A&DAA Candidates

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Gail Debel Allouf ‘69

gail-allofIn 1987 we moved to Avenel, New Jersey and purchased a house, our own “patch of green” and converted the garage into my freelance design studio, “Illustrivity Design”.

I was very lucky that the public school system in the late 50’s had teachers who cared and programs that enriched the talent  of budding artists. The foundation for my career was formed at the High School of Art & Design. As a fashion illustration major, I won the portfolio award and full tuition scholarship to Parsons School of Design. I was also elected Vice President of the student council and received awards from the National Honor Society.

My illustration skills gave me a great start for a career in the baby product and apparel industry. As an artist/designer I’ve created apparel and products for major retailers such as JC Penney, Dillard’s, Kohl’s and K Mart. I developed the Martha Stewart baby line, Sesame Baby gift line and new baby “Heirlooms” for JC Penney. I am currently designing matching girl and doll clothes and accessories for one of my freelance clients, Dollie and Me. I recently was contracted to design a group of stuffed animals for GUND, a new freelance client.

My career has allowed me to travel through Asia and Europe. My multiple journeys to Bali, Indonesia in 2007 and 2008 were life changing experiences. My company at the time donated a suitcase full of onesies and bibs for the children in the remote island villages. Smiles are universal and giving blurs cultural differences!

My contributions to Art and Design make me feel that life has come full circle. I served as Vice President of the Alumni Association. The Minna Gordon Debel memorial award, which I personally support, is my way of paying it forward. During my time on the alumni association I have visited fashion classrooms during CTE month, received donations from art supply companies, managed senior alumni award presentations, assisted with grand reunions, exhibited art work chosen for the alumni art show.I am on the school’s advisory board and AA board of Directors.

Aside from my freelance design career, I teach 2 Saturday art classes at Artisan studio, in Marlboro, New Jersey. It is owned and operated by my classmate, Marlene Kaplan, who was also a fashion illustration major at A&D. inspiring children to embrace their creative wings is the best feeling ever!It is up to us to mentor the young by sharing our experience as working creators and put hope in their hearts to become tomorrows’ innovators!

George Alonso ’80

g-alonsoBeing a part of the A&DAA has always been very important for me. As an alumnus of the school giving back, supporting the students and other alumni is what it’s all about. This past year working with other alumni and other community organizations to support this vision has been immensely rewarding. It would be a privilege to continue to serve the association and the school. In my current position as Co-VP, I was able to be a part of and create many events for the association. These events are:

• Planned and helped organize the first Meet and Greet event in partnership with FAD.
• The event brought together school administration, teachers, Students and FAD Tutors. The goal was to promote FAD’S tutoring and introduce the new board and elected officers of the alumni association. We also had the A&D students, who will participate in the Skills USA event this April in Syracuse, give a short presentation of the program and event they will participating in November 2013
• Assisted with planning and organizing the very successful Artist Meet and Mingle in February 2014
• Assisted in the planning and implementation of the 1st Annual Art & Design Draw-A-Thon, March 2014
• Worked with my Co. VP to plan menu and assisted in organizing Breakfast with Art Speigelman Event, April 2014

One of my goals was to strengthen our relationship with the community organization, FAD (Friends of Art & Design) that has continuously supported the school. For more than a year I have worked and succeeded in creating such relationship with FAD. In March of 2014, I was honored to be voted in as the VP of FAD (Friends of Art & Design). As part of the ADAA Board of Directors, I have had the privilege to work with some of the most hardworking and dedicated alumni of A&D. We have strengthened and improved our relationship with the school administration, reached out to other alumni, and encouraged civic involvement among the students, administration, and the alumni of Art and Design High School. I feel it’s important to give back to those who have given us so much. The High School of Art & Design created an environment that fostered creativity and allowed us to become the people we are today. Giving back to the school and community is my way of paying it forward.

Vilma Alvarez ’80

v-alvarezBorn and raised in New York City, I’ve been a professional graphic artist since 1980.  I attended the HS of Art & Design from 1976-1980 and majored in illustration and theater arts. Upon graduation I started my art career designing children’s clothing for Andover Togs, an apparel company. In 1982, I changed course and decided to focus my art career in magazine publishing. I worked at UBM Technology, LLC., a publishing company for 25 years as a designer and later promoted to art director for Electronic Engineering Times (EET). Today, I’m a web designer, computer graphic artist –mostly working in the marketing and digital publishing field. I’m also a freelance artist and my past clients include: Revlon, Miller Freeman, Ad Age Magazine, Robert Wood Johnson, National Labor and Management and the US Coast Guard.

