEMESTERS WHERE WE’RE SENDING OUR
STUDENTS TO THE AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM,
THE QUEENS MUSEUM, AS WELL AS SOME OTHER PLACES
LOCALLY, AND THE STUDENTS ARE GETTING THIS KIND
OF REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE. THESE INTERNSHIPS
THAT MAKE THEM HIGHLY COMPETITIVE
WHEN THEY GO TO TRANSFER TO OTHER
ART PROGRAMS, FOR THEIR BACHELORS.>>I RECENTLY GOT
ACCEPTED TO HUNTER COLLEGE, WHICH IS
LIKE THE SCHOOL I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED
TO GO TO. I’LL BE TAKING ART CLASSES
THERE. I’LL BE MAJORING IN POLITICAL SCIENCE.
I CAN’T TURN AWAY FROM ART. THAT’S A PART OF
MY LIFE.>>THAT’S OUR SHOW
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