2019 Gala Will Celebrate the Renowned Art Institution’s Expansion to Brooklyn, the 50th Anniversary of Graduate Acting and the 40th Anniversary of ITP

Susan Kelechi Watson
Susan Kelechi Watson will be honored by NYU Tisch School of the Arts at the 2019 Tisch Gala (Photo courtesy of NYU Tisch)

NYU Tisch School of the Arts today announced its 2019 gala, to be held on Monday, April 8, 2019, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. The annual gala celebrates the incredible accomplishments of the iconic arts institution and showcases the depth and breadth of the school’s program offerings, including the 50th anniversary of the Graduate Acting program and the 40th anniversary of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). All proceeds from the gala will go towards funds to support critical needs of talented Tisch students. This year’s gala will honor notable alumni SAG Award-winning actress Susan Kelechi Watson and Future Architect Sharon Chang. The gala will also celebrate NYU Tisch’s expansion into Brooklyn and the establishment of the Future Imagination Collaboratory, an initiative to further interdisciplinary collaboration at NYU.

“The arts have long played a critical role in shaping culture, and at NYU Tisch our students, faculty and alumni are groundbreaking leaders in performing, cinematic and emerging arts. As our world rapidly develops and evolves, we need artists to tell our stories, to innovate solutions to complex problems and to collaborate across disciplines to imagine the future,” said Allyson Green, Dean, NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “Through her work on and off the screen, Susan Kelechi Watson continues to have a deep impact in mentoring and developing the next generation of actors, writers and filmmakers. Sharon Chang’s unique expertise and approach to shaping the future through collaboration have been inspirational for Tisch, profoundly influencing our institution’s approach to the arts for years to come. Both of these honorees embody what it means to be forward-thinking members of the Tisch family, and we are thrilled to be honoring them at this year’s gala.”

Actress and producer Susan Kelechi Watson is an alumna of the Graduate Acting program at NYU Tisch. She stars as ‘Beth Pearson’ in the critically acclaimed NBC drama series This Is Us, which earned Emmy Award nominations in 2017 and 2018 for Outstanding Drama Series. Watson earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2018 and 2019. She has appeared in numerous television series including a recurring role in three seasons of HBO’s Louie as the title character’s ex-wife ‘Janet’, as well as NBC’s The Blacklist and HBO’s Divorce. Watson’s film credits include period drama Peter and John, starring Jacqueline Bisset, and the indie film Small, Beautifully Moving Parts. In November 2019, Watson can be seen starring opposite Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in TriStar’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, directed by Marielle Heller. This past January, Watson attended the Sundance Film Festival as a Producer for her film Premature, which premiered to rave reviews.

She currently serves on the board of Drama Club, an organization whose mission is to provide theater practice and positive mentor relationships to incarcerated youths in New York City. Watson is also an Epic NEXT youth development mentor with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, a professional theater company with a mission to promote vital civic discourse and social change through drama. She co-created and continues to lead Epic NEXT’s Annual New Play Festival that showcases original plays about social justice issues as written, directed and performed by Epic NEXT students.

Future Architect Sharon Chang is a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU Tisch, as well as an NYU Trustee and Tisch Dean’s Council member. A philanthropist, entrepreneur and investor in transformational ideas and technologies, Chang is also trained as an artist, designer and architect. An expert generalist armed with a unique collection of building blocks to construct positive change in the world, she focuses her work on reframing the relationship between capital, creativity and impact through masterfully calibrated collaborations.

Early in her career, Chang developed her creative and business expertise at the nexus of Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Silicon Valley as an award-winning strategic mastermind. After nearly two decades exploring the most consequential intersections of these culture-making forces, she began to pioneer future architecture, a powerful discipline that designs, translates and manifests the intangible to shape complex cross-sector collaboration. From a film that inspires gender equality to a fashion brand that drives conscious consumption; a smart city operating system to a fair-trade apparel factory in West Africa, all Chang’s projects confront the status quo to help make the world more beautiful for more people.

Beginning in the Fall of 2019, NYU Tisch will open its doors in Brooklyn, where it will house the Institute of Emerging Media, which encompasses the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), Interactive Media Arts Program (IMA), Game Center and Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. IMA students are in a unique program crossing with engineering students at NYU Tandon. The school’s Future Imagination Fund, which was created and initially funded by Sharon Chang to support visionary and forward-thinking ideas in a deeply collaborative, interdisciplinary environment across Tisch and NYU, will launch the Future Imagination Collaboratory. The Future Imagination Collaboratory is a pioneering graduate research and production center for thinkers and creators in arts, science, design, technology and health aiming to impact the self, culture and community.

Since its founding in 1965, the Tisch School of the Arts has established itself as one of the leading arts schools in the country. It draws on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars and innovators, with course offerings in acting, dance, cinema studies, design for stage and film, dramatic writing, film and television, game design, interactive telecommunications, moving image archiving and preservation, musical theatre writing, performance studies, photography, public policy and recorded music.

Thousands of Tisch alumni have gone on to enjoy fulfilling careers in the arts. Tisch graduates include renowned artists such as Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Baker (also a MacArthur Fellow), Tony Kushner, Doug Wright and Chang Lee; Academy Award winners Mahershala Ali, Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Marcia Gay Harden, Keiko Ibi and Ang Lee; Tony Award winners Nina Arianda, Beowulf Boritt, Steve Kazee, George C. Wolfe, Michael Mayer, Idina Menzel, Stephen Spinella, Frank Wood and Paul Tazewell; Emmy Award winners Alec Baldwin, Sterling K. Brown, Billy Crystal, Vince Gilligan, Donald Glover (also a Grammy Award winner as Childish Gambino), Camryn Manheim and Debra Messing; Golden Globe winners Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez; acclaimed filmmakers, Amy Heckerling and Colin Trevorrow; Grammy nominee Elle Varner; entrepreneur Dennis Crowley; MacArthur Fellowship recipients Kyle Abraham, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (also a Pulitzer Prize finalist), Camille Utterback and Mimi Lien; visual artist Leo Villareal; and actors Danai Gurira and Corey Stoll.

For media inquiries, contact Nico Ericksen-Deriso at The TASC Group at 212-337-8870 or nico@thetascgroup.com.

About the NYU Tisch School of the Arts
For over 50 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars, and innovators. Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world. Learn more at www.tisch.nyu.edu.

Sharon Chang

Sharon Chang will be honored by NYU Tisch School of the Arts at the 2019 Tisch Gala (Photo courtesy of NYU Tisch)