The Class of 2020 may not have gotten the graduation celebrations they anticipated (or deserved), but they will perhaps be better remembered than most for the ways in which so many have rallied to make them that much more special. From Obama to Oprah, some of the world’s best-known and most respected individuals have given encouragement to the graduating class, letting them know that even a pandemic cannot dim their light.
Now, the Solange Knowles-founded creative agency Saint Heron is joining the commencement festivities, partnering with The School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design in New York City to launch Here and Now, “an immersive virtual festival designed to celebrate the thesis and capstone work from the Class of 2020.”
Via a press release shared with The Glow Up:
This is part of the University’s larger response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has altered the way students are able to display their end of year projects to the public. Here and Now will bring this same experience online for the first time, giving students the opportunity to share their creative visions on an international stage while they develop connections with a guild of industry leaders in fashion, art, and culture. The festival will take place from June to August with programming that includes various mentorship opportunities, online discussions/lectures, special performances, film screenings, and design workshops.
The new “interactive digital environment” will be available to the public starting early July, and is a riff on the school’s annual graduation celebration, the Parsons Festival, now in its eighth year. Typically lasting three weeks in May, the festival “generally consists of in-person exhibitions, installations and activations that fill the University’s buildings and includes presentations across fine arts, media, technology, constructed environments, fashion and textiles.” Pivoting to a digital format allows Parsons to once again provide a showcase for its graduating students, and their “creativity, flexibility, resilience and ability to adapt to the challenges of the moment.”
“The Class of 2020 is in a unique and unexpected position,” said Interim Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, Jason Kass. “We are excited to partner with Saint Heron on a shared vision for extraordinary access and meaningful insight into our students’ work. With Here and Now we are providing our graduating students and the creative community a space for discovery and growth. Our graduates are unequivocally the future of fashion and textile design, fashion marketing and management. We are committed to creating opportunities to showcase their outcomes and successfully position them for the next chapter of their lives.”
Additionally, over 300 graduating students from the School of Fashion at Parsons had the enviable opportunity to collaborate with world-renowned artist Jacolby Satterwhite and Saint Heron’s creative team to create a 3D installation for the festival, titled Metonymy (a word defined by Merriam Webster as “a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated”).
“The Saint Heron team is honored to partner with The School of Fashion to celebrate and uplift the dedicated work of the graduating class of 2020 by presenting Here and Now,” read a statement from Saint Heron. “As the world confronts the challenges of our current global crisis, fashion and design communities must embrace new ways to pause, evolve, and adapt. These challenges open up opportunities to expand growth in our creativity and innovation—two expressions at the core of Saint Heron as well as Parsons’ students.”