Nossi College of Art Year-End Review And Highlights

Nossi college of art founders

“We remain dedicated to being the first choice for creative students across the Southeast.”

– Cyrus Vatandoost, Nossi College of Art’s Executive Vice President.

Left: Daniela Vatandoost, Ms. Nossi Vatandoost, Cyrus Vatandoost during 2019 Graduation Ceremony.

A Message to the Nossi Family

We have encountered an unprecedented year, but one that allowed us to create new ways to support our students and deepen Nossi College’s impact locally as well as across the Southeast. After years of shifting to technology-based programs to meet the needs of the creative industries, we were able to pivot to virtual instruction when the pandemic began in early 2020. We continue with both online and offline educational opportunities to maintain a high-level of creative instruction for both students and alumni.

We wanted to share a few of the most exciting moments from 2020 as we near the end of the year. Most importantly, we want to thank you for your continued support and commitment to making Nossi the leading private art college for aspiring creative professionals.

Please continue reading for highlights, alumni we’re proud to call our own, and what we’re looking forward to in 2021.


Cyrus Vatandoost
Executive Vice President

Adapting for Students | Introducing Culinary Arts | Faculty Highlights | Alumni Highlights | A Look into 2021 | Interact with Nossi College

We Made an Impact

Nossi madison rivergate

Nossi College was named 2019 Business of the Year in the January 2020 Annual Award Ceremony and celebration by the Madison Rivergate Chamber of Commerce! We’ve loved being part of the chamber for the past several years and appreciate this honor in our community.

Learn about becoming a Madison Rivergate Chamber Member today.

Nossi Illustration Ranking in Tennessee and the South

Our Commercial Illustration program was ranked #1 in Tennessee and #3 in the Southeast by Animation Career Reviews. To be included in their rankings, Animation Career Review evaluates criteria such as academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth of the program and overall value. We’re so proud of our staff, students & partners, and want to give a giant ‘thank you’ to our program coordinator, Mark Fleming.

View the ranking and additional details.

Nossi College of Art Donations

We know this has been a difficult year for many in our community. On behalf of our entire team, we made a donation to two, local nonprofits this holiday season: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and the Martha O’Bryan Center.

Learn more about both of these great non-profits and consider donating if you are able to this year.


We Quickly Adapted to Support Our Students

Nossi college virtual graduation

Although the pandemic necessitated social distancing, we kept the recognition of our students a top priority. This year’s graduates worked extremely hard to earn their degrees and give back to the community. To properly congratulate them while staying safe, we hosted an outdoor, drive-in commencement ceremony. We even broadcasted it over Zoom so family and friends could tune in and celebrate!

Watch the graduation ceremony highlights on YouTube!

Nossi college coronavirus safety procedures

As the pandemic continued, we worked diligently to secure funding for our students during this difficult year. Thanks to our team’s work, we received over $300,000 in grant proceeds from the CARES Act that we distributed directly back to our students!

Dave Damman buntin group event

Additionally, Career Services Department began the virtual State of the Arts series, which gives alumni and students an opportunity to hear from local creative professionals about the hiring, internship, and freelance market in the Greater Nashville area, especially in relation to COVID-19.

Join us on January 14 at 1 pm for our next event with Dave Damman of The Buntin Group. Please RSVP in advance for this virtual event.


We Launched an Exciting New Culinary Arts Program

Chef Anthony Mandriota

While other schools limited program offerings and expansion this year, we were thrilled to announce the launch of our new culinary degree program: a two-year associate’s degree led by award-winning ACF Certified Chef Anthony Mandriota.

We’re beyond excited to welcome Chef Anthony Mandriota to our team and can’t wait for him to share his 40 years of experience with our students.

Read more about Chef Anthony and what he brings to Nossi’s newest program.

Nossi college culinary degree

We renovated part of our existing building into a professional culinary kitchen for students to gain hands-on experience while working with a variety of high-quality, fresh, local, and international ingredients. Get more information and read through our frequently asked questions about our Culinary Program.


