It’s 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, and I am getting very anxious.  In fifteen minutes the classroom I am currently taking Randy McIver’s ecorche intensive course in will become a massive and extraordinarily intricate game of painting storage Tetris and I am not convinced everything will fit.  It is time to prepare for Tribeca Ball.  An event the Academy hosts right here in the Academy, and we only have one little weekend to whip the building into shape.  There is nothing else like it, as a student that walks these halls daily, it boggles my mind how unrecognizable it becomes. 

This year I wanted to dive right in and get really involved to see just how this project works from start to finish.  You would not believe the team of people that work day in and day out to make this event happen.  I was lucky enough to work with one of the teams and help create the paper garden lounge in the basement. I spent hours during the week proceeding the event cutting folding and glue-gunning as many little paper flowers as I could produce… which turned out not to be all that many, but it was an eye opener for me to realize how much work goes into some of the elaborate decorations we see scattered about New York on a regular basis.  It was an incredible experience that has really opened my eyes to some of the different possibilities for me in this world.    
So now let’s get on with the event. I am sitting on this old recycled trunk in my studio, fidgeting and full of nerves, no idea what to expect.  The first thirty minutes go by and all I have successfully done is nervously stuff my face with tiny turkey sausages.  Then everything picked up.  The halls were crowded with people and the conversations and excitement began.  It was so exhilarating when I realized that people were actually interested in these paintings I’ve been working so hard on for the last two years.  I even sold a few, which is really just icing on the cake.  It opens up a whole new world for us as young artists to work day in and day out into the wee hours of the night and then to be given this unbelievable opportunity as students to show our stuff to an incredible audience of people.

Then suddenly three hours have flown by, and its time for the dinner.  I actually had the miraculous privilege of attending the dinner, which really summed up an already fantastic night.  Catered by the notable chef Daniel Boulud, the food was absolutely delicious! But, my favorite part was the little flower headdresses and boutonnières they provided at every seat for each of the guests.  It really brought the whole floral, garden theme full circle.  After we ate we got to the dancing with the fiery DJ Kiss.  The Van Cleef & Arpels models we had seen throughout the night appeared with amazing, giant paper flower headdresses.  My dad took pictures with them and it made him look famous.  Wouldn’t you know those girls could dance too!  Each had a bodyguard though to make sure they didn’t lose any of the lavish jewels they were dawning for the event.

Once all is said in done, the students reunited at one of the usual hang outs to celebrate the survival of yet another Tribeca Ball.  This year our fantastic little after party was held at the Tribeca Tavern.  Good friends and good fun made this years ball a great success! We hope to see you all there for our next event, OPEN STUDIOS from 6:00 to 9:00 at the Academy, April 25; also my 25th birthday (shameless plug!) can’t wait to see you all.


For more information on Helen Strickler please visit
To visit her studio in person, come to the Academy's Open Studios event on April 25th from 6-9pm where Helen and all of the Academy's artists-in-residence will open their creative spaces to the public and be on hand to discuss their work.

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