Bringing Attention to a Secret Gem: HSAD Students Get First Hand Experience at D&D Building

Bringing Attention to a Secret Gem: HSAD Students Get First Hand Experience at D&D Building

East Midtown Design District’s “Secret Gem”

East Midtown has long been renowned as the Decorative Arts District.  Why? Because it’s home to two meccas that attract architects, designers, and interior decorators from all over the world - the D&D (Decoration & Design) Building at 979 Third Avenue and the A&D (Architecture and Design) Building at 150 East 58th Street -- as well as the many independent decorative arts showrooms that dot the streets throughout the district. 

But this district is also home to a “secret gem” in the design trade - the High School of Art & Design.  Located at 245 East 56th Street, between Second and Third avenues, this is the only specialized public high school in which talented youngsters from all five boroughs are selected to be trained in the visual arts, including architecture, design, and decoration. Yet despite their close proximity, until recently, few showroom managers at the D&D and A&D buildings knew of this vast reservoir of young talent being trained just a few blocks away.  And, for its part, the high school was equally unaware of the possibilities for real-world experience that these showrooms could provide to the students. It was truly, “East is East...and West is West.  And never the ‘twain shall meet!”

Well, now “the ‘twain” has met!

Thanks to a neighborhood organization called Friends of Art & Design (FAD) and its volunteer member, Tina Li Sheff, showroom managers at the D&D and A&D were introduced to the vast reservoir of talented youngsters at the school - motivated youngsters who can work after school as interns at the showrooms, honing their skills and aiming to become future leaders in the home-design industry.  (After all, two graduates of the school are already top leaders in the fashion-design industry - Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.  Why not, in the home-design industry too?) 

At the same time Ms. Sheff of FAD introduced the school to the resources available to their students at the nearby D&D and A&D showrooms.   As a result, today a new synergistic relationship has developed between the industry and the school.  

Recently this new relationship was exemplified in a two-day immersion program wherein the managers of two prestigious D&D showrooms came to the school to talk to students about their industry...and then invited the students to visit their showrooms the very next day.  

Our Photo of the Week on May 18 (above) exemplifies this new synergistic relationship. In this photo Donna Lewis, a teacher at the High School of Art & Design shows her students some of the gorgeous fabrics on display in the Schumacher showroom.

If you are interested in interns for your design business, please contact Friends of Art & Design (FAD) at