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.


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. 


Tomie dePaola (B.F.A. ’56, Hon. ’09) is one of two recipients of the Society of Illustrators 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for his distinguished accomplishments in the art of children’s book illustration. Best known for his beloved character Strega Nona, he has had more than 200 published books appear in 15 different countries. DePaola’s work may been seen through December 22 in The Original Art exhibition at the Museum of American Illustration in Manhattan.

James McMullan (B.F.A. ’58)—one of America's foremost illustrators—was honored by the School of Visual Arts with the Masters Series Award and retrospective exhibition. With over 100 works—some of them never before shown—this exhibition included McMullan’s early work from the 1950s; 1960s editorial illustrations for publications such as TIME, Esquire, Rolling Stone and New York magazine; theater posters from Lincoln Center; and new paintings to be published next year in his memoir about growing up in China.


Lee Koppelman (M.S. Planning ’64) recently received the Lawrence M. Orton Award for leadership in city and regional planning from the NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association. Dr. Koppelman, who was among the first generation of planners graduated by Pratt roughly 50 years ago, has co-authored several standard texts on planning and is a strong proponent of preserving open space. 

Everardo Jefferson (B.I.D. ’68) is a founding principal of Caples Jefferson Architects PC, in Long Island City, New York. His firm was recently recognized with the 2012 New York State American Institute of Architects Firm of the Year award in honor of its remarkable contributions to the built environment and professional response to specific project challenges.

Ira Yellen (B.F.A. Interior Design ’69) launched a new online venture in October called homecarematchkiosk.com, which has already been chosen by Connecticut Innovations and the Connecticut Technology Council as one of the top 75 Tech Companies to Watch. Based in Glastonbury, the new venture results from Yellen’s recent experience trying to find in-home care for elderly relatives, and builds upon his many years being involved in public relations, marketing, advertising, and design. Currently, his new free-to-consumer website offers listings in New England, but will go nationwide next year.

Maureen Lauran (B.S. Art Education ’65), adjunct assistant professor in the School of Art at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, has published a commemorative book, titled Carrying Grace to Santiago: A Daughter’s Journey (CreateSpace, 2011), about her “artist’s vacation” that became a pilgrimage of the spirit. With illustrations of the scenic places she sketched en route, the book covers Lauran’s 500-mile trek along the Camino de Santiago—the medieval pilgrimage route across northern Spain—carrying her mother's ashes to their final resting place.

Mel Leipzig (M.F.A. ’72), MCCC Cashiers in the Cafeteria, 2012, acrylic, 36 x 48 inches1970s

Mel Leipzig (M.F.A. ’72) is showing 18 works in Mostly Recent Paintings at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in New Jersey through December 27. Leipzig, who has taught at MCCC for more than four decades, will retire from teaching in June 2013, so the exhibition has been conceived as a tribute to him. Leipzig, who also gave two gallery talks, will be on hand for the Solstice Concert on December 20 at 6 PM. His work is held in many museum collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Springville Museum of Art in Utah. 

Peter Fiore (Illustration ’73–’76) held a gallery talk and slide presentation of his work at Travis Gallery in New Hope, Pennsylvania, on the closing day of his month-long exhibition, Subjects Emerge in November. The gallery, which has represented the area’s best living artists since 1990, displayed Fiore’s visionary landscape paintings that reinterpret nature in oil on panel or linen.

Richard Poulin (B.I.D. ’77), principal of Poulin + Morris, an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary design consultancy located in New York City, has just released his latest book, Graphic Design and Architecture: A 20th-Century History (Rockport Publishers, 2012). It is the first publication of its kind to provide a comprehensive historical overview of the unique pairing of these two disciplines, placed in the context of artistic, social, and cultural movements and influences of the twentieth century.

Liz Goldberg (M.F.A. Painting and Graphics ’79), visiting associate professor in the Department of Fashion Design, participated in a private gallery exhibition in Brooklyn early this month, where she showed her signature work—colorful and flamboyant paintings of divas—along with hand-drawn animated films featuring puppet-like characters. 


Michael Del Secolo (B. Eng. ’86) was recently promoted to senior vice president and chief technology officer at New York Life Insurance Company, which he joined in 2010 as vice president of architecture. 

