The Getty’s College Night Features New York Film Academy’s Wish Lantern Lounge

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This year, NYFA was invited to participate in the Getty Center’s annual College Night. The event attracts 2,500 college students from all over Los Angeles and is designed by college students, for college students — with a little help from Getty curators, education specialists, and faculty at participating universities.

This year’s College Night celebrated the diverse and unique qualities that make up the city of Los Angeles. The call was to showcase Los Angeles as a city of artists, to inspire students to re-think their ideas about what art can be, and show them that art is for everyone.

NYFA Instructor Jennifer Penton and Co-Associate Chair of Photography Naomi White formed a class dedicated to Getty College Night with 11 photography students. Together, they created and pitched interactive programming ideas.

One of NYFA’s MFA in Photography candidates, Juan Sebastian Echeverri, was chosen to be on the prestigious Getty Advisory Board, along with students from these participating schools: 

  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Southern California
  • Santa Monica College
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • College of the Canyons
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California Lutheran University

Working with the local, non-profit group Welcome to Junior High, who promote the artistic pursuits of marginalized voices, NYFA students envisioned a Wish Lantern Lounge, where participants were invited to write their wishes on one side of a tag, and the part of their identity that they would like to see better represented in the world, on the other. Once their tag was made, students chose a lantern from an array of colors and hung it up. Over the course of the evening a “grove of light” was created by the hanging of hundreds of lanterns, each sending a message.

Participants could walk under the lanterns and read the wishes and identities, which ranged from “Angry Intersectional Feminist” to “Cat Lover,” and from “Tolerance for Immigrants” to “More Opportunities.” It was an emotionally moving experience to walk amongst these fervent desires, and to see the lanterns enliven the space with their joyful spring colors and flickering lights.

“Being part of the Getty Collaboration was a rewarding experience,” said NYFA BFA Photography student Edolia Stroud. “It was so cool to collaborate with my peers, and have our installation displayed at the Getty.”

Fellow BFA Photography student Jennifer Siemsen agreed. “I think that with the collaboration of all the attendees, we ended up creating something really beautiful.”

The New York Film Academy would like to thank the Getty Center for their inspiring College Night event and for honoring us by including our students’ exhibit in it. We would also like to thank our staff and students for their incredible work in making the exhibit such a success.

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