Celebrating the Year of the Ram

Academy students and staff join forces to create an environmentally conscious float for the Chinese New Year Parade


Academy of Art University’s float during the 2015 Chinese New Year Parade. Photo by Bob Toy.

On Saturday, March 7, the city of San Francisco celebrated the Year of the Ram during the annual Chinese New Year Parade. The theme for this year’s parade was “Celebrating the Arts and Creativity.”

Academy of Art University Publications & Special Projects Manager and alumnus Bob Toy was the art director of the float and worked on the design concept.

“It’s the year to celebrate the art and beauty and the time for the creativity and imagination and also emotion,” Toy said. “The ram, itself, it [symbolizes] love and happiness. I think it’s fitting for us at the Academy to design this year’s float, because we can showcase our talented students.”

Arash Archer Firouzi, who will be graduating from the School of Architecture this spring, was the lead designer of the Academy’s float this year. He worked with fellow architecture student Yue Deng, the project assembly manager, in the overall construction of the float.

Prior to the start of the parade, Firouzi spoke at length about the purpose and design of the float. Listening to him enthusiastically describe the project, it was clear that Firouzi was very passionate about this project.

The Academy’s float was strategically designed; from the material to how it was assembled. Firouzi explained the concept behind the “green design.”

“A green design isn’t necessarily one that has to be recycled, because recycling still uses energy,” said Firouzi. “This design is one that rather than being recycled can be maintained and repurposed to fit different uses.”

The music for the float was composed by Chengyuan (Charlie) Han, who is currently working towards his M.F.A. in the School of Music Production for Sound & Digital Media.

“With the music, I just tried to mix up elements, the Chinese folk music to create this music,” Han said. “I tried [to] find traditional Chinese instruments and Chinese scales, Chinese music styles to make this close to what we did in our hometown.”

The streets of San Francisco came alive, as the parade kicked off on Second and Market St., travelled up Post St. and back down Sutter St., wrapping up on Kearney and Jackson St. People lined the streets, as they watched the various floats, performers and the Golden Dragon pass by in celebration the Year of the Ram.

Academy of Art University would like to thank all of the wonderful volunteers who helped make this year’s float come to life. Thank you to: Arash Archer Firouzi, Yue Deng, Bob Toy, Michael Chu, Dennis Cruz, Thu Doan, Jialu Lin, Huikai, Jon Go, Jingynan Lno, Yu-Hsin Hsiao, Hanbin Yang, Mengting Gong, Gregory Mar, (Donna) Li Xuetong, Zheng Zheng and Yingchao Wang.