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New York Public Schools Prep Tomorrow’s Advertising Creatives
By: Tom Roarty
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Through the years, New York has been a magnet for some of the world’s greatest creative talent. It could be because of its multi-cultural diversity, the amount of revenue that could be obtained on the island, or the fact that art inspires art, and there is plenty of it here. There are few places that you could go in Manhattan without coming across a wide range of creative works in open forums, spanning Picasso to Warhol, but among all of the famous works that can be found, there are also glimpses into tomorrow’s creatives.
On the quiet tree-lined block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues on 84th Street, you will pass by Public School 9. Although I have walked by PS 9 many times in the past, this weekend I had a chance to slowly stroll by the campus and take notice of some of the art works created by the students, which were displayed outside of the school. The theme that bound the six sculptures together was trees.
It was not necessarily the craftiness of the work alone that caught my attention, but rather the cleverness of the exhibit that drew me in. There was the “Pipe Dream” tree made of PVC pipes, the “Endless Possibili-Tree” composed of things that help make the future better, the “Family Tree” made up of drawings of family members, the “Symme-Tree” which was half a tree painted on half a canvas, which was folded in half to complete the second half of the image, and my personal favorite, “Tree Tops,” made of recycled caps that were collected by the students.
The cleverness of the exhibit cohesively branded the individual pieces, establishing an identifiable campaign feel across all facets of the work. From the tree title cards, which would be directly associated with a headline in an agency environment, to the physical elements of the design creating the branded feel of the work, the students of PS 9, with this one display, had their first taste of agency experience, all before they reached middle school.
Impressive as that all may seem, what is even more momentous is that fact that in a time where art programs are suffering due to national budget cuts, PS 9 found a way to be creative around monetary constraints to introduce a program that teaches students on multiple levels about creating for a commercial platform. All of which are traits that every advertising professional must possess in order to be successful in the business.
I appreciate the direction PS 9 and its students took with this project. The teachers and staff should be commended for their efforts in the development of tomorrow’s agency creatives. If our industry's future is dependent on today’s youth, after seeing the efforts of these students and teachers, I feel as if the industry will continue to thrive based on the foundation of good ideas as opposed to the reliance on future technologies alone.

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