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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans

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“From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
“From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

From Williams Shakespeare’s Henry V, those words couldn’t be more apropos for our art & design classmate veterans. May marks “Military appreciation Month” and the alumni association is paying tribute and honor to all those vets who answered a calling to serve in the United States armed forces. From WWII through the present, our student veterans have fought in every campaign since the school’s founding.

Some went on and stayed and made the military their career. For others, the military provided a launch into their art career. Al Plastino – co-creator of Supergirl and Brainyac and John Romita Sr- (Captain America), both designed and painted war posters while serving in the United States army.  SIA and A&D teacher Frank Eliscu (designer/sculptor of the Heisman Trophy) while serving in the army, invented and patented a medical tattoo device, which was applied on battle scars. Frank Eliscu taught at both schools and retired in 1972.

Here at the association, we –this writer, any day is a good day to pay tribute and honor to those who answered the call of duty.

We would also like to acknowledge and give thanks to their families and friends for remaining strong and reminding the rest of us that when a loved one is deployed, in peace or in war time– the families too endure much until their loved ones return. Thank you to all the SIA/A&D veterans, we’re more than proud and you all are the true meaning of every day heroes. I leave you with a salute for a job well done.

Now meet a few of our classmate veterans.



A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans--continued

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans

World War II (1941-1945)


As the German Army was pushed back to its homeland, Benedetto and his company saw bitter fighting in cold winter conditions, often hunkering down in foxholes as German 88 mm guns fired on them. At the end of March, they crossed the Rhine and entered Germany, engaging in dangerous house-to-house, town-after-town fighting to clean out German soldiers; during the first week of April, they crossed the Kocher River, and by the end of the month reached the Danube.During his time in combat, Benedetto narrowly escaped death several times. The experience made him a pacifist; he would later write, “Anybody who thinks that war is romantic obviously hasn’t gone through one,” and later say, “It was a nightmare that’s permanent. I just said, ‘This is not life. This is not life.'” At the war’s conclusion he was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp near Landsberg,where some American prisoners of war from the 63rd Division had also been held.

Benedetto stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force, but was assigned to an informal Special Services band unit that would entertain nearby American forces.  His dining with a black friend from high school – at a time when the Army was still racially segregated – led to his being demoted and reassigned to Graves Registration Service duties.

Source: Wikipedia

Al Plastino
SIA Class of 1939
Sunrise: 12.15.1921 | Sunset: 11.25.2013

Eliscu served in the army in WWII from 1942 to 1945. He was first put to work on camouflage and maps for the Allied invasion. In 1943, he developed a unique technique used by the US Army to rehabilitate facial disfigurements from war injuries. According to his discharge papers, “Made drawings in the operating room of surgical procedures, modeling of features for reconstructive surgery, and carving cartilage for grafting in plastic surgery, pigmentation of skin in plastic procedures. Had three assistants working under him. Served at Valley Forge General Hospital in Plastic Surgery Department.”

Source: Wikipedia

Albert A. Verber
Former SIA teacher
Sunset: 11.07.1943
Albert A. Verber who was a navy and test pilot died on November 7, 1943 in a plane crash upon take off in Virginia.



Korean War (1950-1953)


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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans (Women Vet)--continued

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans

Meet the Art and Design women veterans.


 Beatriz Trujillo, Art and Design class of 2008 is in her fourth year in active duty — United States Army. Sergeant Trujillo’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 27D, Paralegal. She’s a paratrooper assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and her current deployment is with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Sergeant Trujillo is presently deployed at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Janet Gonzalez was a 25 year career navy personnel. This writer’s high school classmate. She was a fun person to be around, nice and truly missed. Janet passed away in January 2014 of breast cancer.

Deirdre Wexler, class of 1974 joined the navy right out of high school.

Charon Hannink, class of 1975 is a 13 year navy veteran.

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans (Vietnam)--continued

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans

Vietnam War (1955-1975)

PFC Eric Ribitsch was in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was killed in action–South Vietnam in 1968 under hostile enemy fire. A sketch of his fiance which he kept was found in his wallet.

