December 5, 2016

Presidential Search Forum

Presidential Search Forum

In September, the Presidential Search Committee held two forums which were open to students, staff, and faculty, as they began their search for a replacement to President Schutte. The objective of the forums was to engage with the community and find out what characteristics or qualities we would like to see in the next president of Pratt. Between the two forums, many important and difficult issues were brought forth, the focal points centering around diversity, gentrification, sustainability, faculty and staff experience, and how to engage with the community inside and outside of Pratt.

Diversity and Social Climate: The topics of diversity, gentrification, and changing the social climate came up most frequently, and here are the issues that the guests presented to the forum.
  • For campus climate, we need a president who supports diversity and social movements. But how can we test the sincerity? In the interview process, we need to talk about the bigger ideas, but we must also ask about their previous experience with inclusion to determine how they facilitated and participated in issues of diversity and equality. How have they personally handled racism, sexism, classism?
  • We need to work on the recruitment and retention of People of Color, not only the student body, but also faculty and staff members. We need People of Color to represent the Pratt community and to broaden and deepen the way all students engage with the campus and with the outside community.
  • This brings up the issue of socio-economics--How is the tuition of this institution hindering minority students from applying and attending? What can we do to give more assistance to those students? And what can we do to ensure that students aren’t graduating with massive amounts of debt?
  • We need to start researching new models for the art and design school, perhaps we can find one that is more cost effective, and maybe we could make the cost of curriculum the same as a public college. Pratt cannot be an online school, too much would be lost without the in-class experience. We can't forgo the one on one interaction, but the current model is not financially sustainable. We need to start considering what we want our school to look like in 25 years. Pratt is a landmark, and we need a better quality of sustainability to continue being a landmark.
  • With the rising cost of tuition, how are we improving our interaction with technology? How do we even define technology? We need to see it as platform that has the ability to enhance our model of teaching and make it accessible for a larger, more diverse group of students. How do we change the vocabulary? In the interview process, we need to ask the candidate what their definition of technology is.
  • We need to diversify the curriculum, how quickly and efficiently can we introduce and normalize the teaching of minority artists?
  • The new president must also have experience dealing with Title 9 and issues of gender equality.
  • We have to consider our role in the gentrification of the Clinton Hill neighborhood, and really see how we are displacing the community. We need a president who is more nuanced and educated in the subject, someone who can see the aggressive, detrimental roles other schools have taken in the surrounding neighborhoods. We are a part of a historic community and we are in a very delicate position. We need a president who can think through the issues here, and they should not be the leader of the Clinton Hill community, but they should play a significant role in how Pratt students are involved in the neighborhood.
  • We must also do more with our social justice involvement. We have to take our place with social mobility and keep up with Brooklyn. People should believe the hype, how can we leverage that excitement to build the infrastructure in the neighborhood and to grow the school?
From these points, it is obvious that the next president of Pratt must have a great knowledge of a multitude of social issues and must be conscious of the way Pratt interacts and influences the surrounding neighborhood. But we also need someone who will understand the academic pressures of going to such a specific and intense institution. This raises the question, can a person from the industry do that? Should we be searching for a professional educator or a professional creative? Which would be most beneficial to the students, staff, and faculty?

Students, Staff, and Faculty: Here are the issues that were brought forth about the on-campus academic environment.
  • We need transparency with money. A president who will show us how the money and the endowment are being used. We need transparency, and someone who understands the importance of the students and works to help them financially. In the interview process, a good question to ask would be how the candidate plans to expand our endowment. What kind of upgrades would they make in our facilities and how would they help the faculty become full-time?
  • The concern with a person from industry is that they might follow the trend of moving away from full-time faculty. Many faculty members at Pratt want the students to have full time and part time faculty, a group who would share responsibilities with administration and understand that the students are what make this institution successful.
  • A person who can handle both being the head of the university and engaging with the students, while also being able to handle financial issues and have a healthy relationship with faculty and staff.
  • Someone who can see that certain departments need a better understanding of the mechanics of teaching. The candidate needs first hand knowledge and experience with higher education. Teaching students is at the center of what we are doing at Pratt, and we need someone with that background.
  • Candidate should be interested in transdisciplinary arts as we move forward and continue to move away from the “traditional” classroom setting. Creating a better interdisciplinary program would help build bridges into other departments. We need a president who helps accomplish this task.
  • Needs to appreciate the liberal arts education. The core of the job is teaching, and we need teachers who are hired for how they teach, not just what they can do in their personal or professional careers.  
  • This is not a trade school, but an important and reputable institution. We need to pay more attention to what the alumni are doing and how they have succeeded in the professional and creative worlds.
  • We need someone who can break the barriers at Pratt. It can be very difficult to engage with the on-campus community here. How do we fix that? How do we create a more open and welcoming environment?
  • Personality is important, we need someone who is never in the ivory tower. They need to engage with students, faculty, and staff. Communication is of the utmost importance and they need to build personal connections with students.