We Continue to Have the Best Staff

Mark Mabry Nossi

This year, we welcomed Mark Mabry, MFA, ED.D to our team. He is responsible for running our Graphic Design degree program as the department chair. Beyond his role as an educator, Mark is an award-winning designer with 20 years of design experience – ten of which were spent as the Art Director for two separate organizations. We’re grateful for Mark’s input and expertise on our Graphic Design and Web & Interactive programs!

Explore Nossi’s Graphic Design Program

Steve LaSuer Nossi

We’ve been exceptionally lucky to call Steve LaSuer a faculty member at Nossi for over 25 years, and we’re so grateful for his time and dedication to our school. This is his last year at Nossi College before retiring, and we want to thank him for his many years of service.

He taught a variety of classes, including typography, graphic design, anatomy, figure drawing, and design composition, and many of our students begin their journey at Nossi with Steve. He has been an admired educator here and will be greatly missed!

The faculty are influential to what we do here at Nossi College of Art, and we are proud of these creative professionals. View all faculty here.


Our Alumni Excelled

We’re always amazed by the talents and accomplishments of our alumni, and this past year was no different. Below are a few of our proud moments from this year!

Mary Lee Palmer photography

Our photo alumna Mary Lee Palmer was featured in VoyageATL for her amazing photography skills.

Read VoyageATL’s full feature.

Danielle Duer Illustration

We love seeing the dreams and goals of our grads come true, and that happened this year for Danielle Duer. In collaboration with ArtPop Street Gallery and Blackbird Media, she got to highlight her fierce artistic style on a West End billboard, which paid tribute to our healthcare heroes during COVID-19.

Learn more about this collab with ArtPop Street Gallery.

More to Life Movie

Looking for something to add to your queue during these colder months? How about watching a film written and directed by Nossi alum Joseph Ebanks? Follow the journey of Sean Foster, a second-generation hustler with hopes of leaving the street life, in this coming-of-age drama.

Watch the movie trailer

Kevin Steward Illustration

Nossi illustration grad Kevin Steward created a collection of comic illustrations and is making them available for purchase! View comics, clothing, stickers, tech accessories and more.

Shop Kevin’s online store.

Tyler Earles Graphic Design

Congrats to alumnus Tyler Earles! He celebrated his one-year anniversary in October working as a graphic designer for the Memphis Grizzlies. Over the years, Tyler designed for a number of sports teams across Tennessee.

See more of Tyler’s creative work.


A Look to 2021

As we look to the future and a new year, we have exciting news on the horizon. We have officially begun accepting applications for our new culinary degree program. Our kitchen will be ready to tour in January 2021. Want to schedule a tour in advance, you can do so here. Our first group will be limited to just 35 students, so apply now to save your spot!

nossi college student housing

In partnership with Samaroo Development, we’re building new student housing right across the street from our campus hub! These apartments are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2021 with the goal of students being moved in for the fall semester.

Get updates on student housing.

This student housing will shorten our students’ commute time and will build an even tighter community. Construction crews are out daily and as of December 10, they have begun pouring the foundation.

We’re also delighted to announce that our Associate of Occupational Studies in Commercial Digital Photography will be moving to a fully online degree in 2022. The move online will expand access to those interested in professional photography regardless of their geography.

Our growth and impact over the past year could not have happened without your support. We’re grateful for a successful year amid continuous change, and we look forward to advancing the Nashville and Southeast creative communities in 2021. Consider staying connected with us all year on social media.


Interacting with Nossi

We invite you to engage with our art college anytime throughout the year. From highlighting student and alumni successes to showcasing faculty leadership, we are proud of our community and their commitment to the creative economy. Here are several ways you can interact with Nossi College of Art.

➡️ Interested in Applying
📧 Professional Newsletter Signup – Nossi Notes!
📧 Alumni Newsletter Signup

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