The Art Students League of New York was founded on the revolutionary idea that a fine art education should be available to anyone who walked through its doors. We reaffirm that promise, with our commitments to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.
In 2021, the League engaged with an advisory committee focused on strategically working to ensure that our school is home to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and open community. This DEIA committee, made up of students, staff, and representatives from the community at large, was created to help the League establish benchmarks and processes that ensure we are doing everything we can to create a world without the structural racism and exclusion that has pervaded the fine arts for centuries.
Although the great art created within our walls has always been the product of diverse points of view, and we welcome students, instructors, visitors, and staff to the League regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, or ethnic, racial, or national identity—we know that promoting and supporting DEIA is an active process. Our first step is to ensure that we are creating a culture at the League that not only represents the many diverse communities we serve, but that encourages us to expand our reach, and welcome new and different voices into the fine arts. Our renewed commitment to DEIA is a reaffirmation of the League’s founding mission—to make high-quality art education accessible to all.
Programs at the League that are related to and help us fulfill our commitment to DEIA include (but are not limited to): Seeds of the League, our youth-focused community program, and Artmakers, our ongoing series highlighting the work of current League students.
Valentine Aprile is the Model Services and DEIA Manager at the Art Students League of New York. She is also an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and a certified DEI professional with experience as an arts educator across disciplines and age ranges. She holds a BFA in Painting and MA in Arts in Education from The University of the Arts and is a member of several arts organizations including the National Art Education Association, National Association of Women Artists, the Art Students League of New York, Poets Artists, Portrait Society of America, and Catalyst Story Institute.
Rudy Bravo is the Digital Communications Manager for the Art Students League of New York where, among many other endeavors, he launched "The Artmakers." This YouTube series showcases the diversity of aesthetics and cultures present in the League's creative community. A Graduate of Brown University with a BA in Ethnic Studies, he went on to earn his M.Ed. from the City College of New York. Mr. Bravo is an alumnus of the Math and Science for Minority Students Program at Philips Academy, Andover. He is also a former League painting student.
Crystal Durant (DJ Crystal Clear), a portrait model at the Art Students League since 2015, is also a DJ/Singer/Rock Show Producer, a Podcaster, and Artist/Storyteller/Activist. She has been a public-school Visual Arts educator in NYC since 1992 and guest lectured on race and issues concerning Black youth at various schools including UArts, The School For Legal Studies, Vanguard High School, and The Ella Baker School. She holds an Associate's degree in Graphic Design and Photography from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and a BFA in Metalsmithing with a K-12 Art Education degree from The University of the Arts.
Melissa Potter is a multi-media artist, writer, and curator with a history of collaborating with activists and working for social change. She specializes in hand papermaking and printmaking exhibiting nationally and internationally. She is a three-time Fulbright award recipient and has received funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and Soros Fund for Arts and Culture. She is also a professor in the Art & Art History Department at Columbia College Chicago. Potter earned her BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University and MFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.
David C. Terry is an artist, independent curator, cultural producer, and Director and Curator for C24 Gallery in New York. He began his career at the Philadelphia Arts League and then as Director and Curator of Grants and Exhibitions at the New York Foundation for the Arts also overseeing the Immigrant Artist Program. He has over 150 exhibitions and curatorial productions and experiences to his name as a juror, and a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Bronx Council on the Arts, and more. He earned a BA at the College of William and Mary, and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Pennsylvania.