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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Wednesday
Dec082010

M.F.A. STUDENTS HOST OPEN STUDIOS

All seven studio buildings that house Pratt’s expansive graduate program in fine arts were open to the public on the evening of Friday, December 3, making it possible to view first hand the works of 137 participating students in Pratt's nationally recognized Master of Fine Arts degree program. Open to visitors for the first time were the new Flushing Studios, located at 248 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, not far from the Pratt campus. M.F.A. Open Studios occurs in fall and spring, presenting the public with painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, printmaking, installation, video, new forms, digital arts, and performance. This season’s turnout included art collectors and gallery directors among the many art enthusiasts from the Pratt community.

(Left): Catherine Hancher (M.F.A. ’12) at her drawing table in the new Flushing Avenue studios near the Pratt Brooklyn campus (Right): Works in progress by Matthew Robinson (M.F.A. ’11) on the walls of his studio in Esther Lloyd-Jones Hall

(Left): Studio of Ryan Gilmartin (M.F.A. ’11) in the basement of Pratt Studios. (Right): Mi Ju (M.F.A. ’12) in her Flushing Avenue studio near the Pratt Brooklyn campus

(Left): Studio of Ryan Turley (M.F.A. ’11) in the basement of Pratt Studios (Right): Anthony Palocci Jr. (M.F.A. ’12) at work in his Flushing Avenue studio near the Pratt Brooklyn campus Photos: Diana Pau

Tuesday
Dec072010

NEW MANHATTAN PUBLIC OUTDOOR VENUE SCREENS PRATT FILM, VIDEO, ANIMATION WORK

Image from work by Gerald Lewis (B.F.A. Film/Video & Photography ‘04) Almost two dozen students and recent graduates from Pratt’s Digital Arts and Film/Video and Photography departments screened animations and video on a striking new 30 x 16.5-foot HD, LED public outdoor screen in midtown Manhattan.

The Big Screen Project is a new arts and culture wall on the side of the Eventi Hotel on Sixth Avenue between 29th and 30th streets.

The Pratt students’ cutting-edge 3-D animation and video and traditional 2-D animation and film projects debuted on November 15 as part of the Big Screen Project’s curators’ commitment to showing work by new and emerging artists.

The Big Screen Project also recently screened a video on the concept of strategic design as part of the Design Management Program’s Catalyst Strategic Design Review.

For December showtimes, please visit BigScreenProject.org/calendar.

Monday
Dec062010

STUDENTS TAKE THE HEAT DURING BRONZE POUR

Photo LEFT: (L-R) Student Nicole Romanello (M.F.A. Sculpture ’11), under Professor Isolani’s watchful eye, prepares the mold for the pour with the aid of student Andrew Fernandez (B.F.A. Painting ’11). Photo RIGHT: (L-R) Students Andrew Fernandez (B.F.A. Painting ’11) and Nicole Romanello (M.F.A. Sculpture ’11) pour molten bronze into molds quickly and precisely in Pratt’s foundry on the Brooklyn campus. The foundry is a rarity in the New York City area.Few people are aware that Pratt boasts the only functioning professional foundry in the  New York metropolitan area. The foundry was designed 40 years ago by Licio Isolani, now a professor in the Fine Arts department, who had gained his expertise at the Instituto Statale D’Arte in Florence.

Every year, Professor Isolani teaches a fall and spring Foundry I and II course in the metal shop, located on the third floor of the Chemistry Building on the Brooklyn campus. There students of fine arts, industrial design, architecture, or history of art learn the ancient “lost-wax” casting process that enables them to realize works in bronze.

On November 16, students wearing protective hard-hats and heavy gloves endured a grueling day of pouring liquid bronze heated to a temperature of 2,250° Fahrenheit into their waiting molds.

“You’re working with a crucible of 250 pounds of molten metal,” said Isolani, “so you have to take every precaution to prevent any possible injury. Your clothes could catch fire, for example; or if the crucible broke, there could be an explosion of smoke and metal flying in the air. It’s very dangerous, but we’ve never had an accident.”

As they poured, the molten bronze melted and replaced the wax form within each student’s mold. When the bronze had cooled and solidified into shape, the plaster-based mold was cracked open to reveal the final class project.

“Students pour their own work because it’s part of the experience,” Isolani continued, “and it’s not one that many people in New York can claim. Even after just a semester, students can get jobs in foundries thanks to their familiarity with this very specific process.”

Among the observers at the November 16 bronze pour was Isolani’s former Pratt student, Honduran-born sculptor Arnaldo Ugarte, who currently works as a sculpture conservation technician for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at Kykuit, the former Rockefeller estate in Pocantico Hills, New York, now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“The pour is so exciting,” said Ugarte, who came especially for the event. “It’s essentially the ‘birth’ of the bronze sculpture, and you have to be very focused to do it. I consider it the epitome of being a sculptor, because it produces work that will endure for many, many years.”

Photos: Arnaldo Ugarte

Monday
Dec062010

FASHION DESIGN STUDENT WINS VEGAN SHOE DESIGN CHALLENGE

(Left): L-R: Music star and vegan Moby, and Olsenhaus challenge winner, Department of Fine Arts Senior William Cherwin (Right): William Cherwin’s winning shoe designA black textured high heel designed by William Cherwin, a senior in the Department of Fashion Design, won first place in a competition held by shoe company Olsenhaus Pure Vegan.

The Olsenhaus challenge was part of a shoemaking course taught this fall by Emily Putterman Handler, shoemaker and visiting instructor in the fashion design department. The students were charged with designing a shoe using vegan and recycled materials. The students were also directed to create a design that could convert from a hot to cold weather shoe or from a comfort shoe to a high fashion shoe.

Cherwin says he created a basic design, then cut ultra suede, a synthetic microfiber, into strips and sewed it  in layers to add depth to the design.

Olsenhaus plans to produce Cherwin’s design.

 

Photos: Diana Pau

Friday
Dec032010

PRATT CENTER HELPS HOMEOWNERS BOOST ENERGY EFFICIENCY

L-R: Luis Garden-Acosta (El Puente), Colvin Grannum (Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation), City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Seema Agnani (Chhaya CDC), Alfred Gill (NHS of Staten Island), Adam Friedman (Pratt Center), and Annette Williams (Sustainable South Bronx).New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined the Pratt Center for Community Development, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and other partners on November 16 in the front yard of Theresa Braithwaite's Hancock Street house to inaugurate Retrofit NYC Block by Block, a new initiative to get New Yorkers to reduce their energy use through smart investments in their homes.

The New York City Council is sponsoring a one-year program that calls on community development groups in Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens to enlist property owners in their neighborhoods to undertake retrofits, with the help of incentive programs from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, utility company programs, and federal grants and tax credits.

“This is a great initiative that I’m proud to support,” said Speaker Quinn, “and I want to thank Pratt Center for Community Development and all the neighborhood partners for making our City ‘green’—one home at a time.”

Pratt Center Director Adam Friedman added, “We're so grateful to Speaker Quinn for her commitment to green our communities and build a sustainable future for the whole city."


Photo: Diana Pau