Class Notes

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February 2020

Grant C. Dinsmore (BFA ’63, MFA ’67), an illustration major, retired from La Roche University in Pittsburgh with the rank of professor emeritus following 33 years of service. He also served as an NCO in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1963 to 1969. His late wife Barbara was a 1967 graduate of VPA.

Debra (Rosenthal) Russell (BFA ’92) has been named to the professional advisory board for the National Basketball Wives Association. She is a business coach and speaker for artist and athlete entrepreneurs pursuing their passion as a business.

Jason Cicci (BFA ’93) co-created and wrote the original series Cady Did for Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman. Inspired by her turn on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Cady plays a fictional version of herself, facing an uncertain future. Jason is also the co-founder of Make Your Show, a business that creates content for actors.

Elaine de la Mata (BFA ’93) started a new position as design manager of preschool at leading toy company Spin Master in Los Angeles.

Lauren O’Brien (BFA ’01) is the writer and performer of Jaxx & Lolo – A Friendship Show, inspired by her real-life outsider friendship with punk-poet Jackie Sheeler. Jaxx & Lolo brings the audience along on a surreal and harrowing journey as Lolo battles the threat of Jaxx’s suicide. Directed by Christine Renee Miller, the show will run at the Kraine Theater in New York City February 22-March 7 as part of FRIGID New York. Learn more.

Salehe Bembury (BID ’10), who is vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear at Versace, was featured on Hypebeast’s “Business of Hype” weekly series. He credits the School of Design’s industrial and interaction design program with helping him become “a ‘design Renaissance man.’”

Paul Weiner (BFA ’15) was named by the Daily Collector as one of “20 Painters Who Are Shaping the New Decade.”

Peter Hartsock (BFA ’19) and Daniel Simoni (BFA ’19), who founded 410 Pictures, a midnight movie production house, while studying film at VPA, had the award-winning short film Optic Nerve, directed by Peter, premiere in Hollywood at the IndieX Film Fest February screening.