Melanie Reim

2018 Distinguished Educator in the Arts Honoree: Melanie Reim

Teaching is an art and under the helm of Melanie Reim teaching becomes a high art. At the Fashion Institute of Technology, Melanie teaches drawing and illustration in the Undergrad and Graduate programs, with passion, sharing her vast knowledge and experience of art making. Her classes are inspirational, entertaining, challenging and informative leaving a lasting impression on anyone under her caring tutelage.

Melanie’s determination in sharing her knowledge and experience extends well beyond the scope of the classroom. Her resume reads like an encyclopedia of awards, honors and accomplishments.  It’s difficult to know where to start to describe the extraordinary contributions she has made to teaching and the world of education. The one constant in her life is her ever-present sketchbook, and once a student studies with Melanie they too, never leave their sketchbook behind.

Melanie joined FIT in 1996, and by 2001, became one of the one of the founders of the MA/ MFA program in Illustration in the School of Graduate Studies at FIT, expanding and raising the profile of the undergraduate and graduate Illustration departments at FIT as Chairperson from 2001 to 2017. Under her tenure, the MFA in Illustration at FIT has expanded and flourished, and is one of the most successful and respected programs at the institution. Melanie is also seen as a leader on the FIT campus, appointed to committees inclusive of the President’s Council on Strategic Planning, the Brand Consortium and one of the co-founders of the President’s Council on Diversity, engaging with students and faculty all across campus.

Melanie is tireless in her pursuit of excellence for herself, her students and her colleagues. Currently serving as the Associate Dean of the School of Art and Design, she continues to have oversight and create initiatives that promote and raise the standard of not only Illustration students, but for all 17 design disciplines within her School, for current and future students. 

Melanie Reim’s dedication as an educator has not gone unnoticed. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellors Award for Faculty Service and a 2006 Fulbright Scholar. Melanie’s Fulbright brought her to the Dominican Republic, where she has been teaching on her “breaks” for twenty years, creating another family and following of students who fell in love with drawing and illustration after her classes there. Melanie served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Illustrators as Education Chair, as Education Chair for ICON The Illustration Conference 6 and Volunteer Chair for ICONS 7 and 8. She has created workshops and symposiums around the world and has been invited to share her experiences not only as a teacher but as an artist.

Melanie Reim is an award winning and revered artist specializing in Reportage Illustration. Her location drawings, from political rallies to disco dancing, burst with energy and flow with charm and grace. Her command of the figure is powerful and informed.

I met Melanie at FIT in 1996. Melanie is kind, candid, loyal and with a keen insight and intellect, always there to advise, to collaborate, and share ideas.

Melanie brings these same attributes to everything in her realm, whether teaching, drawing or committee work. Teaching is an art and Melanie Reim not only raises that standard but the standard of excellence for education. I am proud to be her colleague, honored to be her friend and ecstatic that Melanie Reim is awarded the 2018 distinguished Educator in the Arts.

Bil Donovan
Illustrator
Artist in Residence, Christian Dior
Assistant Professor, FIT