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VPA's Independent Study Degree Program in illustration concludes with 'The Last Picture Show' exhibition July 31-Aug. 8

July 08, 2008

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

Erica Blust

After 35 years of offering professional illustrators the opportunity to receive a master's degree while working full time, the College of Visual and Performing Arts' (VPA) Independent Study Degree Program (ISDP) in illustration will conclude with the exhibition "The Last Picture Show," July 31-Aug. 8 at Delavan Art Gallery, 501 West Fayette St., Syracuse. A closing reception will be held Friday, Aug. 8, from 6-9 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

The exhibition will feature the thesis work of the ISDP illustration class of 2008: Sheila Carey, Rafael Diez, Jeff Miller and Lynnette Sorbello. Also featured will be the work of 29 award-winning illustrators who have served as members of the program's faculty throughout its history. Pictured above: Jeff Miller, "Digging" (detail).

Faculty illustrators who will exhibit work include Joe Ciardiello, John Collier, Kinuko Craft, Roger De Muth, Vincent Di Fate, Randy Enos, Teresa Fasolino, David Grove, Rudy Gutierrez, Gene Hoffman, Gary Kelley, Anita Kunz, Betsy Lewin, Ted Lewin, Greg Manchess, Franklin McMahon, Mark McMahon, C.F. Payne, Jerry Pinkney, Don Ivan Punchatz, James Ransome, Whitney Sherman, Nancy Stahl, Barron Storey, Herb Tauss, John Thompson, Murray Tinkelman, John Vargo and Robert Weaver.

VPA began offering ISDP programs in both advertising design and illustration in 1973, after former advertising design faculty member John Sellers identified the need for a graduate program aimed at students who were already professionals and had specific goals and needs. Sellers and Vargo created the two programs as a way for these students to obtain a master's degree in a reasonable amount of time without having to leave their jobs. They assembled a faculty of top creative professionals to teach each program and limited the students' on-campus residency time to one two-week summer session for three consecutive summers. Students also met 10 to 12 days each year in different cities for critiques, lectures and visits to creative agencies.

"The Independent Study Degree Program in illustration was an ingenious idea that was admired throughout the illustration community for its level of excellence," says Thompson, professor of illustration in VPA and coordinator of the ISDP illustration program. "We are especially thankful to its originator, John Vargo, and to Murray Tinkelman, who led the program for 30 years. 'The Last Picture Show' will be an outstanding final tribute to this original concept."

The ISDP advertising design program will also conclude this summer. VPA will continue to offer a master of fine arts degree in illustration through its residency program.

Delavan Art Gallery will be open for the exhibition Thursdays and Fridays from noon-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information about the gallery, contact (315) 425-7500 or visit

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