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.



This fall signals the start of a new three-year project known as M-LEAD-TWO (Museum Library Education and Digitization-Technology, Web, Online), which will offer Pratt School of Library Science (SILS) students tuition scholarships and two-semester internships at the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) with the goal of preparing information professionals for careers in museum libraries and archives in the digital age.

Interns will be mentored by professional staff at these institutions as well as by a project coordinator/resident who is a recent graduate of Pratt-SILS. The students will graduate from SILS with their master's degree and an advanced certificate in museum libraries and will receive stipends for their participation. The project is funded by a $261,967 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Service through the 2012 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

Tula Giannini, dean of Pratt-SILS and project director, stated, "The new project furthers our efforts to prepare students for careers as museum librarians and archivists and also advances a new model for museum library education for the 21st century, incorporating digital collections and services across the museum so that graduates are prepared to meet the challenges of museums in our global networked information environment."

Text: Charlotte Savidge



L to R: Chair of Fine Arts Deborah Bright; Chair of Undergraduate Architecture Erika Hinrichs.Pratt Institute has appointed two new chairs. Deborah Bright, a photographer, art historian, author, and administrator has been named chair of the Department of Fine Arts in the School of Art and Design. Bright's appointment began July 1. Erika Hinrichs, educator and architect, has been named chair of the Undergraduate Architecture program. Hinrichs, who has taught at Pratt since 1998 and served as an administrator in the department since 2009, began her appointment on August 27.

Bright most recently held a joint appointment as professor of photography and history of art/visual culture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where she served as acting dean of fine arts from 2009–2011. Her photographic projects have been exhibited internationally, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Museet for Fotokunst, Copenhagen; Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; and at the Cambridge Darkroom and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her photographs are included in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian; Addison Gallery of American Art; Fogg Art Museum; The Boston Athenaeum; Rose Art Museum; University Art Museum at Binghamton University; California Museum of Photography; and the RISD Museum of Art. She has received numerous grants and awards for her photography and critical writing. Bright edited a groundbreaking collection of images and writings on photography and queer sexualities, The Passionate Camera: Photography and Bodies of Desire (Routledge, 1998), and in 2010 received recognition as Honored Educator of the Year by the Society for Photographic Education.

Hinrichs, who has served the Undergraduate Architecture program as both interim and assistant chair, has taught at all levels of the curriculum. She also was coordinator of Pratt's study abroad program in Rome from 2001–2003.

Professionally, she has practiced in New York City since 1990 and co-founded her own firm, viaArchitecture, with Frederick Biehle in 1997. The firm specializes in smaller scale works and emphasizes "thinking through drawing." Completed projects include a variety of residential, commercial, retail, and institutional structures, mostly in the New York City area.

Prior to founding viaArchitecture, Hinrichs worked with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, where she was responsible for several highly acclaimed projects including the auditorium building for The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, which received a national citation from the American Institute of Architects. She is also an accomplished ballet dancer who was a member of the Andahazy Ballet Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1974–1981.

Last summer, Pratt Institute appointed three new chairs to the School of Art and Design. Julie Miller, an experienced dance/movement and creative arts therapist, social worker, and educator, was named chair of the Creative Arts Therapy department. Dorothea Dietrich, a modernist art historian, academic, author, curator, and administrator, was named chair of the History of Art and Design department. Stephen Hilger, photographer, academic, curator, and administrator, was named chair of the Photography department.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Photos: Jonathan Weitz, Amy Aronoff




Ethan Spigland, associate professor, Humanities and Media Studies, and Pratt alumnus Serban Ionescu (B. Arch. ’07) were among the four co-curators of To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel, a group show held at the Gowanus Ballroom this past summer to explore the urban revival of the Gowanus and the surrounding industrial areas. The show featured the work of nearly 50 artists, among them such art world achievers with Pratt connections as Leonidas Chalepas (M.F.A. ’12), Gerri Davis (Arch.’97–’99), Narek Gevorgian (A.O.S. ’05), Miru Kim (M.F.A. ’06), Rachel Levitsky, associate professor, Humanities and Media Studies, Matthew Pisacano (M.F.A.’12), Duke Riley (M.F.A.’08), Swoon (B.F.A. ’02), Anthony Titus, former faculty, School of Architecture, and Danielle Willems and Ezio Blasetti, visiting instructors, Undergraduate Architecture.  Famed artist Kiki Smith and renowned sculptor Tom Otterness also participated.

