Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Dawn of a New Season

Just as the long rainy night washed away the summer heat, our transition back to the Hudson Valley washes away the high level of social activity that characterized our time on the Vineyard. A peaceful revelry now infuses our re-orientation to life in the country, which is an easy thing to do, with vistas of rolling hills, fresh air and the lull of bird calls serving as an inducement. The environment calls me to the end of season cleanups and preparations for the long months ahead. Bails of hay, haystacks, field cutting and cleared cornfields are iconic signs of a season in change.

Stepping into the classroom at Parsons again this week reminded me of why I have devoted more than 15 years to teaching. The young and inquisitive faces that stare back at me - as they assume the roles of personal responsibility and educational advancement - are expectant of finding new skills through discovery of their talents. They bring an infinite amount of experiences, as young people having lived all over the world, to provide vast perspectives for their design concepts. Living fashion is the credo at the design schools, however, I am personally challenged by the ever-changing names and faces in the industry and the "real-time" awareness that all of these young people have with it. In an effort to keep up I must read WWD, Vogue, DNR, each day, which is a totally different focus from my fine art career.

The full measure of a man or woman is not really known until you hear from the people whose lives they have touched. Such was the awareness that met Joe and myself when we went to see a tribute to our friend Philip Reed, the former New York City Councilman. Shown here with his colleague Candy Vasquez and a supporter. We learned that many of the parks, open spaces and monuments that grace the upper half of Manhattan had been brought to their current revitalizations because of Philip. Add to that, the work he has done for seniors in the city, his health care initiatives, including HIV, rescuing The Museum of the City of New York and other local institutions, the beginning and sponsorship of many political careers, and you see a man of many dimensions. I left wanting to provide such a legacy to the world based on all the love that was showered on him by major and minor politicians, constituents, beneficiaries and friends.

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