Students from Pratt Institute’s senior printmaking class organized a sale of student artworks on the Institute’s Brooklyn campus to raise funds for the Puerto Rico relief effort following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September. The October 6-7 sale, which featured prints and other works by Pratt students from a range of disciplines, raised over $7,000. All proceeds are going to Direct Relief, a charity based in Goleta, Calfornia, that focuses on distributing disease prevention materials in disaster zones.
The students’ decision to arrange the sale came in response to reports of continuing critical needs on the island in the face of widespread power outages, limited access to clean water, and other challenges. Mallory Smith, (B.F.A. Printmaking ‘18) and Kate Sherman (B.F.A. Printmaking ’18) spearheaded the organization of the event, from putting out a call to students to donate work and preparing it for sale to securing a location on campus for the event and publicizing it through word-of-mouth, posters, and social media outreach.
The initiative was both a personal and practical way for the student artists to raise funds to help others in need. Explaining why they chose to sell their own work, Smith said, “We have so much art around us at Pratt and there are others looking for art actively. We’ve sold a lot of our work from studio for ourselves, so we thought we’d do it for a good cause.”
Smith and Sherman had an extensive network of support for the project from the moment of inception, and noted that everyone—from fellow students and faculty to Studio Manager Caitlin Riordan, Printmaking Technician and Visiting Instructor to Fine Arts Department Chair Jane South—was excited at the proposal and helped them to achieve their objective.
“This project is a great example of how Pratt students are artists of action,” said South. “They are caring, socially responsible artists who activate their creativity to support others in times of need.”
The sale attracted the attention of the Pratt community as well as the general public, and the students saw the success of their efforts to mobilize quickly and raise funds effectively. Commenting on how much there is to be done in Puerto Rico, Smith pointed out, “It’s our drop in the big bucket.”