Professor Ethan Spigland with To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel, 2012, single channel digital video.The show’s poetic title, Spigland explained, “conveys that something beautiful can emerge, perhaps mutated, from the slimy waters of the Gowanus Canal, in which eels and other creatures thrive despite pollution, much as creative people have come to proliferate in the area.”    

The exhibition’s intention, added Spigland, was “to celebrate and breathe new life into a once stagnant and decaying neighborhood—the Gowanus—by transforming the Gowanus Ballroom, a former steel mill dating to the nineteenth century now used as an alternative art space, into a venue highlighting the work of neighborhood artists, who are reimagining the past and envisioning possible futures for the area.”

(L: Before; R: After) Jonah Emerson-Bell and Rainger Pinney, The Piano is the Champagne, 2012, piano, champagne glasses, mirror, wood, concrete, rope, and chain. Photo © Tod Seelie (B.F.A. Photography ’02).Co-curators Ionescu and Spigland both contributed art pieces to the show. Swoon displayed a print on plastic on a back wall, and Duke Riley showed a Battle of Brooklyn submarine. A highlight of the event was the dropping of a baby grand piano, suspended from a single metal hook, onto a pyramid of 385 champagne glasses. 

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Courtesy of the artists, unless otherwise indicated


Class Notes

Class Notes provides a way to update fellow alumni on what you have been up to lately. Whether you have found a new job or revived an old passion, received a promotion or recently retired, changed galleries or published a book, let the Pratt community share in your excitement. We welcome your latest Class Notes news at classnotes@pratt.edu. Be sure to include your name, degree, year of graduation, major, and any relevant images with caption and credit information. Please note that your submission may be edited for length and clarity.


Ellsworth Kelly (Cert. Painting ’44) was the subject of a feature story, “True to Form,” in W magazine (July 2012). Authored by A.M. Homes with photographs by the famed artist’s long-time partner Jack Shear, the story revealed Kelly to be “prolific as ever” at the age of 89. Three major sculptures by Kelly were on view at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City from June 19 through September 9.


Betsey Johnson (Foundation ’60–’61), the flamboyant fashion designer, celebrated her 70th birthday by throwing a big party for herself at Espace in New York City during Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 11. Huge video displays along the walls of the party offered glimpses of her rock roots in the swinging ’60s, as did the runway presentation. A huge faux birthday cake on was brought on stage and Johnson performed her signature cartwheel and splits.

Pat Steir (B.F.A. ’62), Peacock Waterfall, 2001, three-color screenprint, 58 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Editions, Inc., New York.

Pat Steir (B.F.A. ’62) is being honored with a retrospective exhibition, A View, at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, through October 14. On view are nearly 30 works that focus on her exploration of the vocabulary of drawing during a period of 40 years. Steir’s work is held in the collections of many major museums, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Mel Leipzig (M.F.A. ’72) displayed recent work in Trenton Makes, an exhibition this summer that showed the positive collaboration and interaction among artists in the greater Trenton, New Jersey area. The show celebrated the reopening of the Trenton City Museum.

Debbie (Smith) Holland (M.F.A. '76), New Vision Art/Music teacher in Madison, North Carolina, has recently published ARTintegration, a book featuring 30 of Holland’s best lesson plans that integrate art with math, science, social studies, and language arts. Released by Crystal Productions in 2012, the book draws on experience gained during the first decade of Holland’s teaching career with emphasis on how art can and should be used to teach across the curriculum. Mel Leipzig (M.F.A. ’72), Jon Naar and His Photographs of Albers and Warhol, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. Courtesy of Gallery Henoch.