Mark Schimmel (B.F.A. Communications Design ’86), the award-winning commercial director, videographer, editor, and producer of Internet content and digital media, is director and executive producer of Once Upon a Time, a boutique production company in Chicago, where he resides with his wife Marguerite Robinson (B.F.A. Merchandizing and Fashion Management ’86), whom he met at Pratt. Schimmel warmly credits his experiences at Pratt for “setting my personal and professional life in motion.”

Johannes M.P. Knoops (B. Arch. ’87) showed work in Fantastic, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) art and design faculty exhibition, on view this fall at the Museum at FIT in New York City. His piece, Venice Re-Mapped, was a three-dimensional re-mapping of Venice defined by the cartography depicted on Venetian business cards.

Robert Sabuda’s (B.F.A. Graphic Design ’87) pop-up holiday card designs have been a highlight of the holiday season at MoMA Stores since they were introduced in 2002.  This year, the museum and Sabuda are celebrating 10 years of collaboration with an oversized commemorative pop-up featuring expertly die-cut figures that move and twirl in a winter wonderland. Sabuda’s entire 2012 holiday collection is available at MoMA Store locations and at MOMAstore.org.

Bryan Collier (B.F.A. Painting ’89), an award-winning illustrator and three-time recipient of the Caldecott Honor, participated in a children’s book reading, discussion, and book signing of his work at House of Art Gallery in Brooklyn earlier this month. Uptown (Henry Holt and Co., 2000), a book he authored and illustrated about life in Harlem, won both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.  The Chicago Sun-Times has called Collier’s art “breathtakingly beautiful.”


Jean Shin (B.F.A. ’94, M.S. ’96), the 2012 recipient of the Korea Arts Foundation of America award, is also among the artists who were selected to participate in the Art in Embassies (AIE) program of the U.S. Department of State; her work is on view at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Seoul, Korea, from September 2012 through 2015. The AIE program is an integral aspect of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s commitment to “smART power,” which she says, “plays an ambassadorial role as important as that served by traditional diplomacy.”


Leah Bedrosian Peterson (B.F.A. Photography ’00), Roadside Stone Carver, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2010Leah Bedrosian Peterson (B.F.A. Photography ’00) is assistant professor and chair of communication at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She was recently awarded the first place, best in show honor at the Park Art Fair International in Geneva, Switzerland, for her work Erasure, a collection of photographs and videos taken during her travels to Southeast Asia in summer 2010. During this two-month period, Peterson documented the villages and cities of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, capturing in her photographs the changes in local traditional culture and the landscape as these third-world nations begin to show the influence of Western culture.

Willy Bo Richardson (M.F.A. Painting ’00) had work included in a curated selling exhibition, titled Watercolors, at Phillips de Pury & Company, the only international auction house to concentrate exclusively on contemporary culture. Featured in the exhibition were more than 80 abstract and figurative works by artists who have embraced watercolor as their primary medium.

Nelson Louis Olivo (M.S.L.I.S ’02) has taken his two passions, a love for books and a love of the Buck Rogers comics he grew up on, and combined them into a three-volume set of books, titled Rocket Rangers: Mans Quest to Fly Like Buck Rogers (Xlibris Corporation, 2011)a first person account of the dream of wingless flight and the courage to make it happen as told by the very men who flew like Buck Rogers.

Edward Woodill III (M.S. Interior Design ’03), principal of Studio 3 Designs, recently won the commission to overhaul an iconic 1970s building originally designed by Orlando, Florida architect Nils Schweizer, the former Southeastern representative for famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  Woodill’s firm is familiar with the unique design challenges associated with retrofitting the area’s mid-century buildings for modern medical practices; the firm won both a Golden Brick Award and a City of Orlando Beautification Award for its redesign of the optometry facility, Eola Eyes.

Kanyessa (Heshiimu) McMahon (B.F.A. Photography ’04) on the cover of Black Enterprise (October 2012)Kanyessa (Heshiimu) McMahon (B.F.A. Photography ’04), creative director and executive producer of Suddenly There, a full service boutique agency and production company, was featured on the cover of the October 2012 “Wealth Issue” of Black Enterprise magazine.

Kate Zidar (M.S.C.R.P. ’05), visiting assistant professor in the Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development, recently shared a Meritorious Achievement Award with the Newtown Creek Alliance in Brooklyn, of which she is executive director. In this capacity, Zidar coordinates how best to spend the flow of federal, state, and city money available to mitigate the pollution problems faced by Newtown Creek.

