While some Scarsdale High School alumni come home to live rent-free with the folks, Robert Kissner, a 2006 graduate of Scarsdale High School, returned to this area with a much bigger idea. Kissner had spent time working in the music business and managed a recording studio in Long Island – he also did computer training and worked at the genius bar at the Apple Store.
He saw a need for digital training, for both kids and adults, and noticed that courses in video and audio production, animation, graphic design and digital skills were not readily available under one roof in Southern Westchester. He spent a few years doing market research, writing a business plan and scouting out potential locations for his new facility, The Digital Arts Experience, (DAE), and found the perfect site on Hamilton Avenue in White Plains. In addition to 8,000 square feet of light, built out space, the building even offered parking.
After much planning, the state-of-the-art facility opened this summer and now provides a “one of a kind environment where students will learn and develop skills with personal computers and cutting edge digital arts technologies.”
We toured the DAE and were wowed by what we saw. The site is inviting … designed in bold colors and featuring many workspaces, classrooms and studios. There’s a full recording studio that soloists or bands can use to cut a track --- and another photo studio perfect for shooting stills or video. These facilities are used for classes in audio and video production which are available for kids ages 11 and up and adults. Then there are the computers – eight rooms of Mac desktops where classes are offered in graphic design, computer illustration, digital photography, and web design.
Class offerings are extensive – and can be tailored to meet your needs. For those who need to get up to speed on using the computer, the DAE will teach you how to use Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook – as well as Quicken for banking, Evernote to organize your life and Dropbox and “the cloud.”
More sophisticated teens and adults will find much to enjoy. Here are just a few of the classes that are offered:
- Video: Editing with iMovie: take your home movie footage and turn it into an entertaining home movie.
- Design: Learn to design your own print or web brochures and ads using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
- Web Design: Create your own website, blog or e-commerce site and promote it with social media.
- Photo Restoration: Now even the oldest of photographs can last forever. This course covers how to digitize and restore old prints in Adobe Photoshop.
- Photographing Items for Sale: Bring products you wish to sell to their photo studio and learn to shoot them with proper backgrounds and lighting.
- Animation: Develop a character from concept to completion and create comic illustrations.
In addition to classes, The DAE is hosting networking events. On October 10th at 6:00 pm there will be one on Cause Marketing and technology’s role in fundraising for not-profits. Larchmont’s Holly Fink, The Culture Mom, is the featured guest speaker along with brand marketing specialist James Higgins and Jon Chattman, Director of Communications at the Music Conservatory of Westchester. The event is free and open to the public.
Plus, the large central room at the Digital Arts Experience is available for large group gatherings. It has already been the scene of a battle of the bands and business networking events and can be rented for parties, shows and other gatherings.
Check out the versatile Digital Arts Experience in White Plains and let us know what you learn!