Possible Future Dean Not Wowed By Teen's Piano Stunt

Nicholas Harrington planned to include piano bar project in his application to Cooper Union, but the school is unimpressed

By Janie Campbell
|  Saturday, Jan 29, 2011  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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Colored resume paper, wacky fonts, a Duchampian stunt of national interest: what does a kid have to do to make his college application stand out? 

Shockingly, only the first two are apparently preferred by one of one art school deans. The head of admissions at the New York City school to which he plans to apply says Nicholas Harrington, the 16-year-old Miami student who created a sensation by leaving a baby grand piano on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay, failed to earn any brownie points with his now-famous "whimsical, surreal" statement.

"There are lots of ways to grab our attention, and that's not one we would necessarily condone," Dean Mitchell Lipton of Cooper Union told the New York Daily News. "I certainly wouldn't look at that application more favorably [than others]."

Ouch.

Harrington, a junior at MAST Academy, placed the piano on the high point of a sandbar 200 yards off the Quayside condominiums after it was burned during a New Year's celebration. He said he planned to keep his identity a secret save for submitting photos and videos of the project on his application to Cooper Union, but decided to come forward when another artist publicly took credit.

"I never thought it would get so much publicity, but I am glad it did," said Harrington, who claims the piano belonged to his grandmother. "People love a mystery."

Everyone, that is, but Dean Lipton, who suggested Harrington would be better served making himself stand out "within the context of [the application to the school]."

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