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Pandemic Cancels City Hall Textile Exhibition, So it Goes Online

By Mellany Armstrong

The show must go on—that’s what Interdisciplinary Assistant Professor Heather Ujiie decided about an exhibition that the students in her textile print design course were to have at Philadelphia City Hall. So she created one for them, online.

“I am very proud of them,” Ujiie said. “They did a great job and there are so many wonderful designs.”

The exhibition, titled Ornamental Pattern, was to be installed from May 11 to June 12 across from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office as part of the Art in City Hall program by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. But the coronavirus pandemic caused it to be canceled. Unfortunately, also as a result of the pandemic, the mayor plans to eliminate the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy by June 1st unless City Council intervenes either to temporarily halt the move or revise it.

“I decided to make a website on Wix.com with all of my students’ textile print design work,” she said. “We had a great studio, which was interdisciplinary, including Fashion Design, Curatorial Studies, Fine Arts and Illustration student work.”

The 12 students in the Drawing & Painting Into Pattern class conducted visual research at City Hall, which was designed in the classical Napoleon III architectural style by John McArthur Jr., and includes ornamental flora, fauna and mythological sculptures by Alexander Milne Calder.

“It offers our students a wonderful point of departure for image-making and textile print design,” Ujiie said.

The students were to digitally print their designs onto fabric that would be exhibited in display cases, as well as construct fashion designs that would have been displayed on mannequins. Instead, their gorgeous digital designs will appear on this website for now. Ujiie hopes the designs can be printed on fabric and be shown in public at some point.

“Almost all of the work was done during the pandemic (with students working from home), so I am very proud of them!” Ujiie said.

Students in the textile print design class included Ashley Monteiro '20, Illustration; Casey Quinn '21 Fashion Design; Drashti Pandya '20, Fashion Design; Karyn Kittrell '20, Fashion Design; Lucie Allen '21,Curatorial Studies; Sonimarie Rodriguez '22, Fine Arts; Teonna Thorton '20, Fashion Design; Vivienne Maestrado '21, Fashion Design; Courtney Warren '21, Curatorial Studies; Fina Grimes '21, Fine Arts; Alexandra Piper '21, Fine Arts; and Christine Moore '22, Fashion Design. See their work here.

Published on May 21st, 2020