The alumni panelists shared reflections on the role of art in society, their professional accomplishments and missteps, and their experience of the arts at EHS.
“I think that art, like good fashion, serves to inspire people to lead their lives in a way that is about being the best person they can be,” said Bolen.
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ALUMNI PANEL BIOS
Alex Bolen '86 CEO, Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta, LLC., is an international luxury goods firm headquartered in New York City. Bolen, who was named CEO in July 2004 after serving as the company's Director of Corporate Development, joined Oscar de la Renta in January 2003 after a 14-year career on Wall Street focused on leveraged finance, most recently at Bear Stearns & Co., where he was Managing Director in the Mezzanine Capital Group. Alex graduated from Brown University in 1990 with a BA in Russian Studies, magna cum laude. He and his wife, Eliza, who serves as Oscar de la Renta's Executive Vice President, are the proud parents of three boys.
Franklin Boyd '95 Founder, Xipsy
Boyd combines multiple perspectives on the art market:lawyer, art finance and law professor, collector, board member, advisor and entrepreneur. Formerly with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, she currently maintains her own general commercial legal practice and is on the faculty of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the School of Visual Arts. She is a board member of the Shandaken Project and Smartspaces, having previously served on the boards of Art in General and Zero1 in Silicon Valley. She is the founder of Xipsy, a non-siloed art database that facilitates contractual resale rights for artists and galleries. She is the contributing author to “Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Emerging Market”, and is currently working on “Fine Art Finance: A Guide to Extraordinary Figures” which will be published in the spring of 2018. Franklin is a graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, New York University’s School of Law, and, most significantly, is a member of Episcopal High School’s “First 48”.
Hattie Gruber '00 Founder, Kiss the Ring New York
Gruber founded Kiss the Ring New York, a custom jewelry business, in 2010. She began her career in New York with a brief stint in fashion and then made her way to the jewelry world. After spending several years learning gemology and design on the job, she saw an opportunity to start her own business, creating direct access to the New York Diamond District for her network of friends and family. Since then, she has done numerous engagement rings and other custom pieces while also putting on trunk shows up and down the east coast. Staying connected to her Southern roots, she serves as Secretary of the board of the North Carolina Society of New York. Hattie graduated from Washington & Lee University in 2004 with a B.A. in Mass Communications, which comes in handy when thinking up clever Instagram captions and writing biographies of herself in the third person. She lives on the Upper East Side, but travels every chance she gets.
Brett Johnson '08 Designer, Brett Johnson Collection
Brett Johnson is an American luxury designer who hails from Virginia. He was raised in an entrepreneurial family which inspired both his business and creative acumen. His creative journey began during his youth while traveling with his family on annual trips to Europe. It was then that Johnson fell in love with Italy. The ornate architecture, the unique Italian culture, and the sartorial aesthetic served as inspiration for a young man predisposed to make his creative mark on the world. With his mentor, designer Donna Karan – his “Fashion Godmother” as he affectionately refers to her - Johnson launched his eponymous brand, Brett Johnson in 2013.
Mebane works as a photographer for editorial, fine-art, and commercial projects. He is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The Paris Review. A recipient of a J. William Fulbright Fellowship, his work has been widely exhibited. In 2014 he and Martin Hyers published their collaborative monograph, EMPIRE, with the Museum of Contemporary Photography and Daylight Books. William lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Martha and their two boys.
David A. Douglas EHS Faculty
Working at the intersection of drawing, painting and photography, creates large-scale works that explore the power of place. Depicting personally significant landscapes on a monumental scale, Douglas offers the viewer the opportunity to enter his visual world and experience the potency that underlies each moment. Amplifying the inner beauty within the ordinary, Douglas’ works resonate with the intensity of a poem, simply stated yet somehow glowing with life from the inside out. A native of Northern Virginia, Douglas has works in numerous public, private and corporate collections, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Chrysler Museum, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and the Academy Art Museum. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions, including exhibits with Chuck Close, Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Lee Friedlander, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among others.