Pratt Institute’s Pratt Young Scholars (PYS) program was highlighted in a segment that aired this week on NY1, the New York City-based news network. Filmed on the Brooklyn campus, the feature includes visits to a studio class and the Archives at Pratt Libraries to explore the past and present of Pratt’s commitment to its community through youth education and outreach. 

“The program mirrors the disciplines available at art and design schools such as Pratt,” says Aileen Wilson, Director of the Center for Art, Design, and Community Engagement K-12 which organizes PYS. Wilson showed reporter Jeanine Ramirez materials dating back to 1897 when arts programming for children began under founder Charles Pratt. 

PYS is a recent expansion of this dedication to arts education for the area community. Established in 2013 by a group of faculty members from across Pratt, PYS is a three-year program offering scholarships to highly motivated New York City public high school students. Alongside college-level art and design classes held after school and on Saturdays, students receive one-on-one guidance on the college application process as well as SAT preparation. 

Several PYS alumni are now college students at Pratt (as reported in a recent story). Jiale Chen, a PYS alumnus who is now a first-year student, told NY1 that PYS “gave me a sense of the expectations I would have in college.” Ajani Stewart, another PYS alumnus and a 2018 Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) PreCollege Summer Program Scholar who is in his first year, related how the encouragement of a teacher motivated him to apply and “that it would be a great experience.”

Alyssa Contreras, a former PYS who is now a junior at Pratt, also shared how her education has fostered a passion for animation. “I never had any experience prior to entering this major but I've learned so much along the way,” she says.

The NY1 story shows current PYS participants in a sketching class led by Brian Brooks, Adjunct Associate Professor in Foundation. Capturing the pose of a live model, they follow in the footsteps of over 50,000 kids who have received hands-on art experience at Pratt over the past 120 years.