In this interview conducted by Wendy Scheir, Mike Palumbo discusses his life and professional growth to become the Senior Office Assistant in Parsons School of Art, Media, and Technology. Palumbo recounts his childhood and adolescence in the Italian-American family and community of Cranston, Rhode Island, where he was raised by his mother. Palumbo considers how his early experiences fostered a love of visual art, a passion that developed into an artistic practice through training in fine arts education at the University of Rhode Island and the Pratt Institute. Seeking work that would allow him to continue making art, Palumbo began working in the bookstore and, later, the accounting office of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Palumbo talks about his move from the Met to the Financial Aid Office at The New School, and the impact that this work environment had on his life and art.
Palumbo recounts that by 2001 his artistic practice had been overwhelmed by overtime duties at The New School, and he found a way to regain art-job balance by accepting a position as Senior Office Assistant in the Parsons School of Design Fine Arts program. This job allowed Palumbo to work with fine arts students, and to continue to develop his own aesthetic.
Palumbo also considers the impact the appointment of Coco Fusco as Chair had on the culture of the Parsons Fine Arts program, particularly the aesthetic, personal, and generational difference between her and former Chair Don Porcaro.
The interview ends with Palumbo describing his current tree-planting landscape art project, his thoughts on his life in art and arts education, the history and state of Parsons and The New School, and his plans for the future.