The Best of the Best

Students, staff and industry representatives gather to explore eye-catching artwork and innovative designs at annual Spring Show


School of Motion Pictures and Television M.F.A. student Marcello Pautasso provides a fun demo with a set piece from student short film, 'Eris' at Spring Show 2015. Photo by Bob Toy.

Academy of Art University’s annual Spring Show is one of the biggest highlights of the year for students, faculty and staff, a grand finale of sorts that culminates in an impressive showcase. On May 18, guests, VIPs, industry representatives and students’ families and friends were invited to get a first-hand look at this year’s Spring Show.

The 2225 Jerrold Ave. warehouse was transformed into a venue able to hold the largest collection of work by the collective Academy schools. The space was organized into one massive, sharply curated maze of gallery walls and displays, enough to take you all day to explore.


An overhead shot of Spring Show 2015. Photo by Bob Toy.

“Spring Show — I’ve heard it described as a royal wedding and it almost is,” Career Development Coordinator Want Chyi said. “There is something really dazzling about all the work being represented under one roof. Setting it up the way we do, industry people have a sense of who they may want to hire and come in and see it in one go. They say they get wonderfully lost. The sheer amount of talent is staggering.”

During opening night, architecture student Maurits de Gans shared his excitement about seeing his fellow students’ work as well as getting an idea of what he has to look forward to when it’s his time to participate in Spring Show.

“I get really excited about what I’ll do in several years,” de Gans said. “Here, I can learn more about how to approach a project. It’s interesting to see how other people think about their work. I’m very interested in what other students are doing in higher studies and grades.”

“I wasn’t anticipating getting in,” shared web design and new media student Kevin Lessy. “I got the notice in the mail and was like, ‘Wow, I got in.’ I’m excited to show my perspective of design compared to other people's’ great designs. I rarely get to see other departments so to explore them and see other students’ work is really exciting, and the industry interviews were definitely the highlight of the day.”

Graphic design student Gaby Pasmah said that when she found out she had been accepted into the show, she had to get her head wrapped around the news. “I was nervous,” she said. “The most exciting part is getting to talk to people, people asking me about my portfolio, me explaining it and them understanding it.”


An Academy student meets with an industry representative during the portfolio review sessions at Spring Show 2015. Photo by Bob Toy.

Industry representatives travel from all over the country to attend Spring Show to see what some of the best and the brightest Academy students have to offer.

Industrial design student Brenna Donnelly made a triathlete skin suit with a hydration system that refills itself for her final project and this is just one example of exemplary work.  

“Spring Show this year, it is the best of the best who get to be chosen,” Donnelly said. “It’s been a format of hanging out and waiting for industry professionals to approach you or you approach them… making connections, it's been great. I had a couple of interviews with the Adidas executives and some great opportunities coming up.”

The Academy’s Spring Show is no doubt overflowing with creative ideas. Donnelly explained that her inspiration for her self-refilling hydration triathlete skin suit came from triathletes themselves.

“I was looking into nutrition at first for them. I needed to figure out if for these rigorous athletes there was a way to improve their athleticism, and through my research, I found out they need to hydrate more efficiently,” she explained.

Donnelly added that as an industrial design student, she encouraged others in her department to “keep sketching, keep making sure it’s up to par for anyone to see it, make sure your stuff is ready to go, make sure it’s professional enough.”



Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Elliott Nathan.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.

Architecture student Samantha Buckley shared that her day at Spring Show had been super busy, with her directors bringing over people left and right.

“Having a little bundle with some work samples and my resume and business card has, I think, been a huge leg up for me because when they walk away, even if they forget who I am, they’ll be reminded by my work samples,” Buckley said. “So I would definitely recommend having that little packet, it’s a little more than a business card for them to walk away with.”


Spring Show will run through Saturday, June 27. Spring Show hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed on Sundays and holidays)



Photo by Elliott Nathan.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Bob Toy.


Photo by Elliott Nathan.


Photo by Elliott Nathan.