CPL Ghalib Ahmed Abdullah
SIA Class 1960
Sunrise 2.16.1943  |  Sunset 1.31.1968
Ghalib Ahmed Abdullah was in the 20th Engineer Brigade, was killed in action –South Vietnam in 1968 under hostile enemy fire.





Nestor A. Rodriguez
A&D Class 1962
Sunrise 1.29.1944  |  Sunset 12.16.2008
Nestor A. Rodriguez majored in modeling at Art & Design and was a navy veteran.

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans (1980s-Present)--continued

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A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans (1980s-Present)

When I graduated from Art and Design in 1980, it seemed like a good portion of my male classmates “disappeared.” Well, not quite. Years later, I was told during our 30th year class reunion in 2010 they literary had to report to boot camp the next day after graduation. Though the United States was no longer in an “active war” during the 1980s, still many of our classmate veterans faced hostile situations abroad prior to the Gulf War. Thomas Michael Tracy was a young marine in Beruit when terrorist blew up the marine barracks.


Nelson Narvaez
Class of 1980

Henry Ortega
Class of 1980


Wayne Truhart
Class of 1980
Photographer for
Joint Forces Command

Patrick Lewis
Class of 1985
Operational Specialist
USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier

Edward Lora
Class of 1988

Gulf War (1990-1991)



Our recently retired career military servicemen.



From one of many tribute to Colonel Rivera. “My wife and I are are very appreciative that you and our sons crossed paths serving in the Reserves. They always had high respect for you and it rubbed off on this Old Marine. I could see that you were a fine Officer, had Great Integrity and was a fabulous leader. I would have been proud to have served with you myself.”–Sam Otto


How about a father and son tag team?

Afghanistan & Iraq War (2001-Present)

Finally, we’re honored that among our classmate veterans we have a Bronze Star Medal recipient.

CPT Quiles had numerous deployments in various locations like Kosovo, Sarejevo, Macedonia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. During his deployment to Afghanistan, CPT Quiles was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. CPT Quiles has obtained an undergraduate degree in Information Technology and a Masters Degree in Education during his time in the military. Captain Quiles obtained his commission as a Signal Officer.


We thank all classmate veterans for their service to our country.

No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation
— General Douglas MacArthur







Let the Music Play

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“Music happens to be an art form that transcends language”
–Herbie Hancock.

Music and art, have gone hand in hand since man clapped two sticks together and painted on cave walls. The HS of Art and Design has “churned” out an artistic wide range of talented artists from advertisers to typographers. Art & Design though well known for producing budding visual artists, the school has inspired a good number of musical talent in various musical styles and genre. Jazz, rock, top 40, dance and rap, A&D has its share of notables. From smooth crooner Anthony Bennettedo, but you all know him as Tony Bennett, jazz diva Lynette Washington, fusion jazz drummer Lenny White, Christian “Big New York” de Mesones, neo-soul singer /song writer Nicole Willis of Repercussions, Christopher Martin aka “Kid” from hip hop duo Kid & Play and rap lyrical artist  Pharoake Monch. Art and Design high school can add music to its list of “art” style.

The A&DAA would like to take a moment and “put on blast” those former students who may have missed a class to practice harmonies in the staircases, lyrical battles in the hallways. Hanging out a little extra nailing that guitar riff or getting in one more practice after class for the annual talent show.

Let’s look back and check out our musical “peeps.” As Meshell N degeocello would say, “yes I’m digging you… digging you like an old soul record.


tony-bennettTony Bennett (singer)
Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, New York City. Bennett attend the School of Industrial art, today is the HS of Art & Design. Bennett began singing at an early age. He is a World War II vet and after the war he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Records, and had his first number-one popular song with “Because of You” in 1951. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.

He remains a popular and critically praised recording artist and concert performer in the 2010s. Bennett has won 17 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in 2001) and two Emmy Awards, and has been named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. He has sold over 50 million records worldwide. In addition to all these accomplishments, Bennett is the founder of the Frank Sinatra High School, a New York city vocational high school with focus on the arts.