From simple sketches and line drawings, typography, architectural forms and structures, good design…are all connected. I’m constantly looking out for new design concepts, production techniques, along with keeping up with the latest design trends for both web and print. The HS of Art & Design gave me a foundation that upon graduation I was able to “hit the ground running” in the graphic arts field. I’m proud to be a part of the alumni association and look forward to working with the association for another year in order to help the students… help the school.

Danny Cataquet ‘96

danny_cataquet1I have loved and practiced art since childhood and always wanted to be a professional artist in some way when I grew up. The first pivotal moment on that path to an art career came when I was accepted into Art & Design HS. While attending A&D I majored in Cartooning & Illustration. I was on the fencing team. Senior year I was a SPARK Peer Counselor, speaking in freshman classrooms, organizing events and doing volunteer work. Afterward I graduated from A&D I continued studying art at SUNY Buffalo State where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. I currently do freelance work as a Graphic Designer and continue to draw and paint. I have also recently begun doing photography. Along with visual arts I also create my own music; songwriting, producing, recording and performing. Being involved with A&DAA this past year has been a wonderful experience connecting with fellow alumni and other professionals in our fields. I have attended all of the general meetings and most of our events. I helped with the breakdown after the Meet & Mingle at Cooper Union. I also pass word along to fellow classmates and promote A&DAA events on my class year’s Facebook page. I would love to be even more involved in the coming year by serving on the board.

Pamela Focá ‘80

pam_foca1It has been my pleasure to serve as recording secretary on the Art & Design Alumni Association Board. After careful consideration I will run again for a position to serve as a board member.

During this past year, I and my fellow board members have worked diligently to secure the integrity and creative spirit that we as alumni have enjoyed and wish to perpetuate for the future students of the HS of Art & Design.

As a member of the executive committee, I have helped to cultivate ideas for various committees, build networking opportunities, and used my professional expertise in implementing branding guidelines for helping the organization establish a strong visual presents for future events.

I was instrumental in the graphic design and production of the banner, t-shirts and chocolate bar branding of our magnificently successful Draw-A-Thon event. Working along side of my fellow creative alumnus & board members, I was able to design and produce the Art Speigelman’s event badges. I have recorded many hours of brainstorming sessions at our board meetings and beyond, and hope to remain on the board to help implement many of these
ideas going forward in the next year.

Myrna Perez Fung ’80

myrna-fung1This past year has been amazing. I have had the opportunity to work with some old friends, make new connections and learn from people who have been dedicated to the organization for a very long time. And I thank them for all their support and guidance. I would be honored to continue to serve on the board of the A&DAA. As one of the Co.VP’s of the association, I have been involved with all projects and events the association has produced. Such as:

  • Supporting the FAD and A&DAA Meet and Greet, November 2013

• Assisted in planning and implementing the successful Meet and Mingle held at the Herb Lubalin Gallery in Cooper Union, January 2014
• Assisted in planning and executing the 1st Annual Art & Design Draw-A-Thon, March 2014
• Created and implemented the amendments to the 1995 Bylaws which enabled us to pass the 2014 Bylaws
• Planned the food and organized the arrival of participants for the Breakfast with Art Speigelman, April 2014

Skills I bring to the table:
• Strong Communication and Organizational Skills
• Effective Team Building Skills
• Motivational and Coaching Skills

Personnel Management Currently I work for the Department of Education as a Parent Coordinator in an elementary school in Queens, District 26. Being the bridge between the parents, school and community has given me a unique prospective on the NYC public school system and how as an alumni association we can benefit the school. As a parent coordinator I have implemented many community projects such as “Gardens in Transit” and “Wishes in Bloom” which increases awareness of civic responsibility and fosters a sense of community. I work closely with the PTA and School Leadership Team to ensure DOE compliance. Prior to taking time off to raise my two amazing children, I was a district manager and corporate trainer for a large retail organization. As a Retail Training specialist I was responsible for all training programs implemented in approximately 500 stores in the Northeast, for all levels of management. Although I didn’t pursue a career in art, I am so thankful for the experience of attending a wonderful school as the High School of Art and Design. As a parent of two amazing children (my youngest will be attending high school this coming September 2014), I always wanted them to have the same experience. I have always believed change doesn’t happen by waiting for the “other guy” to do it. It happens by being involved. To continue to serve the school and the association would be my way of paying it forward and giving back.

