Dave Passalacqua

2002 Distinguished Educator in the Arts: Dave Passalacqua

Dave Passalacqua's resume clearly reveals his very impressive qualifications as an artist and designer. It is important to note that he continues to be creative and active as well as having a strong interest in learning and mastering new developing technologies.

Dave has been teaching on the Parsons illustration faculty for more than 20 years. His teaching remains vital and the "tools" students use in his course are current, varied and extensive. The digital camera and computer have become central tools in several of his courses. This openness to new media keeps him current and ahead of his students and most certainly, the peers in his age group.

Dave's course evaluations reflect, year after year, just how much the students value his courses. His warmth and vitality combine to create an environment within his classes that promote active student participation. He encourages diverse points of view and is concerned with each individual's progress and development. Dave is an instructor who enjoys teaching, his courses radiate his enthusiasm.

He is in close contact with a large majority of his former students. His impact on these professionals touches every possible aspect of illustration: For example, the Disney Studios and animation, the film industry, magazine and book publishing and the world of advertising. Dave's students have been and will continue to be major contributors within the business of illustration.

On September 11th he was in the school teaching his class. As we all viewed in horror the WTC burning, he gave an assessment of how he saw the unfolding situation. Dave is a former military man. Because of his army experience he was a very calming influence on all of our students and teachers who were on our floor. He knew how to handle the situation. After we saw that everyone was OK, he conferred with me about the safety of our students. He then went down to "Ground Zero" to photograph the chaos. The resulting images will be included in a book he is preparing: "NYC Landmark Buildings and Bridges". Dave has the capacity to recognize an opportunity in the midst of disaster. Not only are his images to be found within the context of illustration, he is always creating new paths, new ways to expand areas of work. This is an inspiration to his students. They see their own future and know it's possible to enjoy and experience the exhilaraiton of an active and creative life. Dave's teaching and advising effectiveness have been, and are, outstanding.

Barbara Nessim 
Chairperson, Illustration, Parsons School of Design

Drawing courtesy David Passalacqua Jr.