Alaiyo Bradshaw

I encounter Nathan Bond’s self-portrait frequently when entering the main office on the 9th floor of 2 W. 13th St. Nathan is a painter with a successful career. A part-time faculty member at Parsons since 2002, Nathan and his wife Elisa were diagnosed with different forms of cancer within days of each other in 2011. They were only in their 30s.

To raise money for health costs, the couple created a blog initially for family and friends. Their story was written up in The New York Times and the couple appeared on the Today show. When the story went viral, public support poured in for Nathan, Elisa and their young daughter Sadie. They received more financial help as they went through their chemotherapy together. The blog and Facebook pages continue to be updated and religiously supported and followed by friends and family. Several of those friends, who were from Parsons, participated in fundraising and support. It brought so many of us together in a way nothing else could.

The School of Design Strategies arranged the purchase of this portrait to support the artist and his family as they deal with the tragedy. It delights me to know that the Dean’s office and the university made this kind of contribution to the Bond family. Nathan lost his wife in March 2014 but he continues his life in a positive way as he cares for his daughter Sadie and creates his beautiful life-size images.

Do we need illness or tragedy to make us value people in our midst?

Have you felt that sense of solidarity that comes from acting in support of a colleague?

Will this story prompt you to seek out this portrait?

—Alaiyo Bradshaw

Faculty, Parsons The New School for Design