In 1992, the late Manuel León Ponce founded Design Arts Seminars, Inc. (DAS), in Tallahassee, Florida. Manuel started DAS as a way to serve the continuing education needs of the Florida Interior Design Community, hence our original name: Interior Design Seminars.
At that time, Manuel was the sole instructor for DAS; however, he also served as a professor of Interior Design at Florida State University.
Manuel León Ponce
Manuel, known to his friends as Manny, combined an infectious passion for the field with an insatiable curiosity to create unforgettable learning experiences for students and professionals. His motivation grew out of his childhood dream to discover Europe with a mentor. Unable to fulfill that dream, he designed study abroad programs that afforded professionals the opportunity he never had: Learning from the world's greatest architectural treasures one sight, one sound, one touch, one bite, and one step at a time.
He broke free of the traditional brick and mortar classroom, preferring to use historic cities as “classrooms without walls.” Manny’s study tours were among the first continuing education programs to take groups of professionals abroad. His programs were highly regarded and featured in interior design publications such as Florida Design (Vol.5 and 8 # 3).
In the late 90s, DAS started hiring other practitioners to develop and teach courses in their area of expertise. This is when Interior Design Seminars became Design Arts Seminars.
Since then, we have kept expanding our area of service and diversifying the type of programs we offer, but we remain committed to providing professionals around the country with the quality continuing education programs and the professionalism they have come to expect from us.
Styled with the practitioner in mind, we offer nearly one hundred seminars per year online and in selected cities across the United States. We also offer distance learning and study abroad programs. For those interested in learning more about our founder, here is a link to the remembrance booklet published when Manuel passed away in 2001 after two-year battle with brain cancer.