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.



Scholarship Benefit to Include Performance by Grammy Winner Rosanne Cash


L-R: Tommy Hilfiger, Ellsworth Kelly '44, Emily Fisher Landau

Pratt Institute will present Legends 2010, a scholarship benefit honoring fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, visual artist Ellsworth Kelly '44, and philanthropist and patron of the arts Emily Fisher Landau at the annual Legends Scholarship benefit. Tickets are required for entry.

Hilfiger will be introduced and presented with his award by Emanuel Chirico, chair and chief executive officer of Phillips-Van Heusen; Kelly will be introduced and presented with his award by Museum of Modern Art President Emeritus Agnes Gund; and Landau will be introduced and presented her award by Leonard Lauder, chair emeritus of Estee Lauder and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Legends’ mission is to raise funds to provide financial aid to Pratt students based on need and merit. Eighty percent of Pratt’s students require financial aid; every dollar raised through Legends increases the scholarship endowment, which allows the most qualified students an opportunity to attend Pratt, regardless of their financial background.

“Tommy Hilfiger, Ellsworth Kelly, and Emily Fisher Landau serve as major inspirations to our students,” said Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte. “We are honored to welcome such luminaries in fashion, art, and philanthropy into the Pratt community and to present them with 2010 Legends awards at this year’s scholarship fundraiser,” he added.

Tommy Hilfiger has brought classic, cool, American apparel to consumers around the world for 25 years. The self-taught designer opened his first chain of stores while still in high school, and in 1985 launched his first signature collection in New York City. Since then, the Tommy Hilfiger Group—celebrating its 25th anniversary this year—has become one of the few globally recognized designer brands offering a wide range of American-inspired apparel and accessories in more than 1,000 stores worldwide. In 1995, Hilfiger launched The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, which in 2009 donated $2 million to Millennium Promise, a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to help end extreme poverty.

Ellsworth Kelly ’44 is regarded as one of the most important abstract painters, sculptors, and printmakers working today. Spanning six decades, his career is marked by the independent route his art has taken, diverging from any formal school or art movement, and by his innovative contributions to 21st century painting and sculpture.

Kelly has been the subject of major exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Tate Modern, London. His work is held in many public collections, including those of The Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Emily Fisher Landau’s contemporary art collection contains key works of art of the last 50 years. In 1991, she opened the Fisher Landau Center for Art to the public. Located in Long Island City, Queens, the center is devoted to the exhibition and study of her contemporary art collection, which includes works by such renowned artists as Artschwager, Baldessari, Johns, Longo, Prince, Ruscha, and Kiki Smith. Her insightful selection of works and her ongoing commitment to emerging artists and graduate visual arts students are reflected in exhibitions presented there.

Landau’s generosity includes gifts to other institutions, notably the Whitney Museum of American Art, where the fourth floor galleries are named in her honor. She has served on the Whitney’s Board of Trustees as well as on the boards of other cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Opera. Last May, she pledged to the Whitney a donation of over 400 artworks from her collection, which is slated for exhibition in February 2011 with an accompanying catalogue.

Two Trees Management Company, LLC is a proud sponsor of Legends 2010. Legends 2010 will be hosted by Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte and Board of Trustees Chair Mike Pratt. Trustees Kurt Andersen and Amy Cappellazzo, and Pratt friend Marjorie Kuhn are the event’s co-chairs.

Photos: Richard Phibbs (Hilfiger), © Jack Shear (Kelly), Matthew Roberts (Landau)




Click photo above for more scenes from ReIGNITE!

Almost 300 Pratt graduates attended the annual ReIGNITE! alumni celebration on the last weekend in September, traveling from as far away as Nevada and California to see how the campus has changed, hear updates on Pratt programs, and reminisce.

And reminisce they did, especially at the elegant luncheon held at the Caroline Ladd Pratt House in honor of alumni celebrating their 50th, 55th, and 60th reunions.

“I had a wonderful time at Pratt,” said trustee John Morning (B.F.A. Advertising Design ’55). “Pratt was a wonderful place to go to school. It launched me on a successful career in graphic design.”

“I chose Pratt by chance after the army,” said Norman Cicelsky (B. Arch. ’60). It was one of my biggest great decisions.” He added that he lives in a house that he designed and built.

Said Janet M. Anderson (B.F.A. Graphic Arts & Illustration ’60), who has had a 40-year career in book publishing: “I’ve always been grateful to Pratt for helping me in an area I love. Being here today is just another great experience.”

They also heard from Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte who talked about how much the school has grown since they were students, and said the alumni are partly to thank.

“Thanks to an unprecedented surge in enrollment, one of the largest incoming classes in the Institute’s history just came through our gates.  I am thrilled that so many students made Pratt their college of choice, which speaks to the exceptional quality and far-reaching impact of our academic programs.” He added, “While many factors contribute to Pratt’s stature in the art and design world, our reputation for excellence is based primarily on the success and achievements of our alumni. You have truly made Pratt what it is today.”

Dr. Schutte also talked about capital improvements and Pratt’s sustainability efforts, focusing on the soon-to-be-opened Myrtle Hall.

“Myrtle Hall will provide much-needed academic and administrative space—all in a beautiful ‘green’ building that will serve as a model for the community and other urban campuses,” he said.

The afternoon was warm and sunny, and many of the alumni took part in walking tours that offered a glimpse of the tremendous changes that have taken place both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Many alumni also chose to hear updates from the chairs and deans about programs.

