Summer Centered: Elana Kates ’19 Designs Up a Storm
The fine arts and history of art double major is interning at New York architecture firm CetraRuddy, thanks to funding from the Hurford Center.
Artist Elana Kates already dabbles in printmaking, photography, sculpture, and collage, and she chose to branch out even further this summer with an internship in the interior design and marketing departments of award-winning architecture firm CetraRuddy. Based in New York, CetraRuddy has worked on some of the city’s most well-known skyline sights: the “One Madison” building, the Walker Tower, the Lincoln Square Synagogue. Appropriately enough, its own offices are beautiful: Kates is treated to the sight of Battery Park’s waterfront promenade each time she comes to work.
“I [even] have a super-clear view of the Statue of Liberty from my desk,” she enthuses.
Now a fine arts and history of art double major, Kates entered her sophomore year with a very different academic trajectory in mind: she was “set on the growth and structure of cities track.” While she eventually dropped that idea after “realizing [she] was more passionate about art,” she still retains an affection for all things architectural.
“My art historical interests and creative interests—I have a really long-standing interest in architectural photography—are both very much related to the urban environment and urban forms,” says Kates. “I really enjoy the myriad intersections between urban studies, art history, and studio art.”
Thanks to funding from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, she had the means to explore them further at CetraRuddy this summer. When not “updating and reformatting firm portfolios” for the marketing department, she was across the floor with the interior design department, where her responsiblities generally made more use of her artistic eye.
“Recently, I helped my supervisor furnish model apartments in a brand new building the firm recently completed,” Kates says. “This can be fun because each apartment is created around a different personality. When I worked on this project I did a lot of picking out furniture online, based on apartment 'identities,’ [as well as] making mood boards.”
It’s good practice for a career in the field—which is what the multi-year Music and Arts House resident has her sights set on currently, describing the interior design industry as “embodying the breadth of my academic interests.”
“I like the idea of working on interiors for cultural institutions and I really like the idea of working in exhibition design,” Kates says. “A big part of the design field is the value placed on aesthetics, and—as a really visual person—this element works to my strengths.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.