After these two forums, and a student forum held by SGA, the process of hiring the new president is in the hands of the Presidential Search Committee and the Board of Trustees. The search committee will engage with a reputable search firm and present this laundry list of social and academic issues, along with the preferred personality characteristics. The search firm will then begin narrowing down the field and eventually they will present 3 or 4 candidates to the Board of Trustees, who will then vote on their top choice after a rigorous interview process. Unfortunately, the candidates are confidential and this limits the involvement of the community in the process. With the issues of diversity, sustainability, gentrification, and community, it is all about breaking down silos and figuring out how to engage the students in this moment. This decision will have a tremendous impact on the Institute and the surrounding neighborhood. 

Written by: Taylor Rasnick

December 2, 2016

Fresh Meet

Thank you to everyone who helped make Fresh Meet awesome! We had a great turnout of first years, upperclassmen and advisers and I heard some incredible advice. For those of you who could not make it, here is a short list of advice to consider as the class registration date gets closer.

  1. Reach out to upperclassmen in the major you are interested in. Because they are currently going through the program they can give you more accurate student based experiences of professors, knowledge of the degree audit, department expectations and more. If you do not know anyone try asking friends, finding the majors’ public groups on Facebook or dropping by the Center for Career and Professional Development to ask us, the Career Ambassadors, if we know anyone.
  2. Join clubs and organizations. They are a great way to meet new people who you know are interested in some of the same things you are.
  3. Take Connections. It is a five week class in the Spring and is a requirement for many of the on campus jobs.
  4. Attend as many Pratt events as possible.
  5. Try out different time management strategies now to find which one works best for you.
  6. Bring your resume to the Center for Career and Professional Development. We are holding drop in hours this semester Monday 2-3:30PM and Wednesday 10:30AM-12:30PM where you can bring in your resume, no appointment needed. Or we can help you set up an appointment with one of our career advisors for resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, grad school applications and job hunting strategies. 

    Written by: Bree Balsamo
    Images provided by: Bree Balsamo

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May 11, 2016

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Ventker

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Ventker

In early February, I had the chance to speak with Pratt Alumna Emily Ventker. Emily graduated in 2011 with a BFA in Writing for Performance, Publication, and Media and is now working as Manager of Motion Graphics at NBC Sports. We had the opportunity to really focus on her personal professional development and how she handled the transition out of Pratt and into the workplace as a creative. A sports fanatic myself, it was thrilling to speak to someone with the same enthusiasm and knowledge of the sports world, and to consider all the career possibilities that await. Her advice is insightful and invaluable. I hope you all enjoy.

Tell us a little about yourself and your time at Pratt.

I am originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia. On campus, I was involved with the Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity for 4 years. I was a member of the Inter-Greek Council and Program Board, worked at the Library, and was on Orientation Staff, even serving as the coordinator in the fall of 2010.

How do you think your experience at Pratt helped shape you as the artist/creative professional you are now?

At Pratt, I think the creative critiquing process was a massive help. Learning how to cope and deal with other people's thoughts, how to learn from critiques quickly and how to manage your time. It means that all nighters aren't scary - and I deal with a lot of those at my job now. But nothing can really prepare you for the real world, you just go out and use what you learned.

What were some of the challenges you faced while at Pratt and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced was the isolation within the majors. I constantly saw the same people, was in classes with the same people.  It was hard to find new inspiration when I was consistently around similar people. I think you need to see outside yourself in order to grow as an artist. So I joined Greek Life, got involved on campus, and through that I was able to meet people from other majors and reach outside that bubble to gain different perspectives.