At Pratt Studios, about 30 alumni heard from the new chair of the Industrial Design department, Steve Diskin, who said he plans to form a faculty task force to discuss further honing the school’s standards to fuel innovative ideas and maintain the already-high quality and integrity of the department.

Across DeKalb Avenue, about two-dozen alumni heard about the latest achievements of the School of Architecture. Dean Thomas Hanrahan said the school now offers nine degree programs, has about 900 students, and recently began offering a master of science in architecture. He numbered as recent successes a six-year re-accreditation for the master’s in architecture, and a five-year re-accreditation for the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.

In addition to receiving updates on the programs, alumni were also able to take part in lectures and debates about the latest issues in their fields.

Friday night at Pratt Manhattan, alumni, faculty, and students from the School of Library and Information Science (SILS) were treated to a lecture by Brooklyn Historical Society President Deborah Schwartz about the recent revival of the society. Her talk was part of the annual Nasser Sharify lecture, celebrating the SILS former dean.

Schwartz said when she took over as president of the Historical Society in 2006, the institution had been closed for five years and was buried in debt. Schwartz said her mission from the beginning was to find a way to make the society play a meaningful role in making history relevant to people’s lives.

“As preservers of Brooklyn history,” she said, “we had to look at all the ways that history intersects with arts, politics, community, the built environment… and our daily struggle for freedom and justice.”

On Saturday, the Fine Arts department held a debate, moderated by Chair Donna Moran (M.F.A. ’71), on whether M.F.A. students are helped or harmed by early entry into the commercial art world.

Joe Fyfe, visiting assistant professor, and Dominique Nahas, adjunct associate professor, in the Graduate Fine Arts department, agreed that emerging artists should not delay entering the marketplace.

The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences held a reading by three faculty members: May Joseph, professor of global studies in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies read from her forthcoming book Imagining New York City, a montage of socialism in millennial New York; Ellery Washington, visiting assistant professor of humanities and media studies, read from the book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, for which he was asked to write a chapter on his home state of New Mexico; and Thad Ziolkowski, professor of humanities and media studies and director of the writing program, read from the story “Arbor Consanguinitatis,” an autobiographical fragment that he wrote in reaction to the work of an artist friend.

Meantime, alumni—many of them designers—participated in a lively discussion about “crowdsourcing”—the practice of using social networking technology to call on a group to help you complete a task or answer a question—and its impact on the design field.

The discussion was led by Communications Design Chair Kathleen Creighton (Media Arts ’73) and Alexander Smith (B.F.A. Graphic Design ’97), a visiting instructor in the Undergraduate Communications Design department.

As the day wrapped up with a cocktail reception in the Juliana Curran Terian Design Center, many alumni said they were thrilled to have spent the afternoon at Pratt.

Lois Brown (B.F.A. Advertising Design ’55) said she lives on the West Coast and says this was her first time back since graduation: “I haven’t been back to Pratt in 55 years,” she said.  “The experience today was phenomenal. I had a wonderful time meeting with all the people who graduated from Pratt…and it was very exciting to see all the changes that have happened over the last 50 years.”

Alumnus Paul Morgan (B.F.A. Fashion Design ’90) says while he left Pratt more than two decades ago, he finds himself regularly thinking about the school.

“I have found that regardless of what it is I’ve done professionally, that I’ve been able to tap into the thinking, the training, the thought processes that I’ve developed because I was a student here.” 



New Facility Opens in Manhattan for Graduate Communications and Package Design Students

Lanny Hong (front) and Steven Johnson, second-year M.S. Candidates in the Graduate Communications and Package Design program work in the new Communications Design studios.

Pratt's Department of Communications and Package Design, which has been granting master of science degrees in communications design and package design since 1966 and 1972, respectively, has created its first master of fine arts degree program in communications design and is now accepting applications for fall 2011.

The new terminal degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice and prepare its graduates to teach at the college and university level. Students will participate in studio courses approaching design as a means for behavioral change in socially and environmentally sustainable ways, which differentiates it from other programs of its kind through a broader educational experience.

To accommodate the new M.F.A. program, Pratt has opened a new, 8,750-square-foot facility at 123 West 18th Street that houses 125 student studios, a computer lab, printing facilities, a resource center, and a lecture and seminar room.

Current students from Pratt’s master of science degree programs in communications design and package design have already begun using the space. 

The two-year, 60-credit M.F.A. degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice; research and scholarship; design teaching methodologies; and academic studies of visual media such as history, theory, critical analysis, aesthetics, and related humanities and social sciences. It will consist of seven M.F.A. studio courses that will investigate current practice and the future direction of communications design. The courses will emphasize research, critical thinking, and design strategy coupled with entrepreneurship and an iterative design process and will be taught by resident and visiting faculty members.

Never have designers been expected to cultivate such a diverse set of skills and knowledge as today. Over the next 10 years the graphic design profession will experience a paradigm shift in what we do, how we do it, and why. The students in Pratt’s M.F.A. program will play a major role in determining this future,” said Jeff Bellantoni, chair of Pratt’s Graduate Communications and Package Design Department.

The Graduate Communications and Package Design department was ranked ninth in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report in its 2009 guide to America’s Best Graduate Schools

The new Grad Comm-D Studios

Photos: Diana Pau