Parsons The New School for Design

Parsons The New School for Design

Coordinates: 40°44′07″N 73°59′39″W / 40.73528°N 73.99417°W / 40.73528; -73.99417

Parsons The New School For Design
Established 1896
Type Private
Dean Joel Towers
Academic staff 1,066
Students 4,200
Undergraduates 3,800
Postgraduates 400
Location New York City, NY, USA
Campus Urban
Former names Chase School
New York School Of Art
New York School Of Fine And Applied Art
Parsons School Of Design
Colors New School Yellow, Orange, and Red                  
Affiliations The New School, AICAD, NASAD

Parsons The New School For Design, known colloquially as Parsons, is the art and design college of The New School university. It is located in New York City's Greenwich Village, and has produced artists and designers such as Marc Jacobs, Dean and Dan Caten, Norman Rockwell, Donna Karan, Jane Frank, William Gropper, and Tom Ford. Parsons is a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).[1][2]



Portrait of William Merritt Chase from 1900

First established as the Chase School, the institution was founded in 1896 by the American impressionist painter William Merritt Chase. Chase led a small group of Progressives who seceded from the Art Students League of New York in search of a more free, more dramatic, and more individual expression of art.[3] The Chase School changed its name in 1898 to the New York School of Art.

In 1904, Frank Alvah Parsons joined Chase; six years later, he became the School's president. Anticipating a new wave of the Industrial Revolution, Parsons predicted that art and design would soon be inexorably linked to the engines of industry. His vision was borne out in a series of firsts for the School, establishing the first program in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Advertising, and Graphic Design in the United States.[4] In 1909, the school was renamed the New York School of Fine and Applied Art to reflect these offerings. Parsons became sole director in 1911, a position which he maintained to his death in 1930. William M. Odom, who established the school's Paris Ateliers in 1921, succeeded Parsons as president. In honor of Parsons, who was important in steering the school's development and in shaping visual-arts education through his theories about linking art and industry throughout the world, the institution became Parsons School of Design in 1936.[4]

As the modern curriculum developed, many successful designers remained closely tied to the School, and by the mid-1960s, Parsons had become "the training ground for Seventh Avenue."[4] Like most private art colleges in the United States, the school's curriculum is heavily influenced by the teaching methods of the Bauhaus[citation needed].

In 1970, the School became a division of the New School for Social Research (now The New School). The campus moved from Sutton Place to Greenwich Village in 1972.[4] The merger with a vigorous, fully accredited university was a source of new funding and energy, which expanded the focus of a Parsons education.

In 2005, when the parent institution was renamed The New School, Parsons School of Design was renamed Parsons The New School for Design.[4]


Like most universities in New York City, Parsons's campus is spread among scattered buildings, but the main building is located at 13th Street and 5th Avenue. Many other facilities are in buildings shared by other colleges in The New School but the facilities below are exclusive to Parsons.

2 West 13th Street

The main Parsons campus is located at 2 West 13th Street in Greenwich Village in the borough of Manhattan.[5] The renovation of the existing structure's first and mezzanine levels was made possible in part by a $7 million gift from New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governors Chair Sheila C. Johnson. The "Urban Quad" (as the school calls it) was designed by Lyn Rice Architects and encompasses a total area of 32,800 square feet (3,050 m2). In addition to classrooms, the building includes the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery and Auditorium, and the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries.[6] The renovated ground floor also provides a new home for the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Archives, a collection of drawings, photographs, letters, and objects documenting 20th-century design.

The building hosts the Adam and Sophie Gimbel Library, a resource collection supporting art, architecture and design degree programs offered by the Parsons School of Design. The collection consists of approximately 45,000 book volumes, 350 periodical titles (200 current), 70,000 slides and 45,000 picture files. Special Collections holdings number over 4,000, including many rare and valuable items.[7]

The building's renovation won the 2009 National AIA Honor Award, the 2009 MASNYC Masterworks Award, the 2009 AIANY Merit Award, the 2008 AIA New York State Award of Excellence, the 2008 American Institute of Architects NY/Boston Society of Architects Biennial Honor Award for Educational Facility Design, the 2008 SARA/NY Design Award of Excellence, and the 2007 AIANY Merit Award for Projects.[8]

Fashion Education Center

David M. Schwartz Fashion Education Center

In the heart of New York City's Garment District, the David M Schwartz Fashion Education Center (560 7th Avenue) is the location of the Fashion building of Parsons.[9] Most fashion studio coursework is taught at that location. There is also a Fashion Computing lab complete with the latest industry standard technology.

25 East 13th Street

The 25 East 13th Street building is home to the School of Constructed Environments, which is the home of the Interior Design, Lighting Design, and Architecture departments of the college. The Fine Arts department is also located in this building. The facilities included in the building are the digital and traditional fabrication shops, the ceramics studio, the Light Lab, multiple Computing Labs, the Angelo Donghia Materials Center, and The Design Workshop.[10]


Parsons offers twenty-five different programs each housed in one of five divisions:[11]

  • School of Art and Design History and Theory
  • School of Art, Media, and Technology
  • School of Constructed Environments
  • School of Design Strategies: Cities, Services, Ecosystems
  • School of Fashion


Demographics of student body[12]
1st Year Students U.S. Census
African American/Non-Hispanic 4% 12.4%
Asian American/Pacific Islander 18% 4.3%
European American/Non-Hispanic 29% 74.1%
Hispanic American 9% 14.7%
American Indian/Alaskan Native <1% 0.8%
International students 31% N/A

