About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Library Science Students Launch Digital Public Library of America Exhibition

On March 5, an exhibition created by three Pratt students in the School of Information and Library Science went on display at the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The virtual exhibition, titled The Show Must Go On! American Theater in the Great Depression, was created by Kathleen Dowling (M.S.L.I.S. ‘15), Laura Marte Piccini, (M.S.L.I.S. ‘15), and Matthew Schofield (M.S.L.I.S. ‘15) in Assistant Professor Anthony Cocciolo’s “Projects in Digital Archives” course.

The Show Must Go On! was made as part of the DPLA’s Digital Curation Project, a pilot program in which graduate students from four library and information science schools envisioned and curated their own exhibitions over the course of a semester. The students were required to find an exhibition theme that would be well represented in DPLA's collection—which includes more than 5.7 million items from over 1,100 institutions—and that would also have national significance in terms of American history and heritage.

Motivated by an interest in the performing arts, the students chose to explore the enormous impact that the Great Depression had on American theater, including the Federal Theater project that provided work to unemployed artists and left a legacy of innovative productions and ideas that altered the landscape of post-Depression-era American theater.

The “Projects in Digital Archives” course gives students the chance to learn how to create a digital archive and practice implementing it with a partner institution or collection. The DPLA project provided them with real-world experience in using digital resources and navigating issues such as metadata and copyright—important skills for today’s information and library science professionals.

 “Students had the opportunity to practice archival outreach through this digital curation project in collaboration with DPLA. They had a lot of fun putting together their exhibition,” said Cocciolo.

The University of Denver, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Washington were the other library school programs that participated in the project.

The Show Must Go On: American Theater in the Great Depression may be viewed here.

Text: Marion Hammon


Architectural Design Studio Pre-College Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Professor Brent Porter in the Architectural Design Studio class.There is one thing that a building design and a practicing architect both need in order to be successful: a strong foundation.

For twenty years, Professor Brent Porter has devoted his Saturday afternoons to teaching the Institute’s pre-college “Architectural Design Studio” class, giving countless high-school students essential basic skills that they need to enroll in a college architecture program and prepare for a professional career in the field.

For many of the students, the pre-college program on the Manhattan campus becomes just the first step in their education at Pratt Institute. “25 to 33 percent of our Saturday students enroll in the School of Architecture, choosing Pratt Institute over several other programs,” Porter says.

If the pre-college “Introduction to Architecture” class is where students learn to “speak” architecture, as Porter explains it, the “Design Studio” class is where they learn to “do” architecture by using hand drawings and physical models to solve design problems.

One typical project is to design a greenhouse for the penthouse of the building across the street from the Pratt Manhattan Center. Porter tries to simulate a real-world experience as much as possible. He gives students an actual plan of the penthouse roof and encourages them to do work in class as if they were associates in an actual design studio. He takes the students on a field trip to the Brooklyn campus, where they can test their models in the lighting lab to simulate lighting at different times of the day or year. 

High-school student Ciara Long-Corley works on her greenhouse model.Students leave the class with a fully developed architectural model and material that they can use in their portfolio when they apply for college.

Porter, who teaches in the School of Architecture and is now in his 41st year at Pratt, has seen a number of changes in his students and their work over the years. “Students are more sophisticated now. Young people have traveled more and they have experienced more architecture than in the past,” he explains.

 When asked what motivates him to keep teaching the “Design Studio” class, Porter doesn’t hesitate. “The designs just keep getting better and better,” he says with a smile.

Text: Marion Hammon
Photos: Nika DeCarlo


Pratt Hits Prime Time in The Carrie Diaries and Switched at Birth

Remember when Pam Beesly of NBC’s hit show The Office temporarily ditched her day job to study graphic design at Pratt Institute a few years ago? Then there was April, the Institute architecture student diagnosed with lymphoma in 2009 on the HBO series In Treatment, which starred Gabriel Byrne.

Now Pratt has returned to the TV screen to play a cameo role in the plotlines of two other prime time shows, Switched at Birth and The Carrie Diaries.

ABC Family’s Switched at Birth features two teenage girls, Bay and Daphne, who were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. In Season Three, which is still airing, Bay hopes to attend Pratt and has been doing her best to ensure the success of her application. In a recent episode she met with a Pratt recruiter (fictional, of course) who advised, “You should definitely include that [you play field hockey] in your application. It’s those sorts of activities that will really make you stand out.” How well that advice will play out for Bay, however, still remains to be seen.

On the CW’s The Carrie Diaries, which tracks the pre-Sex and the City adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and her high-school friends, the recent season finale featured the happy news that Carrie’s friend Walt was accepted to Pratt. If The Carrie Diaries returns for a third season, perhaps Walt will lure Carrie away from Manhattan to visit the Brooklyn campus. Who knows? Maybe the Pratt Fashion Show will give Carrie a chance to indulge her legendary passion for fashion. Stay tuned.

Text: Marion Hammon


Call for Submissions: Prattfolio’s Good Design Issue

Part of Pratt Institute’s mission is to educate artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society. Focusing on the theme of good design, the Fall 2014 issue of Prattfolio will examine the impact that design, including architecture and art, can have by providing innovative solutions to social problems as well as individual challenges. Are you—working independently or as part of a team—designing or creating products, environments, or systems that improve the lives of others? Do you know a Pratt graduate, faculty member, or student who is? If so, the Prattfolio editorial team would love to hear about it. Please send ideas, leads, and/or descriptions of projects and high resolution images (300 dpi and 2400 pixels wide) of work to prattfolio@pratt.edu.

Every submission will be considered, although we unfortunately cannot publish each one.


New York Design Week: How Are You Participating?

New York Design Week 2014 is coming in May. We would like to hear from students, faculty, and/or staff who are participating in NYCxDESIGN, which includes Art + Design New YorkCollective Design Fair, Frieze New York, BKLYN Designs, ICFF, and WantedDesign NYC. Let us know how you are participating in this very important week of industry events. Please email insidepratt@pratt.edu with information about your plans and involvement in any of these events.