Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 05:06PM
Gateway Editors

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

Article originally appeared on Gateway (
See website for complete article licensing information.