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.


Hundreds Help Kick Off Pratt's 125th Anniversary Celebration Year

See highlights from the 125th Anniversary Kickoff Weekend!

More than 1,200 alumni, students, families, and friends gathered at the Brooklyn Campus October 1 and 2 to launch 16 months of celebrating Pratt’s 125th anniversary.

The 125th Anniversary Kickoff Weekend was timed to coincide with the first day the Institute held classes on October 17, 1887. Twelve anniversary banners, honoring the 12 students who attended that first day, will remain suspended over Myrtle Avenue for the next 16 months.  

“I haven’t been back since I graduated,” said Janine Manheim (B.F.A. Comm-D ’83), “I thought I’d see what’s going on, and it’s pretty great.”

The day of events featured open studios, tours, workshops in such skills as figure-drawing and pigment-making, along with lectures and exhibitions. Two dedication ceremonies honored generous alumni, including interior design alumna Hiroko Nakamoto whose gift supported improvements to Grand Walk, and trustee Bruce Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53) who designed and donated a sculptural clock on campus.

The formal kickoff on Saturday evening—marked by music and dancing under the stars and a concert by the indie band Phantograms—was followed on Sunday by Pratt’s traditional President’s Brunch.

“It’s been great,” said Paul Morgan (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’90). “I went to three different events, and I continue to be impressed with all the improvements and enhancements on campus.”

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Video: Jonathan Weitz, Corey Richardson, Cameron Frittz


Open Door Policy Lets Planning Students take law school classes

An open door policy formed between Pratt and Brooklyn Law School allows students in Pratt’s graduate planning programs to take classes at Brooklyn Law School without going through a separate admissions process or paying additional tuition. The program also allows Brooklyn Law students to take urban planning courses at Pratt.

Students in any of the four master’s degree programs in Pratt’s Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD)—City and Regional Planning,  Facilities Management, Historic Preservation, and Urban Environmental Systems Management—can take advantage of the open door policy.

Brooklyn Law School courses that are especially popular with planning students include housing and property law, taught by Brooklyn Law School’s David Reiss and New York City Councilmember Brad Lander (M.S. ’98). Students in the law school who take planning courses at Pratt tend to take urban economics and sustainable planning classes.

“By taking courses at Brooklyn Law, Pratt students learn from legal professionals how the law might be used to further equitable planning and policy,” says student Lee Miller (M.S. expected ’12) who advises students interested in taking courses at Brooklyn Law School. “At the same time, law students can learn from planners the importance of—and how to achieve—public participation, urban revitalization, and urban sustainability.”

The open door policy is in addition to a joint M.S./J.D. degree program offered through Pratt and Brooklyn Law School.

Learn more about PSPD and the open door policy!

Text: Abigail Beshkin


Black Alumni of Pratt Celebrate the Creative Spirit at Annual Dinner

Counterclockwise from left: The Black Alumni of Pratt 2011 Creative Spirit Awards honorees Jeff Koons, Maruchi Santana, John Parham, and George Lois. (Not pictured is David Adjaye, whose award was accepted on his behalf.)The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) celebrated its 21st anniversary with “Celebration of the Creative Spirit,” a scholarship benefit dinner honoring creative individuals in the arts that raises funds for talented minority students at Pratt, the only independent college of art, design, and architecture in the United States with a Black Alumni organization. To date, BAP has raised $ 2.5 million to support students who are in financial need.

Honorees for 2011 are architect David Adjaye, recipient of the Creative Spirit Award; artist Jeff Koons, recipient of the Icon of Artistic Excellence Award; ad man George Lois (Advertising Design ’51) recipient of the Pinnacle in Art and Design Award; brand consultants John Parham (M.S. ’85) and Maruchi Santana (M.S. ’85), recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Creative Spirit Award.

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photo: Julie Skarratt Photography New York


Pratt Pop-up! A fixture at Dekalb Market 


Pratt Pop-up! at Dekalb Market during a reception for a collaboration between Designing Hope, a company in the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation, and Tilonia, a line of artisan goods produced by women in Rajasthan, India. Designing Hope was founded by Pratt graduates Ashley Thorfinnson (M.I.D. ’11) and Sahar Gaheri (M.I.D. ’11).

Pratt is taking part in Dekalb Market, an exciting new venture designed to showcase Brooklyn artists and entrepreneurs and provide them with space to sell their latest creations. Located in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, Dekalb Market is made up of salvaged shipping containers, each of which houses a different Brooklyn-based company.

In one of those containers Pratt has created Pratt Pop-up! Pratt's container is amazingly transformed with eco-friendly materials and gives students, faculty, and alumni a chance to show and sell their designs—from furniture and housewares to jewelry and clothing.

The first Pop-up! was dedicated to start-up companies from the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation. The work in Pratt Pop-up! will change regularly through December 2012.

“Pratt Pop-up! allows our entrepreneurial alumni and students a firsthand experience in retail and gives Pratt a place to show off the work of our world-class faculty,” says Deb Johnson, who is leading the Pop-up! space.

Dekalb Market is a joint venture of developers Urban Space and Youngwoo & Associates, whose principal partner is Pratt Trustee Young Woo (B. Arch. ’80). The Pratt Pop-up! at Dekalb Market is open seven days a week, from 8 AM to 10 PM daily. For more, click here!

To apply for a spot in the Pop-up! contact debjohnson@pratt.edu for an application.

Text: Kate Ünver
Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Thorfinnson (M.I.D. '11)


Artist Kara Walker Speaks at Pratt About Her Life and Work

L to R: Acting Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Sheila Pepe, Kara Walker, Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte, Dean of School of Art and Design Concetta M. Stewart

Hundreds of students attended a talk by artist Kara Walker, as she discussed her life and work in the context of modern black identity on September 19 before a standing-room-only audience that packed Memorial Hall.

Walker, who is best-known for using life-sized silhouetted figures to explore issues of race, gender, sexuality, and violence, told the audience that she addresses her work to “a very specific audience that has grown up around black arts and letters in the last decade” and that her installations of paper silhouettes are often narratives inspired by historical events. Walker talked about her experiments with film, video, and puppetry, all of which also place serious subject matter into the realm of entertainment.

During the Q&A, a student asked her what the response of the African American community is to her work. Walker replied, “From the earliest moments it was extremely contentious….because the work is beyond disrespect.”   

Walker’s cousin, the novelist and journalist James Hannaham, who is an adjunct assistant professor in Pratt’s Writing Program, introduced Walker.

Walker, who teaches in Columbia University’s Visual Arts M.F.A. program, continued the lively exchange at a reception for students that followed her talk. 

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photo: Jonathan Weitz