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What makes an environment conducive to artistic expression? We believe it’s a number of things: a faculty made up of highly-talented practicing artists, a curriculum rich in fine arts and liberal arts courses, a breath-taking campus and small class size. The Nazareth Art Department offers a variety of programs that take advantage of these assets.
Art History, B.A.
Art Therapy, M.S.
Lent (BS Art Education 1979) has had an extraordinary career in the design
world since graduating from Nazareth. He arrived at the college as a Biology
major, but… “In my first year, I'd stare out the window and see all these art
students, chatting, laughing, alive,” says Lent. “I looked down at my
impossible biology book and knew something was not right. I changed my major to
art studio, telling my parents a few months later. They were ridiculously supportive
but requested me only to ‘please stay on the Deans List!’”
Upon graduating, Ed began his career working at McCurdy’s Department store in Rochester’s Midtown Plaza. After creating a display window with the new fall ladies’ shoes hanging from miles of grapevine, his director told him to “take them out immediately!” But, as he was dismantling the window, he heard a tapping on the glass. When he turned, a voice said, “My director loves these windows and wants you to join our display staff.” So he moved over to B. Forman, where he was promoted to Asst. Director of Visual Merchandising.
After brief stints teaching at Nazareth Academy and Bryant & Stratton he became Director of Visual Merchandising at Parkleigh Pharmacy. While working there he was recruited by the Dallas based display company, Susan Crane. He moved to Manhattan and spent years traveling for the company from Toronto to Puerto Rico.
His next job was Visual Merchandising Director of Noritake China Company, designing showrooms and installing displays in NYC, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles and eventually cities in Germany, Japan and South America. By now he also had a position on the design and product development panel of the dinnerware industry giant.
“Art History was greatly referenced in the patterns and even the names of the lines I created,” says Lent. “I had an amazing 14-year career, even creating a national retail event, ‘Edward's Table’ in which I taught the ‘art of entertaining and table-setting’ at retailers across the U.S. It was an exciting time.
“I also became Associate Editor of the industry bible ‘Tableware Today’ magazine and remained spinning articles on merchandising for 15 years. So many times, [former Art History Professor] Sr. Magdalen’s voice would play in my head: ‘when you go to the Uffizi in Florence, you will see the…’ And there I did. Everywhere in the world I went, I would make sure to see a treasured art collection who's slides I had seen in her classroom.”
After 9/11, 2001, travel became difficult so Ed worked closer to home for Lifetime Brands on Long Island (which manufactured and developed Pfaltzgraff, Mikasa, Kitchen Aid, Calvin Klein, Joseph Abboud and Sasaki dinnerware, flatware and Crystal.) He moved on to a display position at Simon Pearce, the Vermont-based hand-crafted glass and pottery manufacturer.
“To see things crafted by hand was exhilarating,” says Lent. “I soon became curator to the line, in the form of Integration Manager for product development while also directing the visual merchandising of their stores on the east coast.
“It was fantastic to see skilled American artists crafting their art and to be in pottery and glass blowing studios developing new products with artisan techniques. It's a strange sort of thrill to think that design influences taken from historic art influences are appreciated by American consumers who also appreciate authentic and hand-crafted products made in America.”
Now retired, Ed lives in Norwalk, Connecticut, where he continues to create and collect art. "Living well is the best creative statement," says Lent. "I now look upon an ocean of design exploration combining all the skills and talents I've enjoyed most throughout my ship of life. Nazareth, I believe is responsible for hoisting those sails."