Emilie Baltz (M.I.D. ’06) has recently released L.O.V.E. Foodbook (Éditions Hervé Chopin, 2012) in collaboration with co-author Carole-Anne Boisseau. In the cookbook, 15 renowned chefs and mixologists of the authors’ choice offer recipes that express the chefs’ definition of love. Baltz spent the last year photographing these culinary artists and designing this coffee-table worthy "art-cookbook" that is presently available only in French.  David H. Reuss (M.P.S. Arts and Cultural Management ’06), illustration for The Maladetto Papers

David H. Reuss (M.P.S. Arts and Cultural Management ’06) has edited, designed, and created 30 illustrations for The Maladetto Papers (iBook; Black Wolf Studio, 2012). The paranormal romance, set in 19th-century Europe, is bound together by werewolves, witchcraft, and wine enhanced by six pieces of music from Nox Arcana.

Perri Neri (M.F.A. ’07) had her first solo show in New York City featuring work she has been developing since her Pratt graduation. Titled New Paintings, the exhibition was on view this fall at Ceres Gallery. Work by the Brooklyn-based artist was also recently featured in Rachel Roy's New York City fashion design room. Neri's paintings may be found in the permanent collection of the University of Tampa's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery and the University of Florida's Centre Gallery.Perri Neri (M.F.A. ’07), F*** You. I'm a Monster. So What, 2012, oil on linen and magazine pages, 96 x 72 inches

Sara Ebert (B.I.D. ’09) has just launched her first product—Toobalink—the outcome of a project she started in Rick Goodwin's Toy Design class at Pratt and then developed extensively over the next three years. Toobalink is a construction toy that reuses paper towel and toilet tissue rolls as a building component to encourage children to build, learn, and play. The Toobalink Starter Kit is now available through many online retailers as well as toy and design shops.

Smrita Jain (M.S. Communications Design ’09) is an artist, writer, and photographer who co-founded Surmrit Gallery of Art and Design in New York City in 2012. Jain exhibited her paintings at the Contemporary Art Fair at the Javits Center in October 2012 and sold one of her favorite works to an established and well-known interior designer.

Melissa Zook (M.I.D. ’09), Victorian Ruffle Necklace, two-tone leather, pyrite, silver-plated metalMelissa Zook (M.I.D. ’09) is pursuing a career as a jewelry designer. Handmade in Brooklyn, her pieces are on sale at the MoMA Gift Shop. Her cuff bracelets, edgy earrings, and braided, fringed, or ruffled necklaces are available through her website melissazook.com.

Adam Pruden (M.S. Communications Design ’10), co-founder and interaction designer of a sustainable startup at the Pratt Design Incubator, submitted a design idea to an iPhone accessory competition, and it was selected as a winner. It took only a week to go from design to the final product being on sale.  Pruden’s iPhone case, inspired by mid-century modern designers Ray and Charles Eames, was available on Fab.com. Pruden’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and in the academic and popular press, including Venice Architecture Biennial, TED, Wired, The New York Times, and National Public Radio.

Veronika Szkudlarek (M.F.A. ’10), A Tale of Broken Boundaries and Lost Love, 2012, oil on canvas, 6. 5 x 6 feetVeronika Szkudlarek (M.F.A. ’10) presented new abstract oil paintings made in her studios in Brooklyn and Jerusalem in an exhibition, titled Lion Mouse, on view at Gallery 1313 in Toronto last fall. Coming up in spring 2013 will be her solo show at the Centrum Kultury Saska Kempa in Warsaw, Poland.

Lara Knutson (B. Arch. ’99, M.I.D. ’11) worked on the sixth floor of the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in Manhattan as part of MAD’s Open Studio program that enables the public to visit artists at work daily. For three months this fall she demonstrated how she experiments with the light-flashing, patent-pending material that she discovered while working on her Pratt master’s degree in industrial design. Her work is held in the permanent collection of the Corning Museum of Glass, and her jewelry designs may be found in the MoMA Design Store.

Melissa Umberger (M.S. Historic Preservation ’10, M.S. C.R.P. ’12) was recently honored with the Robert C. Weinberg award, given by the NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association every year to one graduate of each of the four city planning programs in New York City.  

Text: Compiled by Adrienne Gyongy
Photos: Courtesy of the artists, unless otherwise noted

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