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New York Officials Unveil ‘Made in NY Animation Project’

Young New Yorkers receive training on state-of-the-art animation software, opening doors to careers in film, gaming, advertising and more. New Animation Industry Council, comprised of professionals from New York-based animation studios, will advise the program.

NEW YORK -- Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin, Probation Commissioner Ana M. Bermúdez, and The Animation Project Founder Brian Austin joined animation industry professionals at the Harlem Neighborhood Opportunity Network Jan. 11 to unveil the City’s Made in NY Animation Project.

A groundbreaking initiative that will reach 1,800 young New Yorkers in all five boroughs during the coming year, the Made in NY Animation Project offers participants the opportunity to engage in storytelling, gain technical skills in 3D computer animation, and qualify for paid internships in this burgeoning field. The unveiling included a showcase of the first cohort’s completed animation projects, as well as a VR and computer demonstration in the Animation Lab at the Harlem NeON.

Also at the event, the newly-formed Animation Industry Council -- an advisory group of professionals from leading greater New York-based animation studios, video game publishers, post-production houses, television networks and advertising agencies -- was announced. The members of this council will share their expertise and career advice with the program’s participants, and provide information regarding job opportunities in the animation field.

“We’re the most creative city in the world,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “Making sure our young people have access to 21st century animation tools helps build bright futures for our next generation of artists and keep our city the global capital of culture.”

New York City is a leading urban area when it comes to employing multimedia artists and animators, second only to Los Angeles. The field is projected to add 10,000 well-paying jobs to the city’s economy by 2024, fueled by increased demand for graphics and visual effects in video games, film, television and mobile devices.

With this in mind, the Made in NY Animation Project aims to create learning opportunities in digital animation for at-risk and underserved youth across the city, opening doors to careers in sought-after areas of the entertainment industry. The initiative will provide 3D digital animation classes at NeON locations throughout the five boroughs, as well as at participating public schools within the NeON neighborhoods. Lab sessions will be led by a professional digital animator and a creative arts therapist. Participants in the program will receive hands-on instruction with digital animation techniques, including training in Autodesk, the leading 3D animation software manufacturer used by animators and design firms. Throughout the course of the program, participants will work as a team to create original, computer-animated videos, while developing the social, emotional and career skills necessary for success.

This past summer, The Made in NY Animation Project rolled out lab groups at NeONs in each of the five boroughs. The participating NeONs are offering the program at no cost in 12-week cycles throughout the year. The Made in NY Animation Project will expand into ten middle and high schools in these neighborhoods with courses offered during the school day.

Upon successful completion of the Made in NY Animation Project at NeON locations or in participating schools, qualified participants have the opportunity to become paid interns for the program, providing training support to new cohorts while continuing to learn more advanced animation techniques. Students that are accepted into this internship have the option to test for Autodesk professional certification, allowing them to pursue entry-level work opportunities in the field.

The Animation Industry Council membership includes:

  • Daniel Abramovich, Stereoscopic Supervisor, Blue Sky Studios
  • Andrew Bly, Co-Founder/CFO, The Molecule
  • Donna Bulford, Chief Revenue Officer, Animation World Network
  • Janice Burgess, Executive Producer The Polos, Co-Executive Producer Enchanting Leela, Creator The Backyardigans
  • Jimmy Calhoun, Acting Chair Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects, School of Visual Arts
  • Winnie Chaffee, Head of New York Physical Production, Titmouse Studios
  • Philip Courtney, Chief Executive Office, Urban Arts Partnership
  • Katie Cropper Klein, President, ASIFA East (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation)
  • Tom Eaton, Assistant Professor of Animation, Kingsborough Community College CUNY
  • Lisa Fragner, Head of Development, Blue Sky Studios (21st Century FOX)
  • Melanie Grisanti, Vice President, Production, Sesame Workshop
  • Lisa Goldman, Content Creator and Former President, Women in Animation NYC
  • Masako Kanayama, Production Manager, Silvergate Media
  • Kim Lee, Senior CG Generalist, FuseFX
  • Benjamin Lehmann, Vice President & Executive Producer, Sesame Street
  • Alan Lewis, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Take-Two Interactive
  • Christina Miller, President & General Manager, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Boomerang
  • Pilar Newton-Katz, Animation Director/Owner, PilarToons LLC
  • Mary Nittolo, Founder/ Creative Director, the STUDIO
  • Dan Shefelman, Director, Dan Shefelman Studio & Assistant Professor, FIT School of Art & Design
  • Christophil Jude Silva, Lead Animator, Avalanche Studios
  • Frank Suarez, CEO/Executive Producer, Bunko Studios
  • Boris Ustaev, Senior User Experience Designer, Autodesk
  • Lightning Yumeku, Animation Producer/Director, 3 Degrees Films

For more information on the Made in NY Animation Project, visit

Source: City of New York

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.