(Photo: courtesy of Terence Nelson)
ANITA PRIEST 1918-2006
Anita Priest was born & educated in New York during the Depression.
She overcame many obstacles in her life and was one of the first women
to volunteer and join our country’s Women’s Army Corp. She
served four years as an Officer in the WACS during WW11.
Her flair for design came from her grandfather who designed costumes
for the famous Flo Ziegfeld, her Mother modeled his creations.
She attended New York’s New School for Social research, took
courses at the Chicago and New York schools of Design and also spent
a summer studying at the Sorbonne in France.
In the 1950’s she moved to Miami, Florida where her Interior Decorating
career began. She was an in-house designer at first and then branched
out to open her own business. Her studio & accessory shop was in
Bay Harbor and called Accent’s Unlimited.
She was way ahead of her time and had many clients including Judges,
Politicians, Celebrities and local Notables. The famous Architect Maurice
Lapidus wanted her on his team, but she had bigger ideas.
In 1962, she founded the School for Interior Decoration and Design and
opened her first school on Miami’s famous Decorator’s Row.
Soon after came a second school in Fort Lauderdale.
Her mission in life was to help others. Many of her students went on
to be well known designer’s in their own right. She changed the
lives of many!
Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Priest was included in Who’s
Who of American Women, Who’s who of Florida Women and Barron’s
International Edition of Who’s Who in Interior Design. In 1994
she was recognized as Woman of the Year by the Gay community with a
She was a past President of what is now ASID and pioneered many professional
Besides teaching at her own school she also taught at Miami-Dade Community
College, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami.
Her thriving design career spanned over forty years. She created many
memorable and prestigious spaces, private homes, famous restaurants,
clubs and condominiums including models for local well known builders.
When she retired she continued to lecture at various institutions and
was a frequent guest lecturer for Cunard Steamship Line.
Anita’s amazing zest for life came to an end in 2008.
She may be gone but her legacy lives on in all of those she touched
with her wit and wisdom.
She was greatly loved and would be so honored knowing that her Scholarship
will help a talented, passionate student in design and the Arts realize
their dream as she did hers.
Born & educated in London, England. Sandra Holiday has been a resident
of the USA since 1974.
Trained as a Professional Championship Ballroom & Latin American
dancer, Sandra taught dance in London for 10 years as well as performing
with her dance partner Geoffrey Clapham on cruise ships based in New
York. After returning to London, her career brought her back to the
USA where she continued teaching.
In 1985 while living in South Florida she partnered with Anita Priest
both personally & professionally.
For 23 years Sandra was the project manager for the Anita Priest Interior
Design Co. and the Administrator for her successful school for Interior
Decoration & Design.
Sandra established the ANITA PRIEST “Whispering Angels”
Memorial Scholarship Foundation, a legacy scholarship in memory &
honor of her.
Anita’s mission in life was to help people, as she had overcome
so much in her life.
Sandra has a dream that one day she will be able to help more members
of the LGBT community continue and to advance their dreams in the Design
& Arts fields.
The possibilities are endless.
All we need is support.