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New Business Brings Digital Arts Experience To White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Victoria Stangarone has been a student intern over the last two months for the Digital Arts Experience, a new White Plains business that offers teens, adults and businesses a place to learn how to put digital media to practical use.

Teens such as Stangarone, a senior at White Plains High School, will learn more about graphic design and computer illustration, among other areas of study, by working on actual projects, said Rob Kissner, president and founder of the DAE .

"We want to make digital arts available to anybody," Kissner said. "Rather than them doing some generic graphic design project, they're going to actually be able to participate in a real project, which is great."

Whether it is designing a new menu for a local restaurant or filming a video for a musician, the projects at the DAE will make it a hub for locals interested in digital arts, Kissner said. Instruction will focus on setting a foundation during a two-week summer session for teens in July. But the goal is to collaborate among areas of study as the program, and its students, progress.

For teens, areas of study include digital video, digital audio, photography, animation and web design; for adults, they include general digital arts, personal technologies and small business solutions.

"We're going to offer the ability to do projects that incorporate every piece of the puzzle," Kissner said.

In this model, some students may help a band film and create a music video, others will create promotional photos, while others build a website, and still others record a three-song demo. The DAE has formed a partnership with the Music Conservatory of Westchester, which Kissner said wants to use its space on 170 Hamilton Ave. for live performances this summer.

"That's going to really blur the lines of the areas we teach," he said.

Thursday, the DAE hosted live performances by local rock bands, along with the Music Conservatory of Westchester's teen jazz band.

For adults and small businesses, the DAE will how to take better advantage of available technology, such as iPhone apps.

"We'll be designing custom curriculum to meet individuals' needs," Kissner said. "Let's say you're a local business and you wanted to learn how to manage your own website; we would develop a curriculum specifically to what you're trying to achieve, whether it be e-commerce or search engine optimization."

The two-week summer sessions for teens will run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning in July. During the fall and spring, after-school sessions will last 15 weeks. Programs for adults are open-ended.

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