Mike Collazo (timbales) SIA class of 1953
Orlando Marin (timbales) SIA class of 1953. Considered one of the last Mambo King, Marin formed his first band, Eddie Palmieri and his Orchestra, in 1951-52. A 60+ career and counting Marin still performs today.
Joe Quijano (band leader, singer, timbales) SIA class of 1953
Dick Roman (Ricardo Sebastian De Giacomo, singer) SIA class of 1953
Bobby Weinstein, (song writer) SIA class of 1953


Eric Carr (Paul Charles Caravello, drummer), rock band Kiss

de-mesones-2Christian de Mesones (bass, Groove Skool Band)
Christian “Big New York” de Mesones has been playing bass guitar for over 30 years. His first major professional achievement as a musician was playing the military club circuit in a hard rock cover band on the island of Oahu in 1981. During the mid-eighties de Mesones’ heavy metal band Twice Shy was a staple of the local New York Metal scene, and shared the stage at the legendary L’Amour Rock Club with acts such as Manowar, Twisted Sister, Overkill, White Lion and Trixter. A resident of Lake Ridge, Virginia since 2003, de Mesones currently teaches bass guitar at A2G Music. Read more about de Mesones and listen to his music on de Mesones’ web site.

Frankie Knuckles (Francis Warren Nicholls, Jr, Dj/producer)
Bronx native, Frankie Knuckles moved from New York City to Chicago in the early 1980s where he played an important role in developing and popularizing a form of dance music into what’s known today as “house music.” Knuckles passed away in April 2014 and he will fondly be remembered as “The Godfather of House Music.” See A&DAA tribute to Frankie Knuckles. To read more about life and career of Frankie Knuckles, the New York Times and RollingStone Magazine wrote a very nice wrap up.

Perez Jazz (Jazz vocalist)
Born in Harlem, New York, to a homemaker mother of Cuban Irish decent, and a Puerto Rican father, a machinist who played congas and guitar in the Navy Big Band, she was drawn to music and art from an early age. By age four, Perez would hear a song once and recite the lyrics and hum the melody. However, as a creative person it was photography that eventually became her self-expression that eventually led her back to music. So transformed is she that her moniker has become, simply, PEREZ. Read more about Perez and listen to her latest tracks on her web site.

Lynette Washington (singer)lyntte-washington
Jazz vocalist Lynette Washington is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her extensive music career in jazz, R&B, and gospel, has taken her across the globe traveling as far as Australia. She has the gift and ability to sing in several languages including Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Ms. Washington is a sought after artist for a variety of multicultural events. Lynette was the 2005 Grand Prize Winner of the Jazzmobile / Anheuser Busch Jazz Vocal Competition.

lenny-whiteLenny White (drummer)
Drummer and producer Lenny White has been continually pushing the musical envelope for 38 years. At 18 years old, White was asked by Jackie McLean to be a part of his band. In 1969, still a teen White performed with Miles Davis on the landmark recording “Bitches Brew.” White has been described as “one of the founding fathers of jazz fusion.”


Christopher Martin (rapper, group Kid & Play)

Mobb Deep (hip-hop duo)

Ivan de Prume (former drummer in the groove metal band White Zombie)

Roger Sanchez (Grammy Award winning DJ, producer, recording artist)

nicole-willisNicole Willis (singer/song writer Repercussions, Soul Investigators) Willis started playing music when she was a teenager. At first she wanted to become a ballet dancer, then learn to play bass, then sing. She said, “I was very shy so it was a slow start.  I do music because that seems to be what I do most readily, easily. I’m proud to be in the alumni along with the likes of Frankie Knuckles, Tony Bennett, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, the list goes on.” Willis has perform in many places across the EU (European Union) including: Spain, France Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, England, Scotland, Wales, Southern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Finland where she resides today in Helsinki. Read more about Nicole Willis and listen to her music on the web site.


Fabolous (John David Jackson, rap artist)

Ppharoahe-monchharoahe Monch (Troy Donald Jamerson, lyrical artist, rap artist)




These following alumni have made the business of music their career path:

Ron Coro (art direction) The Cars, Candy O album cover

Milhan Gorkey Fishman (former VP & Press Relations for Charisma/Virgin Records ) See Mihan’s bio.

