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Otis College Celebrates Graduating Students with Virtual Annual Exhibition and Other Exciting Events

Join us virtually for the Annual Exhibition of work by our graduates
From the Virtual Annual Exhibition website launch, to several departmental events, to Commencement, the 2021 graduates have much to celebrate. 
Anna Raya  

In planning for a second year of presenting Annual Exhibition online due to continuing public health restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic, there was the benefit of time, experience, and also real-time observations of how the art and design worlds were changing that informed this year’s Virtual Annual Exhibition website. For the faculty and chairs, helping students hone their creativity and problem-solving skills through remote instruction will culminate in this month’s virtual celebration, when students will have been primed in the capturing, display, and promotion of their work. They will do so using a variety of today’s necessary tools—video, Zoom, virtual galleries, websites, social media—and across all mediums of fine art, fashion, digital media, graphic design, architecture, product design, and toy design. Insight from focus group sessions with students and industry veterans went directly into the design of this year’s website. Many programs also have developed their own ancillary virtual showcase events for student work.

The following are some of the events happening virtually to celebrate the work of Otis College’s graduating BFA and MFA students. 

On May 8, the Fashion Design program unveiled work by both the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes during Virtually Cool, a fashion show and scholarship benefit that raised money for First Generation Scholarships at Otis College. 

On Wednesday, May 12, the Interdisciplinary Studies seniors—those graduating with minors—are being celebrated over Zoom. The Entrepreneurship Minor Launchpad Awards are also being given. More information here

The Toy Design program has two special nights for its graduating students. An Industry Night on Thursday, May 13, and then a Friends and Family celebration on Friday, May 14. 

The Communication Arts program will host an end-of-year exhibition opening and celebration and toast for its seniors on Thursday, May 13. More information here

The MFA Fine Arts and Art + Social Practice candidates will be celebrated in an end-of-year group exhibition on Thursday, May 13. More information here

From May 13-16 the Product Design program will be showcasing senior work on Hopin, a virtual event platform. The students will host virtual booths in which they will share their thoughts and work against the backdrop of recent events. Information on how to attend can be found here

On Friday, May 14, the Architecture/Landscape/Interiors program will have a virtual event to celebrate its graduating Class of 2021. The 2020-2021 Awards for Excellence in Design also will be presented by faculty to six students, followed by a presentation of the graduating seniors’ installation, SKEW, in a walk-through video and rendered images. More information here

Also on Friday, May 14, the BFA Fine Arts program will unveil the 2021 Senior Exhibitions as well as premiere the Class of 2021 website,, and 2021 exhibition catalog. Billboards in Los Angeles about FineAssArt will be shown, and the student award recipients will be announced. More information here

In the process of shifting to Virtual Annual Exhibition, the faculty, chairs, and assistant chairs of these programs have seen a glimpse into the near future, and their outlook is bright for the graduates. The past year has presented unique opportunities as well as unforeseen breakthroughs in how better prepared students are for life after Otis. “We saw it as an opportunity to support our students in preparing them and their practice for a world that will be more comfortable than ever to exist virtually,” says Kathrin Burmester, interim chair of the MFA Fine Arts program. 

You can read more about how Otis College planned for Virtual Annual Exhibition in this article in the Spring 2021 issue of Grid at Otis College, a digital publication for the Otis Community.