Did you have any internships while at Pratt? How did this influence or shape your career path?

During my Senior year, I was a Nickelodeon production intern from 2010 to 2011. It was a fantastic experience, I learned so much and actually got experience as a scriptwriter. I didn’t go run errands or get coffee, but I got to sit at the writers table and bounce ideas off of the showrunners and other, older writers. During my internship, I began to write and doctor animated shows for preschool age kids. From that, I was asked by a head showrunner to write for The Wix, they just took a chance on me and it was amazing. It’s an example of how a cold application can work. I applied to that first internship online without knowing anybody in the company, so no inside connections, but my resume was strong and I got called. There is hope!

Can you tell us how you began working at your current job?

Right now I am working as a Producing Manager of Motion Graphics for NBC Sports. It was another cold application process. After working with Nickelodeon, I  worked with MTV and VH1, producing the 100 greatest shows and short sketch comedies until they laid off the entire production team. So from there I floated around and worked in politics and other things, really anywhere I could find a job. But my dream was to work in sports television. And this was all about timing, because a few years ago NBC got the rights to the Barclays Premier League and,  again, I did a cold application. But for this one, I wrote a complete love letter about how much it would mean to have the opportunity to work with soccer. I wanted to show that I was one of the people who actually understood sports and especially soccer, which isn’t huge in the States. It took four months to hear back, I had applied in May and didn't get the job until September. And it's still a baby network; it has only been around for about three years, but it is protected under the parent company.

What does a normal day look like at NBC Sports?

There isn’t really a normal day at work. Because I do Sunday Night Football, I work Monday through Friday and Sundays. Like with the Super Bowl, there is a constant need to pay attention to the athletes, who is injured, and to the producer of the brand. It is my job to see the promotion created from start to finish, and be knowledgeable on the brand. Some of my projects are the new promotions for the NHL, the major push to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, and I did the promotions for the Sochi Olympics in 2014. That experience was 18 days of living at the office. It’s a 24 hour network, so if the Kings win a game at 10 pacific time, I have to go in at 1 in the morning to create the promotions that are shown on the morning news. We have four creative directors who we have to get approval from and who decide what the tone of the spot will be. Then we have a team of maybe 12 designers whose job it is to figure out how to translate and create spots within the vision of the brand and the directors. We have to think about what face NBC wants to have. And there is so much that goes into this process, and so much that I have learned from it. I studied design theory and typography, I learned about software color correction and the differences between paper color and digital color. Those were all basic things that were completely out of my major at Pratt but I was willing to learn and I did quickly. Design is a different type of story telling, and I had to learn in order to navigate what creative directors wanted and how to handle all the different creative ideas. Now, I know how to write and create presentations for the designers, how to articulate storyboards, and how to work in short form for under-30 seconds promotion spots. And the content I get to work with is a dream come true.

How did you transition from attending an art school to being in a professional workplace?

Well the benefit of being in television is that it’s professional to an extent. We like to joke that we are all like Liz Lemon, wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Of course, all the people in administration show up in their suits, but the kids in production are creating all the work and we like to be comfortable. I go to work at 10 in the morning, but I usually work late into the night. The only really big change I experienced was having the client in the building. That is the boss; the client that is paying for a service that I am creating. It’s a good mentality to have. There is a difference in working for yourself versus working for a client. You have to learn to serve the purpose of the client, regardless of what your personal creative opinion is. You have to fulfill the need of the client.
Where do you hope to see your career in ten years?

I have two places I would hope to see myself in ten years. Either I would be working in promotional design and marketing still, but as the Creative Director. I would be able to dictate the mass idea and control the project. And I would still be focused in sports. Or, my other hope would be to work as a feature story producer within the soccer team.

Do you have any advice for current Pratt students?

Don’t be afraid to defend your work. It is deflating when you get told that your work isn’t the best, but you need to have the guts to defend your work and the vision you have for it. If you can justify why you make certain creative choices, then you will gain respect from the teachers. Have the conviction to stand up for yourself, while still being open to ideas on how to improve. Two separate approaches to creative visions with an open creative dialogue will produce the best work.

