Alumni News


We hope that you are enjoying life out in the real world!  The Art Department is interested to know what you have been up to since Graduation.  We are planning, in the coming year, to do some extensive marketing work and re-envisioning of our Studio program.  To that end, we are very interested in your feedback, not only about what you are doing now, but what components of your work at Wagner helped prepare you for that, and what additional components you think could be added to the program.

Part of the redesign will feature graduate news about current projects and perspectives.  We would like to invite you contribute.  Come in to campus for a video interview to be a featured graduate on the website! Or, submit a short paragraph about what you have been doing in the real world – art or non-art related, or perhaps a recent photo of art work you have been working on!

We would love to hear what you have been creating!

Arts Administration major Mary Schaffer (’13) has just begun studying for her Masters Degree in Art History at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Good luck Mary!


“I have just started my second week at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. I’ve moved into my first apartment in the East End and I am loving living in London! The class schedule is a bit intense but I am so excited for all that I am going to learn in the next year and to have my masters in Contemporary Art.”


Ashley Jaye Class

Ashley Jaye: I graduated Wagner in 2009 and was an Education/Fine Arts major. I began teaching as an elementary art teacher that September after I graduated and have been thus since, I’m in my 5th year now. My second year teaching I was honored with teacher of the year, an award given to one teacher in every school in our school district. Wagner has definitely influenced my teaching. For example I loved my Ancient Egyptian art history course and infuse the knowledge I learned into many of my lessons with my students. My 5th graders make  Egyptian  portraits,  my 3rd graders make an Egyptian sarcophagus, and my 2nd graders paint hieroglyphics.

Shauna Sorensen

Class of 2010

Wagner College Art Major, Shauna Sorensen (Class ’10) had another show at ‘sNice – this time in the West Village! Showing new work, as well as a few older pieces (July 2013.)


‘sNice -West Village
45 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10014


Major Anne Huddle was the Lipper Intern at the

Museum of Jewish Heritage for the Fall 2013

Lipper Internship, Museum of Jewish Heritage –

A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

The Lipper Internship brings together graduate and undergraduate students from across the Northeast to train in New York City for a semester-long internship in museum education. Interns teach students about the Holocaust in local schools in their college communities and on visits to the Museum.

Prior to the beginning of the fall or spring semester Interns attend an intensive two-week training session at the Museum in New York City to learn how to teach public middle and high school students about the Holocaust. During training Interns meet with Museum staff, hear testimony from Holocaust survivors, and learn methods for teaching from artifacts in the Museum’s collection. Following training, Interns visit several middle and high schools in their college communities to give an introductory lesson in the classroom followed by a guided tour at the Museum. Interns then return to the classroom one last time to facilitate a discussion about the lessons learned during the course of the program.


Sirena LaBurn

Sirena LaBurn

“After graduating from Wagner in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Arts Administration, I accepted a great opportunity to return to Texas as the Collections Catalogue Assistant for the Stark Museum of Art. I subsequently moved to Germany, became fluent in the language, and spent two years pursuing my art there. After a short trip to the United States for the opening of my first solo exhibition in Texas, I received a generous offer to attend the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. I returned to New York City in the fall of 2012 to earn my MFA, and I am excited to pursue creative opportunities in the United States and Europe.” For more information on Ms. LaBurn and her work, visit her website Sirena LaBurn


ARNO RAFAEL MINKKINEN, Wagner College Alumni,
Barry Friedman Ltd.
515 West 26th Street
New York, New York 10001

T: 212.239.8600 F: 212.239.8670
Hours: Tues – Sat. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Finnish American photographer noted for his un-manipulated nude self-portraits in the landscape. Born in Helsinki in 1945, he moved with his family to America in 1951. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, he later attended Wagner College on Staten Island, majoring in English. After five years in the advertising business as a Madison Avenue copywriter, he discovered photography working on the Minolta camera account. “What happens inside your mind can happen inside a camera,” was the turning-point headline he wrote in 1970. A year later, studying with John Benson at the Apeiron Workshops in Millerton, New York, he began his self-portrait work.
He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, studying with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Currently he is Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is also docent and visiting professor at the University of Art & Design Helsinki and École d’Art Appliqués in Vevey, Switzerland.

From Inside a Bad-Guy Wrestler, a Brutal Artist Screamed for Release

Julie Glassberg for The New York Times, Phillip Thies, formerly known as Damien Demento, at the Tachi Gallery in TriBeCa, where a show of his paintings and sculptures opened on Thursday.
There was always something artistically sinister about Damien Demento, the loony thug who thrilled World Wrestling Federation fans in the early 1990s with his stringy Fu Manchu beard-mustache combo, bear-claw poncho and bad-guy persona.

A Salvador Dalí on steroids, equally adept at revving up bloodthirsty fans or body-slamming foes, Demento was the brainchild of the fertile and somewhat twisted mind of one Phillip Thies, who grew up a tough street kid in Brooklyn and on Staten Island with an outsize personality to match his physique.
Behind Mr. Thies’s penchant for bedlam in the ring, though, was a keen artist who had been drawing, painting and sculpturing since childhood, and even through his adult years running with tough crowds, working construction, serving jail time and renting himself out as hired muscle.

A retrospective of Mr. Thies’s slightly-more-subdued other career is now on display at the Tachi Gallery in TriBeCa, where his paintings and sculptures are part of a joint exhibition with an artist called Uccello.

It is Mr. Thies’s first art show, and many of the pieces partake of the brutality, showmanship and braggadocio that infused his professional wrestling days.

As he walked through the gallery on Monday, chomping on an unlit cigar, Mr. Thies, 53, said that he hoped his show would be “an open slap to the art community,” but that he also hoped art world insiders would find his work provocative and sincere.

For more information click on the link…..


Meet Staten Island’s comic book crusader!!

“The path to Spider Man runs through the Sistine Chapel, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia, according to illustrator, instructor and student Robert Geronimo.

The 25-year-old New Springville resident discovered years ago that the most gifted comic-book artists had formal training in anatomy, figure drawing and art history. He has patterned his own education accordingly……..” to read more click on the link below…

ARTSID Geronimo2v.JPG

Robert Geronimo (Class 2009) attended Brooklyn College graduate program, and studied abroad through their Study Abroad in China Program,  where he studied East Asian Architecture and Art.

Colleen A F Venable ’02 pens ‘Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye, Book 1: Hamster and Cheese’, with art by Stephanie Yue (Graphic Universe, 2010).
Venable’s first book is the first installment in a planned series of six graphic novels for children. It stars a crotchety guinea pig named Sasspants and a hyperactive hamster named Hamisher, who pushes the bookish pig into crime-solving when the “g” falls off Sasspants’s pet shop sign, transforming “GUINEA PIG” to “GUINEA PI.” “Venable’s story succeeds because of unique characters, a creative setting, and sharp humor,” says School Library Journal. A double major in studio art and English at Wagner who wrote and produced her own play for her senior thesis, Venable designs books for First Second Books, another graphic novel publisher. Her next project will be a longer teen graphic novel, slated for publication by First Second Books. Learn more about Venable at


Our Art/Art history major John (Jack) Tambini (Class 2010) was accepted for the graduate program in Art History at Brooklyn College.

Graduate Shauna Sorenson (Class 2010) was accepted into the M.A. in Art History program at both the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and Hunter College.