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Studio School of Design Expands Summer Lighting Design Intensive for High School Students

Studio School of Design's founding principles were clear: Find a way to diversify the designers entering the performing arts profession. Getting there would clearly be a long-term project because it starts back at the middle school and high school levels.

In Summer of 2022, SSD co-founders Mark Stanley and Clifton Taylor tested both their vision and their mission. The Studio School of Design launched a pilot project: High School Intensive in Lighting Design.


That pilot program served 12 students over four days and proved a great success. It also garnered SSD recognition in the international LIT Spotlight award and an education award from Theatre Projects. Now for Summer 2023, SSD is expanding both the program offerings and the number of available positions for learners.

The SSD High School Intensive Summer '23 sessions will run from July 26 to August 2, 2023 at the Chelsea Factory in mid-town Manhattan. Targeted at Rising Juniors and Seniors who are currently in High School. The 7-day program includes hands-on work with lighting professionals, attendance at a performance, and a backstage tour. The class course work will culminate in a public showing of the learners lighting design work on the last day.

During the workshop, learners will also:

• Create a light plot and related paperwork like magic sheet for inclusion in a portfolio that follows the form of a professional drawing package.

• Gain new skills on the lighting console working with professional facilitators in small group settings.

• Created a resumé with new an understanding of the available pathways for further education and of contemporary jobs in the lighting industry.

• Assemble project photographs, videos, and documentation from the workshop to form the core of a portfolio

Key to all Studio School of Design's work to diversify the design community in production is the role of fund raising. Keeping the tuition costs free to the participants and overhead low is key to opening doors to the profession. Taylor says, "We are offering the workshop to talented learners who have a passion for theatre and light but maybe haven't had the mentorship opportunities or the facilities in their high schools to explore and learn what is possible. We are interested in helping all learners join this workshop, focusing on students attending public high schools, especially Title 1 institutions."

Both the recently given LIT SPOTLIGHT AWARD and the SSD mission focus on Studio School's work in "educational accessibility, diversity, and inclusivity by providing affordable (or free) learning environments and educational programs that prepare emerging lighting designer for the broad range of today's lighting careers."

Providing programming in design learning for high school students representing diverse backgrounds is key to fostering diversity and belonging in the lighting design professions. It needs to be affordable, and SSD's program is tuition free and includes a stipend for the participants. SSD's goal is to prepare learners for university admissions processes and eventual careers in light and design. That means participants will gain the tools and the techniques to succeed in the applications and admissions.

This upcoming workshop is being supported by an array of working professionals, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, foundations, industry publications, and helpful individuals. These currently include the Gilbert Hemsley Lighting Programs, Chelsea Factory, Lighting Design Group, ETC, Four Wall Entertainment, Available Light, Theater Projects, Mickey Rolfe, The Joyce Theater Foundation, Al Crawford, Lighting&Sound America, and Martin Lights.

For more information about supporting the Studio School High School work please go to: studioschoolofdesign.org/donation-page. SSD co-founders Stanley and Taylor will be joined this year by program facilitators Stacey Boggs, Cat Cusick, Emmanuel Delgado, and Lee Magadini. Special Lunchtime guests will include Al Crawford, Kevin Lawson, Ted Mather, and Brad Schiller among others. Also joining will be some returning 2022 students who will assist and add depth to the overall program through their own knowledge base.

"Studio School of Design is a wonderful group and I'm excited to be continuing my work with them this year," says designer and facilitator Cusik. "Getting to help shape the next generation of designers is a phenomenal privilege and to see how their young minds view storytelling and watch them be captivated by the power of light is inspiring."

Designer facilitator Boggs adds "that the magic of the Studio School of Design's High School Intensive is bringing people together at different stages in their knowledge of lighting design while increasing all participant's passion for the art form."

Co-founder Stanley also applauds Summer 2022's students for their infectious passion and creativity. "It shows in the student's own take-aways: their hands-on training with professional lighting equipment empowered them to create, they bonded with a cohort of likeminded students, they made friends, and their sheer joy of learning sent them back to their home schools eager to spread their new knowledge."

And what are the SSD Students' take on their experience? Pat M. (Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, Queens, New York): says "This program allowed me to deeply engage with lighting design, to learn a new vocabulary and how to use a light board."

Another FSSA student, Deandra B., adds "there were so many like-minded people who had so many creative ideas. It was an awesome experience that encourages more collaboration in the industry. I shared my experiences going in and took back what I learned at SSD about storytelling. This will push me to be a better designer and it strengthened my desire to go to a college that focuses on lighting design. And more importantly this program has taught me that I there are many areas beyond the theater where I can apply my training."

From Elizabeth, New Jersey's Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy, Isabella F. says, "Learning about all the parts and how things are affected by light was amazing. Now I know how to program the lights. The workshop gave me a lot of ideas about how to adapt the lights we have at my school."

Three participants came from the Academy for Performing Arts in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Lilly R. called out the experience of working with other designers and learning how to focus light. She went back to teach her schoolmates the lighting board tricks she learned at SSD. Darius E. was excited by his new knowledge of angle, color, rhythm, and tempo in lighLng. Another Scotch Plains student, Matthew A., was impressed by experiencing the lighting and projection designs of his first live professional dance performance in "Momix" at the Joyce Theater.

SUMMER 2023 Application and admission:
Apply at: studioschoolofdesign.org/courses/cs-001/
Applications Open Now
Application deadline: June 23, 2023
Notification on or around: July 1, 2023
Classes begin: July 26, 2023
Location: Midtown Manhattan at the Chelsea Factory.

For more information:
SSD High School Intensive: studioschoolofdesign.org/high-schoolprograms

The LIT award: litawards.com/about-lit-design-awards/


(2 June 2023)

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