Otis College’s inaugural O-Launch ’22—marking the return of in-person, culminating year-end events since 2019—begins on Friday, May 13 with an industry preview of graduating student work and an opening reception for them and prospective employers and alumnx from art and design industries. Annual Exhibition—the yearly tradition that showcases work from BFA and MFA graduates—takes place on Saturday, May 14 from noon to 9:00 p.m. throughout the campus in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Virtual Annual Exhibition website, which includes online galleries of student work—allowing them to be shared among family, friends, and the art and design worlds in Los Angeles and beyond—is also live starting Thursday, May 12. The new website has galleries for each of the seven undergraduate programs: Communication Arts, Digital Media, Environmental Design, Fashion Design, Fine Art, Product Design, and Toy Design, as well as the MFA Fine Arts program. Viewers can scroll through slideshows and videos of student work, and read about their inspirations and creative process.
The Fashion Design department’s annual runway show caps Saturday night’s festivities, when graduating student work that explores eco-friendly and smart design solutions of the future of the fashion industry will be presented to a standing-room-only audience. The Commencement ceremony rounds out O-Launch ’22 at noon on Sunday, May 15, when Honorary Degree recipients—KORA Organics Founder and CEO Miranda Kerr; Co-founder & CEO of Snap Inc., Evan Spiegel; and Queer Eye host and design expert Bobby Berk—will address the graduating Class of 2022, as will this year’s Valedictorian, Haruka Yamamoto. See below for the full schedule of events.
O-Launch ’22 Schedule
Virtual Annual Exhibition (Online)
Wednesday, May 11 | annual-exhibition.otis.edu
This Virtual Annual Exhibition website features the work of Otis College’s extraordinary 2022 BFA and MFA graduates. Visitors are invited to experience the work of the graduating class through the department landing pages and accompanying student galleries.
Industry Preview (In Person)
Friday, May 13 | Campuswide | 4:00–6:00 p.m. | RSVP here
Employers representing Los Angeles’s creative industries will connect with graduating Otis College students who are shaping the future of art and design. Employers will have an opportunity to view senior projects exhibited throughout campus and enjoy meeting the Class of 2022!
Opening Reception (In Person)
Friday, May 13 | Bobrow Thomas Green | 6:00–9:00 p.m. | RSVP here
Our opening reception welcomes alumnx and friends of Otis College to preview graduating student work and the Annual Exhibition. The evening will include complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres as well as a chance to network with the art community.
Otis Ceramic Student Sale (In Person)
Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14 | Multiple Locations
The Otis Ceramic Student Sale returns in person! This event holds historic meaning beginning with Peter Voulkos in the 1950s, Helen Watson and Robert Glover in the 1960s and ’70s, Ralph Bacerra in the 1980s and ’90s, and Joan Takayama-Ogawa since 2011. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Exhibition (In Person and Online)
Saturday, May 14 | noon–9:00 p.m. | RSVP here
Family and Friends | 6:00–9:00 p.m.
This free campus-wide event will showcase graduating student work across the College’s BFA and MFA programs as well as Interdisciplinary Studies.
Fashion Show (In Person)
Saturday, May 14 | Campus Commons | 7:45 p.m.
RSVP not required; limited standing room available for the general public
The Fashion Design department hosts its annual runway show, featuring the work of the Junior and Senior classes. This year’s 2022 theme, Agents of Change, highlights sustainable design principles, exploring eco-friendly and smart design solutions to amend the future of the fashion industry.
This year's Fashion Design mentors include Michelle Kwak of Nike, Kourtney Morgan of Patagonia, Rhuigi Villasenor for RHUDE, costume designer Trish Sommerville, Chair Emeritus Rosemary Brantley, and fashion designers Zaid Affas and Kevin Hall. For the first time, the Fashion Design department created an elective course titled “Fashioning the Fantastic,” which was mentored by Timothy McGrath, Design Director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty franchise, and conducted in collaboration with Otis’s Digital Media department.
Commencement (In Person and Online)
Sunday, May 15 | Westin Hotel LAX | Noon | Ticketed event
O-Launch ’22 will culminate in the Commencement ceremony to be held at the Westin LAX Hotel on Sunday, May 15, 2022. This is a ticketed event for graduates and their guests. You can watch a Livestream of Commencement on Otis.edu starting at noon on May 15.
During the event, the College will award honorary degrees to Miranda Kerr, Evan Spiegel, and Bobby Berk, all of whom will address the graduates, as well as Valedictorian Haruka Yamamoto.
About the Speakers:
Evan Spiegel studied at Otis College as a high school student prior to enrolling at Stanford University and co-founding Snap Inc. in 2011. Miranda Kerr rose to fame as a supermodel and has expanded her career by launching successful new ventures such as KORA Organics, a line of skincare products. Bobby Berk has transformed lives and living spaces not only as part of Queer Eye’s “Fab Five,” but also with his eponymous, multi-faceted brand, which includes the comprehensive lifestyle destination BobbyBerk.com.
The Valedictorian award is bestowed annually on the member of the senior class whose work represents the pinnacle of academic excellence. Haruka Yamamoto was chosen for her continuously stellar academic performance throughout her Otis College career and the exceptional quality of her studio work.
From an early age, Haruka has been fascinated by the potential of style in expressing people’s aesthetic and identity and remains motivated by their passion for developing the concept of cultural identity and individuality. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Haruka culls from Japanese cultural tradition and philosophy as she finds her voice and furthers her aesthetic. Guided by the proverb, “Hard work always pays off,” introduced by her mother, Haruka looks to continue her education post-Otis by studying Fashion Management in Europe.
A talented, considerate, profoundly investigative, and devoted designer that brings out the best in her classmates, instructors, the Fashion Design department, and larger Otis communities, Haruka is truly an asset to Otis College.
Be sure to tune into the livestream of Otis College’s Commencement ceremony at noon on Sunday, May 15 to hear Haruka’s Valedictorian address, as well as comments by this year’s Honorary Degree recipients. The livestream link will be posted on Otis.edu shortly before the ceremony begins. And be sure to check out all the culminating events that are part of O-Launch ’22. More information here.
Main image: Photograph by Fawad Assadullah/Otis College of Art and Design