Undergraduate Fine Arts
The six areas of emphasis in the Fine Art major, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics, and Jewelry offer a deep and sustained dialogue between imagining and making. Embedded in a curriculum of required and elective courses in art history and the liberal arts and sciences, Fine Art studio courses impart the modes of creative problem-solving, technical skills, and risk-taking that transform students into accomplished artists who have confidence in their ideas and who know how to continue taking their work to the next level.
Graduates of Pratt’s esteemed BFA program in Fine Art have pursued diverse creative and professional careers as studio artists, community artists and educators, teachers of artists in prominent institutions, gallerists, art entrepreneurs, museum curators, arts administrators, art critics, and art historians. Pratt’s central location in Brooklyn’s thriving art community offers students many opportunities for integrating their Pratt education with professional networking through internships, meetings and lectures with visiting artists and critics, gallery walks, and curated exhibitions of students’ work that are open to the public. Every Pratt student and graduate has access to the institution’s career development and counseling resources, including databases of jobs and paid internships in New York, the creative capital of the United States.
The fundamental component of studio education is the critique where fellow students, faculty and invited critics address each student’s work in a context of open, constructive dialogue. All of Pratt’s faculty members are committed teachers and working artists with international reputations. They bring a wide range of critical perspectives and expressive approaches to their teaching so that students are exposed to the diversity of ideas and processes that characterize art-making today. Pratt’s excellent facilities and dedicated technical staff generously support students’ ambitions as they hone their ideas and give them form. Sources of inspiration and nourishment are close at hand—all Pratt students have free access with their ID to the Brooklyn Museum of Art as well as to the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Art and Design, and the Frick Collection.
“My first lesson was to see objectively, to erase all ‘meaning’ of the thing seen. Then only, could the real meaning of it be understood and felt.” - Ellsworth Kelly, Pratt alumnus
The Program’s Structure, BFA in Fine Art
First-year students take the Foundation Studio Core curriculum, along with core Art History (AH) and Liberal Arts (LAS) courses, and begin the major curriculum in the fall of the second year. While continuing with their required AH and LAS coursework, second-year students pursue more focused courses in Drawing and Life Study, as well as in their chosen areas of emphasis, whether Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics, or Jewelry. Third-year majors take more specialized and technical courses in their areas of emphasis as well as LAS and AH upper-level electives. Throughout the three years of the major, students take required Fine Art Seminars that address social, historical and critical issues in contemporary art.
In addition to their required courses, majors have 16–22 open credits to pursue additional courses (even minors) in liberal arts/art history, in other Fine Art areas, or in other departments at Pratt such as Photography, Film-video, Art Education, Digital Arts, and Communications Design. The senior year is particularly focused on developing a body of work for exhibition in the spring semester and various departmental electives in professional practice help students prepare their portfolios and make a realistic plan for managing their careers and approaching funders, galleries, residency opportunities, and employers.
Elective courses might include traditional media such as charcoal drawing, bronze casting, etching and ceramics, as well as topics in new media, design disciplines, and contemporary conceptual genres. Students are encouraged to plan unique course combinations by pairing requirements with electives that amplify their emerging studio practice. The last two years of study at Pratt lead to focused aesthetic directions, developing those skills required to realize them professionally. All Fine Arts majors produce a thesis project in their final year, culminating in a public exhibition of their work on the Pratt campus.