NAD x VOLTA New York: Artist Talks, New Media Works from the Collection, and Mentoring for High School Students


February 1, 2019

Elizabeth King, NA, with Richard Kizu-Blair, Still from  What Happened , 1991, Remastered for high-definition video, 2008, Single-channel video, no audio, 8 mins, National Academy of Design, New York

Elizabeth King, NA, with Richard Kizu-Blair, Still from What Happened, 1991, Remastered for high-definition video, 2008, Single-channel video, no audio, 8 mins, National Academy of Design, New York

New York, NY -- The National Academy of Design (NAD) is proud to announce a new educational initiative launching in partnership with VOLTA New York and taking place at this year’s fair, March 6 - 10.  National Academicians (NAs)--the Academy’s members and leaders in American art and architecture--will mentor local high school students through immersive instruction and tours of the fair, and offer attendees insight into their personal artistic practices through salon-style talks.  Additionally, four new media works from the Academy’s permanent collection, along with two that are soon-to-be acquired, will be available for viewing during the fair. 

Through this new partnership, the Academy continues an exploration of innovative and meaningful approaches to arts education for the 21st century while giving back to the community and putting our members and their work in the public eye.  We are proud to partner with VOLTA in particular and support their ongoing education and community-building efforts, which include engaging artists with not-for-profits personal to them, and open access to the fair for all New York City public high school students and teachers.

NA-to-Student Mentoring

Before VOLTA opens to the public, members of the National Academician Education Committee--Frances Barth, NA; David Humphrey, NA; Melissa Meyer, NA; and Roberto Juarez, NA--will be paired with groups of underserved New York City high school students for immersive visits.  Each NA will select a handful of works being exhibited by VOLTA artists, as well as selections from the Academy’s exhibit hall, and lead a 60-90 minute tour and discussion for the students around topics such as the career of a professional artist, how art fairs work, process, influence, and new media/video work.  These NA-mentoring sessions take place prior to the fair opening for public access on March 7th and 8th, and is the first time VOLTA has offered an educational component of this caliber. 

Salon-Style Artist Talks

When the fair opens to the public, the NAD will supplement the exhibitions with salon-style artist talks that pair NAs with fellow members, collaborators, and new media professionals, giving fair attendees the opportunity to hear from the artists themselves about their influences and processes.  “In 2017, we launched a series of salons that paired NAs with other NAs, and they’ve been incredibly popular,” says Mary Fisher, Interim Executive Director.  “We’ve been thrilled to host these conversations that have inspired and educated people from all walks of life.  We’re excited to now expand our reach through our partnership with VOLTA.”

Confirmed events include:

  • Frances Barth, NA + Rebecca Cleman In Conversation

    Barth and Cleman (Electronic Arts Intermix’s Director of Distribution) will share a conversation centered around the theme of influence and the legacy of video art.

    Thursday, March 7 -- 4:00 p.m

  • Elizabeth King, NA + Mike Belzer In Conversation

    Elizabeth King, whose stop-motion film What Happened is on view in the NAD exhibition hall, is joined by Mike Belzer, a lead animator on that film, for a demonstration of traditional stop-motion animation, showing how King animates her sculptures for film. Belzer is an internationally-known animator whose work can be seen in the films The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and others.

    Friday March 8 -- 4:00 p.m.

  • Mary Lucier, NADonna Dennis, NA In Conversation

    Lucier and Dennis will discuss their parallel work in installation and video.  Lucier’s Summer, or Grief, will be available for viewing throughout the duration of the fair.

    Saturday, March 9 -- 4:00 p.m.

New Media from the Permanent Collection

As fair attendees browse works by VOLTA artists available for purchase, they will also have the unique opportunity to view new media works from the NAD’s permanent collection by Elizabeth King, Christian Marclay, Shahzia Sikander, and Carrie Mae Weems, as well as by NA members peter campus and Mary Lucier.  By giving the public the chance to see these works alongside those of mid-career and emerging VOLTA artists, the NAD further builds upon the importance of mentorship, influence, and artist education.

NA works on view include: 

  • peter campus, locks eddy, 2018

  • Elizabeth King with Richard Kizu-Blair, What Happened, 1991/2008

  • Mary Lucier, Summer, or Grief, 1998/2018

  • Christian Marclay, Telephones, 1995

  • Shahzia Sikander, The Last Post, 2010

  • Carrie Mae Weems, Italian Dreams, 2006

This year’s partnership is just the beginning of a multi-year collaboration between the NAD and VOLTA based on artist mentorship.  Mary Fisher, Interim Executive Director, remarks, “As the Academy continues to explore all possibilities for impactful education for the 21st century, we look forward to deepening our relationship with VOLTA and other innovative partners.”

About the National Academy of Design

The National Academy of Design has a simple yet powerful mission: “to promote American art and architecture through exhibition and instruction.” Founded in 1825 by a group of forward-thinking artists and architects who believed themselves to be the best agents for the advancement of the field, the NAD is an honor society of America’s top artists and architects—the National Academicians. Becoming a National Academician is a lifetime honor and one that cannot be applied for or solicited. New members are elected annually, totaling over 2,300 since our founding.

National Academicians serve as ambassadors for the arts in America. They show work in our exhibitions, foster the next generation through our educational programs, and, in keeping with an almost 200-year-old tradition, contribute a work to our collection. The NAD permanent collection of nearly 8,000 works—unlike any other in the United States, shaped by the National Academicians themselves—represents one of the nation’s most significant and unique holdings of American art and architecture.

Today, the National Academy of Design is in the midst of an exciting transformation—with newly-launched online resources, a reinvigorated Board and membership, and the establishment of our first-ever permanent endowment, we are re-envisioning what an Academy can be in the 21st century. Learn more at


VOLTA New York is a contemporary art fair comprising solo projects by leading and emerging international artists. The American incarnation of the original Basel VOLTA show, VOLTA New York has since its 2008 debut operated as a beacon for creative discovery and social engagement during Armory Arts Week. VOLTA New York returns to PIER 90, adjacent to The Armory Show, from March 6–10, 2019. VOLTA Cares was initiated in 2018 as a multi-tiered social programming outreach by the New York fair to more meaningfully connect with all levels of cultural purveyors, from public school students to patron collectors.

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