In addition to Chavón, Marie Genevieve Cyr has taught design at international schools in China and the United Kingdom.
Tell us about the intensive you previously taught at Chavón. How did you get involved? What were some of your most memorable assignments?
Our previous Dean of the School of Fashion connected me with Stephen Kaplan. Following the international fashion research and experimental design workshops I was leading in Asia and Europe, it made sense to connect with one of our partner design schools in the DR. Stephen came to my office and contagiously shared his love and passion for Chavón The School of Design - his life project. I was really moved by him and his story. I later met with Chavón's Fashion Director in the city and we connected on our shared vision for fashion and textile education. She wanted to empower and celebrate DR young generations of artists and designers. We then embarked on developing a four-day intensive workshop with students at their Fashion Design campus in Santo Domingo.
The most memorable moment was when students walked around their neighborhood for a research and color study assignment. They came back with the most amazing color composition and print studies. The room was lit up with excitement and an amazing energy. I was very impressed and inspired by them.
What makes Chavón a unique school? What makes it a good fit to host a Parsons program?
Chavón is unique for its environment. When I arrived at Chavón’s La Romana campus, it was like arriving at an artist paradise with outdoor workshops and incredible views. The landscape surrounding the campus is part of the experience. Santo Domingo offers an explosive city environment where sounds, materials, and people are at the core of your research and processes.
A student works on fashion sketches at Chavón.
What makes the Dominican Republic an ideal setting for a fashion design intensive?
DR is an ideal setting for students who want to experience and create fashion in a totally new environment. This experimental and intuitive course will open new perspectives on design and art away from the traditional geographies of fashion (i.e. NYC, Paris, Milan). It helps students to focus and develop meaningful, personal, and collaborative work.
The partnership between Chavón and Parsons started more than 30 years ago.
How did you pull from your own creative work when creating this course?
Over the years, I have been invited around the globe to teach young artists and designers about unique research and design processes. It is very important to me to engage with creative audiences and participants from different backgrounds: economic status, race, class, and cultural contexts. By sharing tools, methods, and thinking—creative thinking, research methodologies, unique ideas for processes, and observation skills as well as intuition and spontaneity development—I can empower or activate individual creative identity.
Play is the foundation of my teaching. I integrate a performative facet and push students to develop a breadth of artistic practice. My interdisciplinary teaching style (art, design, photography) and my knowledge about sustainable systems are integrated in this course.
Learn more about the June Intensive at Chavón for college students and adults. The Fashion Design Explorations course starts June 6!