Written by: Taylor Rasnick

May 9, 2016

Gotham Tours: The CementBloc

Health, wellness, and pharmaceuticals are a far cry from the usual answers of media and entertainment you expect to hear as an industry of choice for an upcoming creative. On Monday, March 21st, on our trip to CementBloc their employees shared the same sentiment (with the exception of one copy-writer). Despite never having thought that healthcare advertising would be where they ended up, the creatives at CementBloc love what they do and working in an industry that allows them the chance to try new things.

CementBloc, or The Bloc as it’s more commonly referred, recently moved into their 2 floor space in the Financial District. Despite initial concerns about the location, they have fallen in love with the amazing East River view and really enjoyed the chance to design an office to embrace their industrial aesthetic and create one of the most inviting open office setups I have ever seen (plus they allow dogs which is always a plus).

Our visit started out with a short Q&A session with an Art Director and 2 Copywriters about what working for The Bloc is really like. This allowed for a great chance to be walked through the conception of a current project. The thing about the wellness industry, they explained, is that it’s a place where new ideas are constantly being embraced. We have all seen the magazine ads that do more to turn you off of a product then sell it —that’s not CementBloc. They take those outdated, scary ads and make them amazing! Just like any other advertising agency, they go through all the stages. Sometimes, there’s the added challenge of having to update one of those outdated concepts to look modern, and sometimes it’s about coming up with something completely new.

The next portion of our visit was the office tour. As somebody who finds a lot of fault with most open office plans, I found theirs truly enjoyable. There were plenty of spaces that allowed for collaboration and appreciation of the view without getting too close into the desk spaces. The noise level was at a minimum on both floors (though apparently the 2nd floor is the quieter space). As mentioned earlier, they got to design this space and that allowed them to make it as open as possible. The main offices are situated in the center area and have glass walls to the outer office which creates transparency both physically and mentally. The idea to put offices at the center allows the outer part of the office and best views to be open for everybody to share, which really helps with the sense of community within the space. 

As a final piece of our tour, our guide introduced us to The Bloc’s internship program, and as somebody who has been a design intern and currently works with students looking to intern, I can tell you that their program is high quality. Interns at The Bloc become their own mini team. They hire intern Art Directors, Copywriters, Account Managers, Data Analysts, etc., and as a team you get to work together on actual client projects with the opportunity to pitch to the client at the end of the experience! Isn’t that amazing? Along with the projects there are numerous professional development opportunities built in throughout the summer to really help make the experience worthwhile. 

The Bloc was a great place to visit. They were really open to making it a great learning experience for students and showed us the great design work taking place there!

Written by: Samantha Harvey
Images from individual company website, not for reuse

May 3, 2016

EACH Jewels

Abby Dubois, a Pratt Institute Alumna and entrepreneur, leads us through her journey that began while she was working with accessories and handbags during her Junior year. She discovered her love for jewelry design while working for Juicy Couture. Although she graduated with a Fashion Design degree and participated in the department’s show, most of her jobs have been in jewelry. She talks about how one's major doesn’t define a career path and the launch of her new company.

Could you tell us what you’re working on now?

I recently launched my own company, EACH Jewels ( , which focuses on minimalist design and maximum function.  EACH is best known for its Channel Stud earrings that hold earbuds in for working out, traveling, and day-to-day activities.  These earrings are at the intersection of athleisure, activewear, and tech, which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in fashion.  The Channel Stud has a pending utility patent, so they can only be purchased from EACH, which has given us complete market share in a major growth category within fashion.  As of right now, I am working on expanding our assortment of earrings and branching out into other related products.

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How would you describe your average day?

There isn't necessarily an average day when you run your own company.  I do all of the design and build all of the models myself in Rhino (3D modeling software), so I spend a good portion of my day working on that. Research and development is also important as all of our earrings must withstand the rigors of exercise and daily wear.  Some days I go into Manhattan to visit my caster and polisher.  All of our product is Made in America, which is incredibly important to me.  Additionally, I spend time doing direct outreach to our customers through social media.

How did you get your first clients/customers?

Our first customers have been family and friends, as well as people who have found us through social media and on our e-commerce site.

