This proposed new ‘Education in the Arts’ organization is a new exciting educational experience for national and international students. It offers experiences in the real world much like a valuable internship but the program is ‘student oriented’ and the results, testable. Not all students learn well in a classroom setting. They all learn by doing. In this environment they also learn work place skills.
Students are embedded inside a working 16,000 sq. ft. Fashion Design and Manufacturing Company with national wholesale distribution through 500 independent boutiques, and direct on-line sales. ManneqART.org ‘Sculpture on the Human Form’, an Education in the Arts organization operates out of the same building and encourages the involvement of MDFin students.
Students may find a specific area of interest early on and focus on it for their future career, however we strongly recommend the full range of experiences initially. After-hours studio time will be available for more in-depth design work.
An awareness of the interconnectedness of each step in the process makes for a better designer, a better customer service director, a better financial manager, and most importantly, a better future leader.
We are excited to offer this potential asset to the Fashion Industry in general and specifically to the community of Howard County.
– Lee Andersen
Lee is a nationally recognized Fashion and Art Clothing designer and manufacturer.
Her education at Palmerston Teacher College included studio time in Photography, Drawing, Painting, Wood Carving, Sculpture, Ceramics, multiple forms of Fiber arts, and multiple forms of Printmaking. Her thesis was on the relationship between Craft, Design, Fashion, and Art. At Massey University in New Zealand Lee passed 10 papers in a 21 paper Bachelor of Education degree in one year, an unusual feat! At 21 years of age, she was the stand-in for the Head of the Art Department at the Teachers College while he was on sabbatical for three months. The rationale was that she would end up in that seat eventually and might as well try it out.
She exhibited successfully as a mixed media painter and a ceramic artist and also added extra craft skills to her extensive list.
She followed with five years practical teaching experience as, by her own admission, she felt Teachers of Teachers should have practical classroom experience.
Her special affinity for challenging gifted and talented students lead her to explore cryptic crosswords, stage shows, and stop action film production with them.
At 25, when her then husband, an accountant, was transferred, she began her second career as a volunteer in a small craft gallery in Wellington, New Zealand. She knitted crazy creative ‘jerseys’ while she thought about what she should try next. Within three years she had 100 knitters working from her original knit kits and original drawing and paintings. Her boutique full of original knitted artworks, grew into a stopping place for international shoppers including members of the royal families from several countries.
Her joint exhibit of Fiber Art at a major gallery/museum in NZ. Was visited by an estimated 25,000 people. At the age of 28, and in three months, she wrote her first book, ‘You Knit Unique‘. An initial print run of 5000 copies, printed by the NZ Wool Board sold out in three months. She traveled extensively sharing her knowledge and tilling the fertile imaginations of the Kiwis. The beginning of the well-respected World of Wearable Art (WOW) began to form in New Zealand at that time.
At 30, an invitation to teach here in the US resulted in a meeting Al Scolnik, a change of countries, four more knitwear design books, and the beginning of a new career.
Her transition into sewn art clothing resulted in 200 designs per year being produced for over 500 boutiques carrying her label and the development of one of the few remaining fashion design and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Andersen-Becker Inc is a fully staffed company managed by her long time business partner Joan Becker.
Four years ago, while continuing to design for her business and noticing WOW had not yet arrived in the U.S., Lee decided to encourage the development of a version here.
Using the concept of Manic Mannequins she formed a 501c3 for Education in the Arts, called ManneqART: Sculpture on the Human Form with a mission to ‘Inspire Creativity and Reward Excellence in the field of Wearable Art.’
Over 200 life-sized artworks have been created by artists around the U.S. and exhibited in Howard County. $30,000 in Awards have been given to aspiring and experienced artists, and photographs of the artworks are assembled in a colorful glossy calendar each year. Lee’s kind and understanding husband, Al Scolnik, a retired trade association executive, run ManneqART on a purely volunteer basis.
In December 2016, Lee and the board of ManneqART held a soft opening for the ManneqART Museum, a 2000 sq ft gallery space with 50 artworks on permanent display.
The logical next step is to share her passion and knowledge with the next generation. While keeping Andersen-Becker Inc. as a fully functioning business and ManneqART as an Inspiring home for artists exploring a new art form, Lee is developing a new television series on the transformation of ManneqART artworks into accessible fashion and has formed a new type of Experiential Fashion School, the Maryland Fashion Institute (MDFin).