The long-awaited Gallery at the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 4. And in an exciting development for FIT, passersby on Seventh Avenue could glimpse the goings-on through the soaring glass façade. The space was created through an expansion of the Pomerantz Center lobby, doubling its size to 4,000 square feet, and providing what President Joyce F. Brown called “a new gateway to the FIT campus.”
Attendees included FIT trustees, administrators, faculty, and students as well as FIT friends John and Laura Pomerantz; the building is named for John’s father. Guests mingled amid a display of 32 splendid ball gowns—an exhibition by the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, which celebrates artisanal and sustainable fashion from the Commonwealth’s 53 countries, mostly former territories of the British Empire. The exhibition first opened at Buckingham Palace in February 2018.
While the gallery will sometimes host outside exhibitions, its main mission is more local. The expanded lobby, designed by the architectural firm David Smotrich & Partners, fulfills the college’s pressing need for more space to showcase the work of students and faculty in the School of Art and Design’s 17 programs.
The school’s dean, Troy Richards, noted that, true to the college’s “unconventional minds” brand, the new gallery space will take an unconventional approach. Where most college galleries exhibit the work of faculty, students, and outside artists separately, FIT’s will present them side by side. “Our goal is to be inclusive and to engage our faculty and students, as well as the greater community of New York and beyond,” he said. “This space, with its glass walls, is a window into FIT and it is also a window out.”
This transparency reflects FIT’s philosophy of connecting the life of the college to the life of the street. “FIT is a jewel box,” New York State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “and I always think about the kids walking by thinking, ‘I can do that.’”
Dr. Brown agreed. “If you stand at the corner for no more than a minute, you will see passersby stop and gaze and pull out their cameras; they even come in … All of which, of course, is exactly the point.”