There is a theme in your work. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My aesthetic is very geometry/shape driven.  The function has to be built into the design of every piece.  As EACH expands into new earring styles and other categories, this will continue to be a huge part of my work.  For the Channel Studs, my biggest priority after functionality, is that the earrings have to look as good with the headphones in as they do without. By taking this into account it allows me to apply functionality to versatile shapes in a unique and modern way.

How was the idea of the Channel Stud born?

I was running at the gym after work one night and I was really stressed out. I was blowing off steam, and I saw a girl a couple treadmills over wearing pyramid studs, which were big a couple years ago. I thought they were a pair that I designed, because every jewelry designer has designed a pair of pyramid studs at some point.  I kept looking over and it looked like her earbuds were covered by her pyramid studs.  From the angle I was looking at them, I thought they were clipped into her earrings.  I thought to myself “that’s such a cool idea, I want her earrings.”  After a few more seconds, I could tell her earbuds where not attached to her earrings.  It was just in that quick moment that I thought I saw something that wasn't actually there.  I realized that the earrings that I wanted did not actually exist, but what if I could create them?  I did not know what to do with the idea at first, so I asked my dad (who is also a runner).  He loved the idea and suggested applying for a patent.  He came up with lots of new ideas to make the concept even better and we built 3D models.  After a month of me iterating and revising technical drawings, and him drafting claims and coming up with alternative solutions and broader applications, we filed a provisional patent.

How do you think your experience at Pratt helped shape you to be the artist you are today?

It made me think more out of the box within a technical framework, because from a fashion perspective Pratt is a lot of sewing, draping and flat pattern making. That translated into me thinking three dimensionally, by starting with something flat and making it into something 3D.  This process also made an easy transition from apparel to jewelry. As a fashion design major thinking about how people wear things is intuitive to me. Most jewelry designers think about the object; which is just as important, but I think my background allows me to understand what people are going to wear, as opposed to what people are going to look at.

Can you tell us a little about your internships?

My first internship was the summer after my Freshman year at threeASFOUR, which is a conceptual fashion house.  I learned a lot about draping and pattern making, which gave me a leg up before my sophomore year.  After sophomore year I interned at Catherine Malandrino, which I loved. I started off working on embellishments for apparel, which then turned into jewelry.  This was the inception of her first jewelry launch so my timing was perfect.  The following summer, I interned at Juicy Couture where I really immersed myself in learning Adobe Illustrator for jewelry.  When I learned Illustrator for apparel I learned one very specific portion of the program, whereas with jewelry I learned a completely different application for the program, allowing me to think more three-dimensionally in a technical way.  This new approach to my design process and creativity really resonated with me, and has directly determined my career path ever since.

Right after graduation I freelanced for a month and a half; then I worked at Coach.  Jewelry was not the focus there, so then I switched to Eddie Borgo, which was a bit more creative.  Afterwards I worked at Miriam Haskell, then BaubleBar followed by BCBG. I moved around a lot, which was crucial to my growth and development as a designer.  All of my experiences and exposure at these companies helped lay the foundation to starting my own company.  If I started a company right after Pratt, it would have been a steep learning curve.  After over half a decade of experience, I now know my next steps and can strategically plan and execute each step of the process – it is far more than sitting in front of a computer and drawing all day!  No designer can go into starting their own company being fully prepared, but I truly feel that my experiences have contributed tremendously to my comfort level in splitting off on my own.

What are your future goals for the company?

Steady growth and financial stability while still maintaining a steady stream of new development and ethical production in America.  One thing that I learned while working in other companies is that you do not know what goes on in overseas factories.  With local production I can see every facility, and better understand and impact each step of the process.  I can make sure there is proper ventilation and working conditions for everyone who has a hand in my product.  This is important to me, because I believe my fabricators are a direct extension of my company.  At Pratt I was used to being the maker, so when I got out into the industry, it felt counter intuitive not seeing where things were made and being part of the process.

Do you have any advice for current students?