Ida S. Langsam (Public Relations, Aucoin Management)

Izzy Sanabria (emcee, comedian and founder of Salsa Magazine)

The A&DAA is proud of the musical contributions that our fellow alumni have brought to the world and us. The universe sounds a little sweeter and our souls lifted from the gift of sound and melody. Fly on little wing. 




The MarketPlace

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JoJer Fine Art Framing

444 West 50th street between 9th & 10th ave

JoJer specialize in fine art gallery quality framing. We offer acid free matting, backing, hinging tissues with rice paste or Klucel G, as well as UV glazings as our standard materials used.

Art and Design alumni receive a 15% discount  (with each purchase a 5 % donation goes to the alumni association).

Breakfast Club: Join Us for a Private View and Breakfast with Art Spiegelman

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imageA rare chance to join cartoonist, ART SPIEGELMAN (class of ‘65) for a “little coffee clutch”, as he takes you on a personal guided tour of the 50’ x 8’ two-sided glass mural designed for the High School of Art and Design’s cafeteria. See and hear up close and personal how these now “iconic” glass panels came into being. Come and join the Art and Design Alumni Association for a this event with a one of America’s legendary cartoonist.

Secrets —literally— behind the window will be revealed!

WHERE: High School of Art and Design cafeteria, 5th Floor.
245 East 56th Street, Between Second & Third Avenues
New York, NY 10022

WHEN: Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 10:30 am-noon
Continental Breakfast will be served

: $20.00. (with Mocca pass: $15.00)
Current Art and Design students, FREE with student id.

All proceeds for the Alumni Association To benefit the students of ART & Design.

For tickets and additional information go to

Women HERstory Month

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March is Women History Month. In honor of the women in history, we’re focusing on the “Women in the Arts.”  Art and Design alumni who are ARTIST and women.
This series titled Shop Talk! Women in the Arts with…


Today we’re featuring designer and illustrator Gail Allouf. Read more >

janet-rudkowskiprofileJanet Rutkowski.
Read more >








janeprofileJane Denny. A New York City based artist and designer.
Read more >

Happy New Year A&amp;D &amp; SIA Alumni!

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2014As we look forward to the New Year, we would like to begin by saying how very thankful we are for your ongoing support, and your participation in the life of the Art & Design Alumni Association. Simply put, our Alumni Association is stronger, and in a better place because of YOU. Our experience has been a very exciting and a positive one. The alumni directors have sought to forge closer, more meaningful connections with our members, the school, and the students of A&D. We are revitalizing our efforts to create new and exciting programs and events to help support the school, and the students, as well as reconnecting alumni. Here are some of the highlights from 2013:

  • Macy’s Shop for a Cause Fundraiser In June, we hosted the Macy’s Shop for a Cause Fundraiser.  By donating $5, Macy’s offered a 25% discount coupon on all purchases for that special day.  We raised $2,205.
  • Give With Target  In September, we participated in Give With Target’s $5 million campaign to help A&D receive funding.  Although we got off to a slow start, we quickly gained momentum, and within a week, we secured 4th place for the borough of Manhattan. With your help, A&D received $616.
  • Our new website was launched on November 8th as part of our goal to making improvements towards a better organization.  The new website offers more information and will help keep everyone up-to-date on meetings, events and news about what’s happening in the organization and the art world.
  • Faculty Meet and Greet On November 22nd, in conjunction with FAD, we co-hosted the Faculty Meet and Greet to introduce the new officers and board members. It was a great turnout with many FAD, alumni and faculty members attending. We were also very pleased to have students from the Architecture department and students who will be participating in the Skills USA program attend. A great night and a wonderful opportunity to discuss how we can all work together to help the students, teachers and school. We will be hosting another event soon.
  • Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive Event on December 17th.  And although the weather outside may have been frightful, it didn’t deter our intrepid alumni from participating in the wonderful event.  We had a great turnout with some great raffle prizes, donated by several alumni. Additionally, a sophomore student, Gustavo Aravjo, was selected to receive the Minna Gordon Debel Memorial Award.  We raised over $1,200 and our story was  published in Our Town Newspaper.  Click Here: See Event photos


In the coming months, we have several events that are in the works, so please SAVE THE DATES.