Joel Gomez ’80

joel-gomez1Last year I was elected to the Board of Directors of the High School of Art & Design Alumni Association. I participated in the Charity Committee where I helped design signage for fundraising events.

My career begun in fashion, working as a Graphic Designer for JC Penney, Spiegel and Montgomery Ward.

Next I became an Art Director at Hakuhodo Advertising America, Inc. where I worked on electronics, computer and communication accounts – NEC, Canon, Kyocera, Star Micronics, Hitachi, Konica, Casio and Ricoh. My passion for golf came to fruition when I became the creative art director for 2 PGA events – The Canon Greater Hartford Open and The NEC World Series of
Golf where I supervised corporate sponsorship and event promotions.

I later joined McCaffery, Ratner Gottleib & Lane LLC where I worked on Nature’s Best, The Oyster Bar and Restaurant, Pennsylvania Power Lighting, General Electric – Monogram Series appliances, Sensuede fabrics and Bluefly.com.

Today, I hold a title of Senior Art Director at U Marketing in New York City. Looking back at what I’ve done in my career, I am forever in debt to my teachers and what the High School of Art & Design had given me.

Michael Kawochka ‘89

m_Kawochka1Life-long New Yorker and Brooklyn native, Michael Kawochka has had a few careers, all of them successful. Customer service has been the common thread sewing them all together. Whether as an award winning account executive at NYC’s #1 public relations agency, or as a project manager at the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Michael has always been a staunch advocate for his clients. At Pfizer, he managed complex million dollar software projects, delivering strong results on time, while negotiating hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings. At Edelman PR Worldwide, his team won three of the top four industry awards. Having sat on all sides of the table, Michael brings empathy to both his clients and customers. He has been a landlord and a tenant, as well as buyer and a seller. When working with Michael, you are buying local expert knowledge in a 4th-generation Greenpointer. Active in the community, Michael has served on the Greenpoint YMCA Board of Managers since 2003. He is also a member of the New York Technology Council, a regular at the North Brooklyn Breakfast Club, and a past Berry Street Garden volunteer. He holds a BA with honors from the University at Buffalo, where he double majored in English and Communication. He earned his MBA in Computer Information Systems at night from Baruch College. An avid traveller and music lover, Michael stays put most summer weekends in Fire Island. He ranks himself an enthusiastic intermediate at both yoga and volleyball. After business hours, he can usually be found loitering at local favorites Spoonbill & Sugartown Books, Bembe, Dope Jams Record Shop, or the Whirlybird Café.

Richard Manigault ‘74

r_maginault1In 1974 I graduated from Art & Design high school. By Fall of 1974 was enrolled in the school where I’ve been teaching for the past 16 years. What was then New York Community
College, is now the New York College of Technology (CUNY) I attended for only one semester.

I transferred to the State University of Binghamton, studying studio art for 3 years. That was a good experience, eventually I became interested in graphic design. I was encouraged by sculpture professor Ed Wilson to transfer to a school like Pratt Institute and study design. In the Spring of 1978, I attended Pratt as a visiting student and fell in love with it.

I was accepted to Pratt based on my fine art work; oil paintings, drawings, etc., but after a while I became influenced by design and would graduate with a BFA in Visual Communications. My years at Pratt were enlightening, and became the foundation that would establish my long and wonderful career. I about to complete my MFA in studio art for Lehman College.

I’ve worked for two-years as a substitute teacher at LaGuardia High School, also as a proctor for the past eleven years. Alix Delinos, whom I met as a mentor in the AIGA/Art & Design HS mentorship program. Eventually he graduated from Pratt, and is presently working as an Illustrator on his fourth children’s book for a major publisher, while attending Brooklyn College’s Graduates program with the hopes of become an educator.

I’ve had a wonderful and fulfilling career as a professional designer, mentor, educator and fine artist. The foundation for my career started at A&D, that’s why I serve the school, on the board and would be honored to continue to do so.