I would advise every student to not be afraid to intern in fields outside of their major if it is a company they are really excited about.  I loved Juicy Couture as a consumer, so I was so excited to work there regardless of what department it was in.  There are plenty of successful designers that have grown from their initial major in school into a completely different area in the industry just by being open to new opportunities.  Sometimes, even if you don't intend to go into a specific area of a company, it can happen naturally and often be the best fit.  Don't always choose to do what you are best at.  Choose to do what you enjoy the most and what you are the most passionate about because the skills will come through experience and practice.

Don't always choose to do what you are best at.  Choose to do what you enjoy the most and what you are the most passionate about because the skills will come through experience and practice.
Be sure to check out EACH for some very cool jewelry pieces! 
Written by: Jazz Seijii 

April 29, 2016

Gotham Tours: The Java Project

For our first Gotham Tour we visited The Java Project. This experimental art gallery space occupies the first floor of The Java Studios and the director, Dakota Sica, is preparing for their second year. In addition to offering more unconventional exhibits, Sica is preparing to launch CritFair, a series of public critiques where artists can have a large group of fellow artists look at their work and give them feedback. Sica graduated from Pratt in 2013 with a Bachelor’s in sculpture, and after our tour I got the opportunity to ask him about life after Pratt, the Java Project and art.

How do you think Pratt helped you prepare for your art career and what were your biggest challenges after Pratt?

I didn’t realize that when I took my classes and worked in residential life and woodshop and participated in sculpture club that many of those people I met were going to become part of my life after Pratt. So a big challenge for me was going from being really involved in a community to creating my own opportunities and then becoming an owner of a business where the pressure falls on me. I’m not part of large entity and it’s my responsibility to see the vision through and that can be scary. Along with the Java Project, I also work at Leslie Feely, an art gallery in the Upper East side, which focuses more on modern art Between my education from Pratt and working at The Java Project, I had the tools to overcome finding a job while still being involved in the arts.  


Can you elaborate on how the Java Project came to being?
So at the time, Java Studios only used the second and third floor, and the first floor hadn’t been renovated yet. I used to have a studio in Java Studios, and I was curating small art shows with other people. Before they started renovating the first floor, Ori [owner of the Java Studios and a fellow Pratt alumni] and his colleagues approached me. They said they wanted to make the gallery space where the studio community could display their work and create more interaction between artists. My initial reaction was I didn’t know what to do and starting an art gallery wasn’t something I had thought about. Actually, that’s where the name The Java Project came from. I look at The Java Project as something that is evolving into a space where different artists contrive more experimental work that is judged on its artistic merit instead of its commercial value. Now The Java Project is going onto its second year thanks to sponsorship, Ori and the Java Studios.

How do you select artists to show at the Java Project?

My criteria is that the work challenges the space and the people who are viewing the space. How does an exhibit look? How does it feel? How does it smell and taste? When someone enters how do they feel: scared, happy, put on the defensive? And so far the process for finding artists has been self-selecting. I’ll put out an idea of a show, and it seems naturally someone will come forward or I meet someone and they have a similar idea. For example, for the longest time I’d been wanting to base an art show around eating or food but there aren’t a lot of artists who do food art. And sure enough someone was referred to a group called Table Table. They curate theatrical dining experiences around specific foods. A furniture  maker will make the table and chairs, one person cooks, and other people do a series of performances. They served this big pot of soup in homage to how artists used to have peasant-like meals.

What’s the experiential difference between working in a traditional art gallery versus curating an experimental gallery? Is the installation process different?

At Leslie Feely, it’s a lot of auction houses, secondary art market, big businesses. The Java Project is more of a  movement where the art gallery is more historical. But I think it's good to know both the history of art and the people that came before you while I’m creating this other culture. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next twenty or thirty years, but right now it’s interesting to be involved in artists’ careers at both the beginning and the end. As for installation process it is really the same process, different goals. The Java Project is pushing the boundaries of what people expect in an art gallery space. I’ve had artists carve, paint and wallpaper the walls. We have an upcoming exhibit where an artist is going to change the entire floor and another is going to work with live animals. At Leslie Feely the goal isn’t to rework the space but instead to make sure things make sense together historically; while at the Java Project I want to make sure found objects on the floor relate to a photograph on the wall or if two artists approach work in a similar way.

How do you set boundaries at The Java Project?

