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.


Announcing New Thomas F. and Tess L. Schutte Endowed Scholarship Fund

This video screened at Legends 2013 during the presentation of the Thomas F. and Tess L. Schutte Endowed Scholarship Fund.

This year marks President Thomas F. Schutte’s twentieth anniversary at the helm of Pratt Institute—a fact that, much to his surprise, defined this year’s Legends 2013 Gala on November 11.

Early in the evening, Trustee Emeritus Bruce Newman announced that all the proceeds from the evening, nearly $800,000, would be dedicated to a new fund named after Schutte and his wife Tess. The couple learned the news along with the rest of the crowd. 

“When I think of Tom Schutte, I think of three words: energy, passion, and dedication. No one has more energy than Tom; no one has more passion for Pratt than Tom; and no one is more dedicated to Pratt than Tom,” Trustee Emeritus Bruce M. Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53) said in a video shared at the event.

Trustees Robert H. Siegel and Mike Pratt explained that the president’s vision and efforts had ushered the Institute into a new era. As chair of the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project, Schutte helped oversee the economic resurgence of Myrtle Avenue, the largest commercial corridor by Pratt’s Brooklyn campus. He also led the acquisition of the Pratt Manhattan Campus building on 14th Street and expanded on-campus housing, transforming Pratt from a commuter school to one that attracts students from all over the world.

All of the proceeds from the evening will go toward the fund, which will also accept tax-deductible contributions through the Pratt Website.

Text: Ruth Samuelson
Video: Peter Tannenbaum


See Winners of Communications Design’s Halloween Party Costume Contest

The Undergraduate Communications Design Department hosted its 10th Annual Halloween Party on October 31. The event included several related contests, including one for costumes with a series of prizes: Stephen Isban (B.A. Fashion, ’15) won the top $500 cash award for "Most Original Costume." Other winners received $300 and $250 prizes.


Panelists Discuss How Artist Alexis Rockman’s Watercolors Inspired Life of Pi

How can film producers reintroduce a handmade quality to 3-D commercial film? That was the topic tackled in “The Art Behind Life of Pi,” a panel discussion held in Memorial Hall on October 29.

The conversation focused on how artist Alexis Rockman’s aquatic and naturalistic watercolors influenced the Life of Pi, the 2012 film that won four Academy Awards, including one for cinematography and one for visual effects. Earlier this fall, Rockman’s pieces were on display at The Drawing Center, an artistic and educational institution in Manhattan.

Aside from Rockman, the panel included Jean-Christophe Castelli, Life of Pi associate producer, Brett Littman, executive director of The Drawing Center, and moderator Leighton Pierce, acting dean of Pratt Institute’s School of Art & Design.

The panel discussed the challenge of transforming what began as a literary work into illustrations and then into film. “We wanted to maintain the rich abstractness of the pictures,” said associate producer Castelli, who knew Rockman prior to Life of Pi. “With digital effects, we wanted to maintain the effect of the blooming of watercolors when we could.”

Rockman’s images influenced many of the film’s visual sequences, including one in which both Pi and the tiger, Richard Parker, peer into the ocean and experience a shared hallucinatory descent constructed from elements of translucent, transforming sea life.

During the panel, Littman scrolled through production images and concept art that helped inspire the look and sets of Life of Pi, some of which could be seen at The Drawing Center show. “The abstraction of the illustrations was an inspiration for the exhibition,” Littman said. “Taking abstract watercolors and turning that into film, it reveals every layer of the creative process.”

Rockman also provided encouraging words for aspiring artists: “As a kid, I wanted to do my version of King Kong. As a painter, you can do your own iconography and get paid for it.”

Rockman is currently working on the film Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

“Boats, animals, and despair seem to be right up my alley,” he said.

Text: James Anaipakos
Images: Courtesy of The Drawing Center


Drawing Democracies Event Draws Crowds to Brooklyn Campus

What activity unifies all visual artists and designers? They draw.

To celebrate this universal act, both current students and local families participated in Drawing Democracies, a daylong event featuring a broad array of drawing-related activities on Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus on October 19.

Drawing Democracies kicked off with Drawing Conversations, a gathering hosted by The Drawing Center, in which participants sat down for two-minute rotating conversations with artists, curators, students, and educators to explore the significance of drawing.

Several gatherings also sought to draw neighborhood youngsters to campus with a kid-friendly focus. Children of all ages were invited to participate in a site-specific installation, stop-motion animation, and screen-printing projects. Many had come to Pratt for the Department of Art and Design Education’s regular Saturday Art School and opted to remain on campus for more fun. Some attendees stuck around to draw Dance Theatre of Harlem dancers as they rehearsed across from the Engineering Quadrangle. Organizations like The Drawing Center and Art21 also co-hosted other events.

The event was coordinated by Pratt Institute’s Fine Arts, Foundation, and Art and Design Education Departments and The Drawing Club.