Alexis Delbridge (B.F.A. Art Education ’77, M.P.S. Art Therapy ’96) was one of 20 high school art teachers nationwide to be awarded a Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship. She used the award money to take summer courses in quilt making in Paducah, Kentucky and create works under the mentorship of Sandy Benjamin-Hannibal, the nationally recognized quilt artist and textile designer who was on the staff of Pratt Institute for 42 years.   

Mariella Bisson (B.F.A. Drawing ’78) won a 2012 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting. In her works, which are held in corporate and museum collections in the United States and Europe, Bisson uses landscape elements of rock, forest, and water to explore themes of time, light, gravity, change, and constancy.


Jim Hodges (M.F.A. ’86), the renowned artist who has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad, served as an inspiration for designer Lela Rose, whose runway looks during Spring 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this September were inspired by Hodges’s temporal drawings and camouflaged landscapes.

Mariella Bisson (B.F.A. Drawing ’78), Falls, Tree, 2012, mixed media on linen, 60 x 96 inches.Miriam Mirna Korolkovas (M.F.A. Metals ’86) is showing work in Embodiment, a juried exhibition of contemporary jewelry and metals that examines the concept giving concrete form to an idea, making it corporeal and embracing it. The show is on view at Jean Paul Slusser Gallery of the University of Michigan School of Art and Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan, through October 19.

Johannes M.P. Knoops (B. Arch. ’87) was among 16 carefully chosen participants in a five-week National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar, "Communications, Empire, and the City of Rome." The seminar was held at the American Academy in Rome, where Knoops was resident on a Rome Prize Fellowship from 1999 through 2001. He is currently the principal at Knoops, his eponymous architectural design firm, and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Emilio Sosa (Fashion Design ’87–’89) was nominated in June for a Tony Award for best costume design in a musical for the latest revival of Porgy and Bess. Since his time on Season 7 of Project Runway the Dominican Republic native has gone on to create esosa, his own signature fashion label, which has been worn by many celebrities including model Heidi Klum, Project Runway host, judge, and executive producer. This past spring Emilio Sosa debuted his line at New York Fashion Week, with sponsorship from the Ford Motor Company.

Pedro Reissig (B. Arch. ’88), designer of the bestselling Kangaroo Desk Organizer in the MoMA Gift Shop, has just launched a new company, Food Morphology, dedicated to the emerging field of food design. He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he is principal of Vacavaliente and Nudo Design. Reissig is “eternally grateful for the learning/living environment Pratt offered” and considers it “the best experience one can have.”


Kenneth Cobonpue (B.I.D. ’91) was invited to be a special guest and exhibit his best furniture pieces at Colombia Moda 2012, that country’s fashion week and the single most important fashion event in all of Latin America. During the event, which was held in Medellin in late July, he spoke to packed audiences at three separate venues, including the two top design and fashion universities.

Dawn (Arnold) Diamantopoulos (B.F.A. Printmaking ’92) Understory, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.Dawn (Arnold) Diamantopoulos (B.F.A. Printmaking ’92) showed recent work this summer in two separate solo exhibitions. She displayed History Repeats, a series of 16 layered ink drawings, at South Shore Arts Gallery~Substation No.9 in Hammond, Indiana. She also showed figurative abstract acrylic paintings in Safety and America, an exhibition at the Community Arts Centers in Cedar Lake, Indiana and Hammond. The Indiana Arts Commission awarded her an Individual Artist Program grant for 2012–2013, which she will use to fund a new solo exhibition for spring 2013 at South Shore Arts Gallery~Crown Point.

