Alumni Spotlight | Donald Porcaro (Visual Arts '76)

Donald PorcaroWas there a specific faculty member or peer that especially inspired you while at the School of the Arts? If so, who and how?
Ronald Bladen was a visiting faculty member at that time and was a great inspiration to me then, and for many years after. He was an example of a true artist with his complete dedication, his pinpoint focus and clarity of vision and attention to craftsmanship and detail. He was also extremely encouraging and generous with his time. He was a real mentor to me as a young artist  and we stayed close friends until his death. 

How did attending the School of the Arts impact your work and career as an artist?
Being at the School of the Arts placed me squarely within one of the most competitive and challenging environments. Regular exchanges with colleagues and the constant feedback of visiting artists and faculty put me on my toes (I will always remember getting a visit from Isamu Noguch!). Also, there’s no question that the rigor of the program along with Columbia’s reputation put me in a prime position academically and my teaching career at Parsons is a reflection of that.
About Donald Porcaro
Don Porcaro is an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design. After earning his MFA in Sculpture from Columbia School of the Arts in 1976, Porcaro was hired as adjunct faculty of Sculpture at Parsons. In 1986 he was promoted to full time faculty and was Chair of both undergraduate and graduate Fine Arts programs from 2003 – 2008. He has had over 30 one-person exhibitions and has been in numerous group shows nationally and internationally. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Art in America, Artnews, BOMB and Newsday, among others. In 2007 he was the subject of a featured profile in Sculpture magazine, and in 2011 was the U.S. representative at the 50th Forma Viva International Sculpture Symposium in Portoroz, Slovenia. He was a finalist for the 2013 International Sculpture Center’s prestigious Educator of the Year Award, and is the recipient of a Teaching Excellence Award from Parsons School of Design. His work is currently featured in Object’hood, a group exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace in New York City, and his indoor and outdoor sculpture will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit, New Jersey, opening September 20. A full-color catalog with an essay by art historian Karen Wilkin will be available.
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.