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.


Pratt Institute Raises Nearly $800,000 for Scholarships at Legends 2013 Gala  


Against the backdrop of the luminous Manhattan skyline, Pratt Institute honored four icons in art, design, and the written word at the Legends 2013 gala held at the Mandarin Oriental on November 11. With donations nearing $800,000, the event raised the second largest sum in the history of Pratt gatherings following last year’s 125th Anniversary Gala. 

The Institute’s benefit celebrated Pratt alumnus and renowned interior designer David Easton, journalist and The New York Times best-selling author Pete Hamill, Architectural Digest editor in chief Margaret Russell, and groundbreaking contemporary artist James Turrell. The event's co-chairs were Sondra and David S. Mack, Bruce M. Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53) and Judith Newman, Susan and Mark D. Stumer (Bachelor of Architecture ’74), and Jane and David Walentas.

A portion of the Legends 2013 ceremony was dedicated to commemorating Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte’s 20th anniversary at the institution with a surprise: the announcement of the Thomas F. and Tess L. Schutte Endowed Scholarship Fund. All of the proceeds from the evening will go toward the fund, which is also accepting tax-deductible contributions through the Pratt website.

Several of the honorees and speakers discussed the evolution of the Pratt campus from a small, local school to a prestigious, globally recognized name.

Pratt Trustee Robert H. Siegel (B. Arch. ’62) credited Schutte with this change, recalling his push to increase on-campus housing. “When I went to Pratt, it was a commuter school. It was particularly hard, as an architect, bringing models on the subway,” he said.

Pete Hamill recalled growing up in Brooklyn and how much his mother, an Irish immigrant, valued his education. He compared his childhood to those of today’s new immigrants or their children who hope to attend Pratt.

“For these kids, men and women, the future is right up the block or only a subway ride away,” said Hamill.

Margaret Russell, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to expanding her involvement with Pratt.

“Honestly, I don’t feel like a legend at all, but I can give promising design talents a voice. That’s what I can do,” she said.

Presenters of the evening’s honors included: Martha Stewart (David Easton); Bob Giraldi (Pete Hamill); David Rockwell (Margaret Russell); and Carmen Giménez (James Turrell). The sculpted glass award that each honoree received was designed by Pratt students Alexander Pinks and Isabella Minkyung Shin, both of whom will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Design next May.

The event, which was covered in The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, BLOUIN ARTINFO, and New York Social Diary, was emceed by Ted Allen, host of the Food Network series Chopped

Text by: Amy Aronoff, Ruth Samuelson
Images by: Peter Tannenbaum


Pratt Launches Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator  

The New York fashion world has a new outpost: the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA), a space developed by Pratt Institute that provides start-ups with resources to establish successful businesses.

Located in South Williamsburg, the Accelerator launched with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and coverage in The Wall Street Journal on October 29. The initiative is just one part of Pratt’s effort to prepare graduates—in fashion, accessory, and product design—who are empowered to establish businesses and receive support as they grow.

“The Accelerator is Pratt Institute's vision for creating a bridge to success—a place where design start-ups will flourish, local manufacturing jobs will be created, and young people can design their future,” said Pratt Institute President Thomas F. Schutte.

With funding from the State of New York, the Borough of Brooklyn, and the Institute, the BF+DA will provide studio space and production capability for 30 design-oriented candidates who are integrating environmental and social responsibility practices into their bottom line. It is open to both Pratt graduates and non-affiliated designers. Tenants will move in after renovations take place.

The Accelerator occupies a 15,000-square-foot space in the former Pfizer building, which has attracted a number of independent businesses and food start-ups with a small-scale, artisanal production ethos. One of the chief goals of the BF+DA is to support businesses as they move toward broader viability in the marketplace. The Accelerator will house traditional and advanced manufacturing equipment on-site, with access to a micro-run production facility, where designers can have one to 100 units produced, and other key facilities for prototyping and testing apparel.

"I think there's a growing trend right now amongst many people in the industry to bring back manufacturing jobs to New York and America," said Fern Mallis, the creator of New York Fashion Week, about the BF+DA in The Wall Street Journal. "This is a very exciting development in the fashion industry. It has traction and is beginning to make a difference."