Mario Mohan ‘05

mario-mohan1I was born in Serbia and moved to New York City in 1994. In 2001 I attended the High School of Art & Design and majored in architecture.

I graduated from the H.S. of Art & Design in 2005. After high school, I went on to Syracuse University and received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2010. I am currently a designer at Snohetta (snohetta.com), an international architecture, landscape, interior and brand design office. At Snohetta I have been working on the expansion of the San Francisco MoMA along with other projects ranging from a dollhouse to an environmental sciences museum in Guadalajara, Mexico.

I also started afoam (afoam.net) in 2013 with a group of friends where we work on small projects, design competitions, and artist collaborations. I also collaborate with artists on three dimensional representation and display strategies for their work. I have worked on constructing architectural models that were featured at MoMA, NY and are part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Enrico Urgo ‘88

henry-urgo1Enrico Urgo is recognized for his positive attitude and 100% commitment to providing clients with the highest level of service. Enrico was born in Italy but has lived most of his life in NYC and says there is nowhere else in the world he would rather be. His energy and passion for the city contribute to his dedication to helping clients find the perfect luxury home in the city. He spends the time to get to know his clients’ fundamental needs and builds relationships which go beyond the search.

Before joining the team at The Marketing Directors, Enrico worked as Production Manager for 10 years. He graduated from H.S of Art & Design then went on to receive a BFA from NYIT, where he also played college soccer. They say a competitive spirit will always be competitive; as an athlete will always be an athlete. This skilled athlete spends his free time sketching, working out, playing soccer, and golf. He also likes going back to Italy and Europe as much as he can.

Enrico Urgo currently specializes in luxury sales and rentals in Financial District, Battery Park

Edward Velandria ‘80

ed-valandria1What I feel is my biggest contribution as president of the A&DAA 2013 to 2014:

My biggest contribution was to bring together an amazing group of people who have the passion and drive to spend a full year of volunteering their time away from their spouses, kids and families to help change the foundation of the association for the better!

What I learned or another way to look at it what it meant to me to be part of the A&DAA:

The Journey is the reward, especially when you have something to give back. Seeing a different side of people you know as friends and becoming even better friends for it. Celebrating the successes and creating new friendships. I learned so much and am indebted to the fantastic group of people I worked with this year.

What I accomplished (with a lot of help)

• Help win back a lot of love for the organization
• Assisted and Supported the FAD and A&DAA Meet and Greet held in November 2013
• Assisted and Supported Alumni Artist Meet and Mingle at Cooper Union held in January 2014
• Partnered with teacher Richard Weinstein and created the 1st Annual Art and Design Draw-A-Thon. A nine hour painting and drawing event attended by over 400 students, faculty and professional artist from around the city. The event was held in March of 2014
• Coordinated the Breakfast with Art Speigelman- Sharing the Secrets of the A&D Stain Glass• Partnering with the H.S. of Art & Design administration, students and faculty
• Creating partnerships with sister organizations : Friends of Art and Design (FAD), H.S. of Art & Design PTA and SAC
• Alumni meet-ups
• Supported the efforts to amend the 1995 Bylaws and pass the 2014 bylaws
• Celebrating the achievement of alumni and students

Supporting the vision of the organization. This includes:

• Partnering with the H.S. of Art & Design administration, students and faculty
• Creating partnerships with sister organizations : Friends of
• Art and Design (FAD), H.S. of Art & Design PTA and SAC
• Alumni meet-ups
• Supported the efforts to amend the 1995 Bylaws and pass the 2014 bylaws
• Celebrating the achievement of alumni and students

What would I do if I’m re-elected:

The same, just better(with more help)!

Professional History:

• Creative Director/ Web Designer and Developer
• Managed team of 20 designers and programmers in New York and
• Brazil 18 years Past life Madman 15 year

Quote from H.S. Art & Design Illustration Teacher Richard Weinstein:
“Ed Velandria is truly the kind of leader the ADAA needs. His commitment to the bettering of A&D’s future is unwavering. He’s got a vision, and works tirelessly to see it through. As an instructor, I’ve been able to observe his involvement and interaction with the current students, and his concern for their needs is unfaltering. I’ve also been able to work collaboratively with him in a truly successful partnership which benefitted current students and alumni alike. From my professional vantage point within the school, there is no question or doubt that the best person to lead the ADAA is Ed Velandria.”


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