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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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Friday
Nov112011

FAShION JUNIOR WINS COMPETITION TO DESIGN UNIFORM FOR HOSPICE FACILITY

L to R: Jennifer Minniti, chair of Pratt's Department of Fashion Design; Pratt students Jefferson Musanda (1st runner-up), Hannah Ross (winner), and Alicia Arlotta (2nd runner-up); and Jeanne Dennis, senior vice president of VNSNY Hospice Care

Three junior fashion design students were named winners in a competition to create uniforms for a new hospice inpatient care facility that is part of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) Hospice and Palliative Care program.

The "Designing for a Difference: New Approaches to Hospice Uniforms" competition challenged students to create uniforms that reflect the soothing and therapeutic atmosphere of VNSNY's new 25-bed Haven Hospice Specialty Unit. 

First-place winner Hannah Ross of Washington, Connecticut, was recognized for a design inspired by graffiti artist Banksy's image of a doctor holding a stethoscope. She created a three-piece look from 100% cotton that is comfortable and professional in the care facility and stylish on the streets of New York City.

Second-place winner Jefferson Musanda of Lynn, Massachusetts, was recognized for a sleek design that includes a pale sea-foam green top of stretch cotton with lavender-colored cotton bottoms that compliment the decor of the Haven. He was inspired to incorporate modern day activewear into the design of the uniform, considering that the nurses move like athletes around the care facility in their daily work.

Third-place winner Alicia Arlotta of Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, was recognized for a unisex uniform design that reflects the colors of the Haven and her research into color therapy, which indicates the most healing and calming shades are light green and beige. Arlotta was inspired by the competition since two of her best friends lost their mothers to cancer and both spent time in hospice care. One of the women encouraged Arlotta to pursue a career in fashion, and Arlotta dedicates her work to her. 

"The VNSNY competition provided our students with the opportunity to engage in a very meaningful project that makes design matter," said Jennifer Minniti, chair of Pratt's Department of Fashion Design.

Jeanne Dennis, senior vice president of VNSNY Hospice Care, added: "The look, feel, and function of the clothing worn by healthcare professionals can have an important impact on everyone involved in patient care. These wonderful new designs by Pratt's talented young designers promise to inspire an even deeper sense of caring and comfort."

Ross received a $2,500 scholarship from VNSNY and will have her design produced and manufactured locally for hospice staff members at VNSNY's Haven Hospice Specialty Unit in Manhattan. The three top designers were presented with scholarship awards from VNSNY.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Photo: Kevin Wick

Tuesday
Nov082011

LEGENDS Ticket Sales Top $400,000, all Proceeds Fund Student Scholarships

More than 300 guests attended Legends 2011, Pratt’s largest annual scholarship benefit, which this year raised over $400,000 through ticket sales. The event at 7 World Trade Center in Manhattan on November 1 honored artist and musician Laurie Anderson; interior designer, furniture designer, and artist Juan Montoya; and artist, filmmaker, and photographer William Wegman.    

Wegman, best known for his photographs of Weimaraner dogs, received his Legends Award from Museum of Modern Art President Emeritus Agnes Gund.

Laurie Anderson was presented with her award by friend and author Salman Rushdie, who said Anderson reminds him of the "Hindu deity Shiva Nataraja, the multi-armed lord of the dance, holding various instruments in her many hands." 

Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest Margaret Russell introduced longtime Pratt supporter Juan Montoya who said: "To me, receiving the Pratt Legends Award is like receiving the Academy Award."  

In addition, guests were able to experience interactive digital projections created by Department of Digital Arts students.

The pieces were designed and installed by Craig McCahill (Undergraduate Digital Arts, Class of 2012) and Piyatas Tantanapornchai (Graduate Digital Arts, Class of 2013).

Both pieces were activated by motion detectors, which were assembled in the social spaces and aimed at the crowds.

In the cocktail reception area was Tantanapornchai’s installation Watch Your Step, which mounted flocks of birds that shifted their motion depending on the movements of nearby attendees.

In the dessert reception area was McCahill’s interactive canvas combining three-dimensional texturized shapes with colorful two-dimensional overlays. The three-dimensional shapes appeared to be constantly rotating in black space as a result of users’ movements, which also activated several different “hot-spot” areas.

The faculty advisors on the projects were Professor Peter Mackey and Assistant Professor Liubo Borissov.

Special guests included: Kurt Andersen, Pratt trustee, critically acclaimed author, and host of Studio 360; Kenneth P. Browne, Pratt alumnus and partner at Urban Development Partners; Amy Cappellazzo, Pratt trustee and alumna and chairman of post-war and contemporary development at Christie's;
 Anne Carson, poet, essayist, translator, and professor; 
Juliana Curran Terian, Pratt trustee and chair of the Rallye Group;
 Steven Holl, architect;
 James D. Kuhn, Pratt trustee, and wife Marjorie Kuhn; Young Jean Lee, playwright and director; 
Leonard Lopate, host of The Leonard Lopate Show;
 Topaz Page-Green, model;
 Mike Pratt, Pratt board of trustees chair, and wife Carol Pratt; Thomas F. Schutte, Pratt president, and wife Tess Schutte; Robert Siegel, architect.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Video: Corey Richardson and Jonathan Weitz

Friday
Nov042011

Alumni-Owned Businesses on Myrtle Avenue Help Revitalize Neighborhood

Business Owners Say They Use Artistic Skills to Run Restaurants, Galleries, and Boutiques

New ventures owned or operated by Pratt alumni are springing up along Myrtle Avenue, the once blighted thoroughfare that has turned into a trendy commercial hub, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project to clean up the area and attract new businesses. The Prattstore and Myrtle Hall attest to the Institute’s official presence, but stylish restaurants, boutiques, and galleries owned or operated by Pratt grads extend the Institute’s dynamic, creative culture into the life of the community. Here are five such places in order of their opening on Myrtle Avenue.

