Iandry Randriamandroso ’04C
Alumnus Uses Art to Enhance Urban Life
Community artist Iandry Randriamandroso ’04C came to St. John’s University in search of academic opportunities he could not find in his native Madagascar. Today, he credits SJU with preparing him for a career that allows him to practice his craft while helping to beautify urban landscapes.
Randriamandroso has earned media attention for his efforts to engage Baltimore residents in neighborhood art projects. Last year, he teamed up with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts and the 1% for Public Art Program to create the Bmore Birds Project. The effort involves a series of public murals depicting local birds. Randriamandroso engaged local residents and community partners in the work.
He also joined “[email protected],” a five-week summer employment program managed by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts and Jubilee Arts. Over the course of five weeks, he taught nine high school students the process of mural making.
It is the kind of career Randriamandroso imagined when he enrolled at St. John’s. ”I came to the University because I wanted to learn how to become a professional artist,” he said, “and Madagascar doesn’t have an art school.” At the Queens, NY, campus, he had “unlimited” studio access. “I had the space to work whenever I wanted to. That was important to me—I was the kind of student who learns through observation and hands-on experience.”
Randriamandroso immersed himself in campus life beyond the studios and classrooms. For example, he became a student worker at the Vincentian Center for Church and Society (VCCS), where he illustrated portraits of saints represented on campus, including St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The VCCS used the drawings to promote its work through education and communications materials. He also participated in events organized by fellow art students.
After graduating with a B.F.A. in 2004, Randriamandroso went on to earn a master’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. However, he remained connected to St. John’s and recently shared his experiences with SJU students in a Discover New York class. He designed hands-on activities including the creation of a mural for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Day Care Center in Flushing, Queens.
“I use my artwork as an educational tool,” he said. “I want to facilitate inclusive and hands-on presentations, community arts workshops, art classes, and mural projects in public and private venues.” He added, “My goal is to create art that is accessible to everyone.”