Find Your Voice: Environmental Artist Maya Lin Addresses the 2018 Graduates of SVA

May 9, 2018 at 08:40AM
via School of Visual Arts | SVA | New York City

Next up, representing the master’s degree candidates, was Michael L. Dubose, Jr., who received his MFA in Computer Arts. A “self-professed Disney kid,” Michael discovered action animation as an undergrad, advancing into the world of 3-D animation while at SVA.

“As artists,” Michael encouraged, “understanding the role you play is significant for making change. The racial and societal challenges we are currently facing in the US are an uphill battle… Never fold under the societal pressure, and always keep an open mind. Upon facing adversity and negativity, choose to react with positivity. When the world shows you chaos and hatred, channel your energy and fight it with love.”

He concluded, “I challenge you to broaden your horizons, take action, lose control to gain control, and find your place in society.”

In his remarks, SVA President David Rhodes acknowledged the recent loss of SVA alumnus and faculty member Tim Rollins, offering him as a role model of active engagement and citizenry for the new graduates, who hail from thirty states, Puerto Rico, and 53 countries. “In addition to being artists, teachers and writers, all of you are also citizens. In fact, you're citizens first.”

Rhodes then took a stand as a champion of education. “As SVA’s Chairman of the Board Milton Glaser has said, ‘The purpose of art is to instruct and delight.’ Although I am sure that you hold great respect for your teachers, and value what they have done for you, the same cannot be said for the politicians who shape the space in which education occurs.” Rhodes applauded the teachers across our country who are publicly protesting to reverse cuts to education budgets: “If these actions continue, there is hope for restoring the profession of teaching to its rightful place as the most important profession. For it is the only profession without which civilization as we know it will cease, and quickly. The actions of these courageous teachers should give us all hope.”

“My hope for the class of 2018 is that as citizens and artists, you each find your cause and your calling… You have done well so far. Now it is time to do better.”

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