Because I worked at the wood shop, I got to experience how to make, break and fix things. We are careful though since we are fostering a public community, and we don’t want to promote something that is wrong. Work can be good when it is political or inventive, but it can’t be overt. And that’s tough. I’ve put on shows  that I didn’t think were offensive and then I’ll get a complaint.  But that’s a case-by-case thing. I’m not into the censorship game. The only thing I worry about is if the work being installed could physically harm someone. Like if objects can fall from the ceiling or if they are too sharp.  We had an artist who wanted to freeze the entire floor when it snowed but we had to say no because it would have been too slippery.


Where do you see for the Java Project and yourself in these upcoming years?

We have a lot of exciting things coming up this second season. We’ve been reaching out to more curators and smaller galleries for more collaborations. We started going to art fairs. One of the things I am looking forward to is The Crit Fair where we are going to offer artists the chance for group critiques so artists can learn new ways of seeing their work as well as creating communication between artists, and hopefully more collaborations. We also have a new season with WORA.

Do you have any advice for Pratt students?

I would tell them to get the most out of their education now and to do the best work they can do. It’s a really beautiful place where creative ideas are constantly flowing and everyone is aspiring and on the verge of this breakthrough, and that is really fertile grounds. After college, I would encourage them not to forget all that creative energy and use it to propel themselves forward in whatever industry they chose. Start a small fashion line, found your own company, do your own graphic design thing. Those things pay off the most in the long run because there is no specific straight line to success.

The Java Project was an awesome Gotham Tour, and getting the opportunity to talk to a Pratt Alumni was invaluable. For more articles and to see what else we are up to connect with us on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

Written by: Bree Balsamo
Images provided by Dakota Sica

February 19, 2016

Food Makes Everything Casual

Let’s be honest: networking events are inherently awkward. American social etiquette teaches people to not make their intentions and goals apparent, but that is exactly what a networking event is about. And when placed in this position, most people falter without their social etiquette protocol to fall back on.
I will readily confess that I am part of the “most”. Despite the fact I’ve been to many professional development events during my time here at Pratt, I’m still caught off guard when someone asks me about my future plans and goals. So when I went to Lunch With A Professional on November 7th, I fell back into old habits.Get my name tag, pick the best sandwich, find the nearest corner and watch as everyone else trickles in. I assumed others would follow a similar plan of action, while the professionals would talk amongst themselves, waiting for students to come up and ask  them questions.  

As it turns out there is something humanizing about food. Alongside students, the professionals were eating too, and it broke the prescribed tension. As as an awkward college kid, there was something trustworthy about the fact these professionals struggled, just like me, to keep their sandwich together. And the other students felt it too. From the beginning, students and professionals mingled, conversations bubbling from between the CCPD’s trademark bookcases. The talking didn’t even stall when the CCPD staff directed the remaining students and I into the director’s cozy, colored office with an Interior Design Alumnus.

In the Director’s homey office, I witnessed the most casual professional conversation between students and alumni I’ve ever seen. Along with the topic of careers and career paths, we discussed travel experiences, the Mars colonization program, new vending machines and everything between. I appreciated that the alumnus took time to ask all the students their major and suggest career opportunities he knew existed.

Once everyone was fed,  we got to the main part of the event, the one-on-ones with a professional based on majors. The staff called to get together and put students with professionals. I was grouped together with two other writing majors and a professional who graduated from bachelor degree in writing from Pratt.    

The writing degree Pratt offers is flexible and can easily be adapted for other career paths. Take for instance the fact that our alumna currently runs her own political dance company. So as a result, it was hard to structure our discussion around any common workplace expectations. Instead she questioned all three of us on our current projects, future plans and how our schooling fit into that. It wasn’t one of those cases where someone gives you generic information that might possibly apply to your situation. She asked questions that gave her the necessary information to assess our individual situations and structured her advice based on our needs.

This is was the first installation of Lunch with a Professional, and I hope it continues. As someone who is an awkward soul in crowds, the small intimate setup really allowed me to ask what I wanted without feeling overwhelmed by a crowd.  

On Saturday, April 9th, the CCPD will be holding a Lunch with a Professional for international students. To find out more about Center for Career and Professional Development events  follow the Career Ambassadors on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and find us on Facebook (Pratt Success)!

Written by: Bree Balsamo