Debbie Han (M.F.A. New Forms ’99) showed works from the last two decades in a solo exhibition, BEING: Debbie Han 1985–2011, which was on view at the Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea, last winter. Han also recently participated in a group exhibition, Korean Eye: Energy and Matter, on view at Saatchi Gallery in London. Her bronze sculpture installation was exhibited as one of three U.S. winners' works at Britweek T4C Los Angeles and London Artists Competition earlier this year.


Mickelene Thomas (B.F.A. ’00) is having her first solo museum exhibition, Origin of the Universe, at the Brooklyn Museum from September 28 through January 20, 2013. On view are recent bodies of work that examine interior and exterior environments in relation to the female figure in settings often inspired by the artist’s 1970s childhood. An entrance gallery mural, a film about Thomas's mother, and installations of furnished domestic interiors were created specifically for this show.

Mickalene Thomas (B.F.A. ’00) Din, une très belle négresse #2, 2012. Rhinestone, acrylic paint, and oil enamel on wood panel, 102 x 84 x 2 inches. Private Collection, Boston, MA. Courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, and Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. © Mickalene Thomas, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, and Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photo: Christopher Burke Studio.Maria Uroos (B.F.A. Graphic Design ’05) completed the research, curation, and design of an animated timeline, NYSCA’s 25 Years of Independent Projects, in honor of the 25th year of the New York State Council of the Arts’ support of independent projects in the architecture and design program. Uroos is an M.A. candidate at City University of New York.  

Annie Lenon (B.I.D. ’06) recently co-founded The Winsome Brave, a Brooklyn-based boutique design firm specializing in brand identity, print, product, and digital work. The firm’s Nomadic Weapon design objects, which are sold on its website, originally debuted at a show curated by the American Design Club.

Kristina Drury (M.I.D. ’09), founder and creative director of TYTHEdesign, collaborated with St. John’s Bread and Life on a spatial redesign of their mobile soup kitchen in 2009. The design was distinguished as a finalist in the 2011 Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award, an international design competition. The exhibition presenting the winners, which first opened in Vienna, Austria, was shown in 2012 at Whitebox in New York this past summer.

Justin Berg (M.S. Communications Design ’10), a senior designer at SapientNitro, an award-winning interactive marketing, creative design, and technology services agency, won a 2012 Young Lions "Team USA" award in the Cyber category of USA Today’s competition to build awareness for First Book, a non-profit organization that provides new books and educational resources to children in need.

Berg and his partner Alice Shin were one of four teams (out of 383 nationwide) chosen to represent the United States at the International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, one of the world's most prestigious awards ceremonies for creatives.

Kevin Stanton (B.F.A. Illustration ’10) is illustrating a new edition of Shakespeare’s plays with his paper-cut artworks; the series is published by Sterling Signature books, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble. Two years ago, Stanton’s work at a Pratt student show caught the eye of Pamela Horn, an editorial director at Sterling. Since then Stanton’s paper-cut illustrations have appeared in Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, which are available in bookstores now, with plans for Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet to come out in November.

John Chaich (M.F.A. Communications Design ’11) curated an exhibition for Visual AIDS as part of his thesis work, "Mixed Messages: A(I)DS, Art + Words." It featured over 40 text-based works reflecting reactions to and connections through HIV/AIDS across generations and included work by the late Pratt alumnus Félix González-Torres (B.F.A. Photography ’83). The exhibition debuted at La MaMa La Galleria in the Lower East Side in June 2011, winning critical acclaim from New York Times art critic Holland Cotter. This past summer, retitled ReMixed Messages, the exhibition was presented at Fathom Gallery in Washington, D.C. to coincide with the International AIDS Conference.

Lucia Oceguera (M.F.A. New Forms ’12) exhibited an embroidery piece, The Last Picture, at the collective show Flowers For You at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery in Manhattan this summer.

Text: Compiled by Adrienne Gyongy
Images: Courtesy of the artists, unless otherwise indicated