Pedro Munoz (B. Arch. ’99) and Vivian I. Torres (B. Arch. ’98) at Luz restaurant, 177 Vanderbilt Avenue, just off Myrtle

 Luz Restaurant
"Before we opened Luz in 2005, the only restaurant experience we had was ‘check please,’” says Pedro Munoz (B. Arch. ’99) who, with his wife Vivian I. Torres (B. Arch. ’98), invested several years’ savings into the venture. “But Luz Restaurant did better than we thought, so we opened Cienega last year, and it was voted ‘Best of Westchester’ for 2011. We both love food and realized there was a market for Latin American cooking.”

Located just off Myrtle Avenue at 177 Vanderbilt, Luz is situated in a former carriage house-cum-garage that Munoz and Torres transformed into a sleek Nuevo Latino venue. Luz has brought Cuban cuisine and a congenial style of service to Clinton Hill. 

“Our Pratt training gave us the freedom to design and build our restaurants the way we wanted them,” says Torres, who is also an architect in private practice and senior designer at Ted Moudis Associates. “It’s such a great feeling to put your education to use. We’re proud to be Pratt alumni and happy to be in Brooklyn.”

JuYoung Oh (M.S. Arch. Interior Design ’09) at Barking Brown, 468 Myrtle Avenue

Barking Brown
“When I first moved to this area to attend Pratt, art school students and professionals were not only looking for functional items or services, but also for places where they could satisfy their aesthetic considerations, which not many could do,” recalls JuYoung Oh (M.S. Arch. Interior Design ’09). “I felt there was a need to open a boutique-style store, which carried a range of interesting and well-designed items and services, since I also needed such things.” 

During her second semester at Pratt, in 2007, Oh opened Barking Brown at 468 Myrtle Avenue; it was her first U.S. business. Byme Brooklyn Café and Boutique at 519 Myrtle Avenue followed in 2009. (Her third venture, 232 Korean Restaurant and Bar, opened at Taaffe Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant in January 2011.) Oh worked as the interior designer for all three projects, experiencing the entire process from both the client and designer side. “It was sometimes frustrating to be caught in between,” she muses, and credits Pratt with teaching her “to find the most appropriate solution in a balanced way, without compromising myself.” Though she oversees the three businesses herself, Oh still finds time for freelance work.

Gina Jankowski (B.F.A. Fine Arts ’05) at The Emerson, 561 Myrtle Avenue

The Emerson
“I wanted a place where I could expose artists to the public and thought this would be more fun than a coffee bar,” says Pratt alumna and artist Gina Jankowski (B.F.A. Fine Arts ’05), the co-owner, manager, and art curator of The Emerson, a bar and art gallery named for its location near Emerson Place and for poet Ralph Waldo, whose famous quotation “Every artist was first an amateur” influences the artistic spirit of the place. The poet’s ceramic bust occupies a place of honor atop a vintage jukebox, across from a glowing red bar.

So far, Pratt alumni are the only artists whose work Jankowski has displayed in two-month solo exhibitions. “The first show sold six works,” she recalls, “and the only show that didn’t sell still got the artist a commission.”

Billed as Clinton’s Hill’s “transcendent lounge,” The Emerson opened at 561 Myrtle Avenue in 2010 and caught on quickly, its bright red doors open until 4 AM on weekends. A pool table, art-covered walls, and leather banquettes contribute to the clubby atmosphere.

Joshua Stulman (M.F.A. Painting ’10) at Hadas Gallery, 541 Myrtle Avenue

Hadas Gallery
“This isn’t a Chelsea gallery,” says Joshua Stulman (M.F.A. Painting ’10). “But it should be a good starting point for emerging artists in Brooklyn.” Stulman is curator and manager of Hadas Gallery, a non-profit educational and cultural organization established in January 2011 under the aegis of the Rohr Jewish Student Center at Pratt. A painter and illustrator himself, Stulman oversees rotating exhibitions at the gallery’s 541 Myrtle Avenue location across from the Prattstore. Hadas Gallery is open to the public and hosts workshops, artist lectures, and cultural events. A benefit exhibition of donated artworks reflecting the diversity of Brooklyn starts on Friday, November 18 and culminates in a silent auction on Sunday, December 11.

Vadim Kiyaev (B.F.A. Digital Arts ’09) and his sister at Pushkin Creperie Bakery, 541 Myrtle Avenue

Pushkin
“I spent a lot of time in this neighborhood,” says Vadim Kiyaev (B.F.A. Digital Arts ’09), “and thought this kind of place would be a good idea.” Growing up in Tashkent, Russia (now Uzbekistan), Kiyaev dreamed of some day running a café. With his earnings from making television commercials as a freelance computer animator, Kiyaev opened Pushkin Creperie Bakery at 541 Myrtle Avenue in July 2011 after designing and building its furnishings and graphics himself. In naming his business, Kiyaev was inspired by the Pratt cannon—“pushka” in Russian—that he associated with the novelist/poet Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia’s greatest national geniuses.  Kiyaev added “creperie” as a reminder of the French influence on Russian culture in Pushkin’s time. He added “bakery” as a compliment to his sister’s culinary expertise.  Located across the street from Myrtle Hall, Pushkin entices Pratt students, faculty, and staff alike with hot-from-the-oven cookies, crêpes in many varieties, and truly remarkable coffee. 

Text: Adrienne Gyongy
Photos: Luz: Raine Manley Robertson (Photography ’12); Barking Brown: Jonathan Weitz; The Emerson, Hadas Gallery, and Pushkin: Yael Malka (Photography ’12)