The Accelerator also includes a showroom and event space called the “Plaza.” The area functions as a workspace by day and transforms into to a lecture hall, performance space, or fashion runway by night.  BF+DA occupants can take advantage of networking and educational opportunities: business development and legal services, exposure to industry leaders, workforce development, and classes in entrepreneurship.

The Accelerator was founded by Debera Johnson, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies. Johnson also founded the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation in 2002 during her tenure as chair of the Industrial Design Department. Under her leadership, the Incubator has helped create more than 38 start-ups.


Buy Pratt this Holiday Season!  

Prices and links to products are included in captions in the slideshow.

From books to cutting boards, a fresh crop of items designed by Pratt alumni and faculty are just a few clicks away this holiday season.

Consider these alternatives to standard stocking stuffers: Lightning is the newest album by pop indie sensation Matt & Kim—the duo, who met at Pratt, both graduated in 2004. On the publishing front, there’s Hidden Cities: A Memoir of Urban Exploration, a memoir that chronicles Visiting Assistant Professor of Graduate Planning Moses Gates’s thrilling adventures into unseen—and often, forbidden—sites in locales as diverse as Cairo and Stonehenge. In Bright Nights: Photographs of Another New York, Tod Seelie (B.F.A. Photography ’02) offers a glimpse into underground music scenes, grungy house parties, and utter chaos.

Or for a piece of just-immortalized memorabilia, pick up Lady Gaga’s dentures—or rather the Dental Cuff, by Danielle Nicole Hills (B.F.A. Fine Arts ’11). The pop star recently sported the bracelet on the cover of her single “Dope”—although she wore the bracelet in her mouth instead of on her wrist.

These options, and more, are featured in the slideshow above.

The Pratt Communications and Marketing Office periodically publishes pieces that showcase Pratt-made products. If you'd like to submit something, please email Ruth Samuelson at rsamuels@pratt.edu.


DesignIntelligence Gives Top Marks to Pratt Design Programs  

Pratt Institute’s Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Architecture programs are among the best in the country, according to an annual survey of industry professionals coordinated through monthly architecture and design journal DesignIntelligence (DI). These programs have received consistent high marks in DI’s 2014 rankings, which are based largely on companies’ perceptions of how well colleges prepare their graduates for professional experience.

“Rankings play a very important role in where students decide to apply and attend, particularly strong academic students and international students.  The rankings are the first step for them in narrowing down their lists of top 15 schools,” says Judy Aaron, vice president for enrollment.   

While U.S. News and World Report is the most prominent ranking source for universities overall, it only ranks some arts and design graduate programs and no undergraduate programs.

“For us, DesignIntelligence is really the only ranking source in many cases, and so that’s what students pay attention to,” says Aaron. 

According to the rankings, Pratt’s graduate and undergraduate Interior Design programs rank No. 2 in the country–up from No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in 2013. In an interior design skills assessment, Pratt was ranked No. 1 in the categories of communication, research and theory, computer applications, and cross-disciplinary teamwork, and No. 2 in sustainable design practices and principles. Academic leaders ranked Pratt’s undergraduate and graduate programs as the second most-admired programs of their kind in the country.

The Institute’s graduate program in Industrial Design was ranked No. 3 in the country, and its undergraduate program was ranked No. 8. Academic leaders commended Pratt’s undergraduate program’s community involvement and focus on sustainability, and Gina Caspi, an Industrial Design visiting professor and an alumna, was named to DI’s 30 Most Admired Educators for 2014 list.

The Institute’s undergraduate Architecture program ranked No. 11 in the nation. It was also cited in the DI report as one of the top 25 architecture schools attended by the 4,872 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Fellows from 1937 to 2013. 

The rankings are part of DI's 2014 America's Best Architecture and Design Schools issue, which it has published annually since 2000. DI is issued by the Design Futures Council (DFC), a global network of design community professionals, including leaders of architecture and design firms, manufacturers, and service providers.