Parsons has almost 3,800 undergraduate students and more than 400 graduate students. Some 2,000 continuing education students take single courses and certificate programs. And over 2,000 children and young people attend weekend and summer pre-college programs.[9] The student body is 77% Women and 23% Men, with most of the constituents being full time students.[13] About one third of the college is made up of international students hailing from 68 different countries. The largest international groups come from Asia, followed by Europe.[9]

There are 127 full-time faculty members and 1,056 part-time faculty members, many of whom are successful working artists and designers in New York City. Faculty members and visiting critics include architect Brian Lewis, and artist Brian Tolle.[9] The Student/faculty ratio is 9:1.[14]

In 1920, Parsons School of Design was the first art and design school in America to found a campus abroad.[9] Today the School offers its students the possibility to study abroad at various art and design schools around the world. Parsons also has affiliations with schools that operate independently but embrace Parsons' philosophy and teaching methodology, including:

  • Parsons Paris, France
  • La Escuela de Diseño at Altos de Chavón, La Romana, Dominican Republic
  • Kanazawa International Design Institute, Kanazawa, Japan

Student life

The Student Development and Activities is home to over 25 recognized student organizations throughout The New School that serves Parsons as well as all the other eight schools under the umbrella of The New School.[15]


The Artichoke is a monthly paper that is run entirely by students and features students voicing their opinions and informing readers on a variety of different topics ranging from fashion to politics.[16]

Scapes is the annual journal of the Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting. Edited by Joanna Merwood and student interns, the journal focuses on global, metropolitan, and departmental perspectives on architecture. The theme of the 2008 issue is architectural drawing and the representation of natural systems.[17]

The Journal of Design and Management explores and documents collaborative work on the borders of management and design. The journal welcomes contributions that address the importance of design and design-based education to business strategy and planning and that speak to the need for sustainable approaches to new value creation. In each issue, they highlight people, projects, approaches, and events that together characterize an important aspect of the collaboration between design and business.[17]


WNSR is a student-run, faculty-advised online-only university radio station based at The New School. Programming is delivered in the form of streamable mp3s and, in the near future, subscribable podcasts. It is a station for all divisions of The New School.[18]


Fusion Fashion Show

Fusion, an established event since 2000, brings together Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School for Design, to engage in a school vs school fashion show competition. All contestants are either freshman or sophomore students and the models are student volunteers. The judges pick a "best designer" from each school and a "best overall school". The best designers each receive a cash scholarship.[19]

In the past the judges have included names like Richie Rich of Heatherette, Zang Toi, Cynthia Rowley, Robert Verdi, as well as editors and staff members of major fashion editorials (Women's Wear Daily, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, etc). Audience members have included many notable industry figures, including Betsey Johnson and Tim Gunn.[20] The event has been featured in Seventeen, Women's Wear Daily, Fashion Wire Daily, CBS News, HGTV, Italian Vogue's Website, Paper, and more.[19]

Parsons Fashion Benefit

Parsons’ annual Benefit and Fashion Show is a black tie gala that raises funds for scholarships and academic programs at the school. A highlight of the event is a runway show featuring the top thesis collections of Parsons’ graduating BFA Fashion Design students, including its Designers of the Year. The Designer of the Year Award has launched the careers of such famous alumni as Marc Jacobs, and Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler.[21] The show has been a tradition of the school for more than sixty years.[22]

The event also honors today's influential fashion designers and their positive impact on the fashion world. Tom Murry, President & CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc and Francisco Costa, the label's Creative Director for Womenswear was honored by Parsons for their visionary work and contribution to the field of fashion design.[23]

The event is open to all, individual tickets can range from $1,500 and with tables from $15,000.[22]

Notable alumni and attendees

Parsons has been the home to notable artists and designers around the world. Among the best known alumni are Alexander Wang, Annie Wu,[disambiguation needed ] Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Sehar Khan, Zang Toi, Leo and Diane Dillon, Jason Wu, Ryan McGinley, Ji Lee, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Proenza Schouler, Steven Meisel, Thakoon Panichgul, Jasper Conran, Jenna Lyons for J.Crew, Barbara Kruger, Carmen Marc Valvo, Claire McCardell, Jewelry Designer Cynthia Wolff, jewelry designer Mimi So, Miki Tanabe, Jasper Johns, Edward Hopper, Rob Zombie, American painter Norman Rockwell, Yuval Tal Tu Lyu, Dan Yaccarino, David Horvath, Sun-Min Kim, Stefan Sagmeister, Ai Weiwei and handbag designer Sang A.

See also


  1. ^ "Parsons The New School for Design". NASAD. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  2. ^ AICAD Schools by Name
  3. ^ "About Parsons". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "History". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Sheila Johnson Design Center
  6. ^ Johnson Design Ceenter
  7. ^ Libraries
  8. ^ Projects: Institutional - Parsons The New School For Design
  9. ^ a b c d e "About Parsons". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "School of Constructed Environments". 
  11. ^ Design School Undergraduate Degrees and Graduate Programs
  12. ^ "Parsons The New School for Design". 
  13. ^ "Parsons: The New School for Design". College Board College Search. 
  14. ^ "Parsons: The New School for Design - Overview". Petersons Colleage Search. 
  15. ^ "Student Services". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  16. ^ The Artichoke website
  17. ^ a b "Academics". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "WNSR / New School Radio". Retrieved 9 August 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ a b "Fusion 2009 - Parsons vs. F.I.T. Fashion Show!". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  20. ^ Fusion Fashion Show website
  21. ^ "Parsons 2010 Fashion Benefit". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  22. ^ a b "Events". Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  23. ^ "Parsons Fashion Benefit Honors Tom Murry, Francisco Costa and Cathy Horyn". Fashion Windows. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 

External links

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