Student-made animations recognizing figures from LGBTQ+ history, a conversation about gentrification in Brooklyn, and interviews with alumni artists on how they have worked through the pandemic are just some of the engaging stories from the Pratt community you can watch online. Check out a few selections below, including recent TV segments, YouTube features, and digitized archives.
Gentrification and Community
Ron Shiffman, professor emeritus in the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE), joined the Daily Show webcast for a discussion on gentrification, how it affects the displacement of people and culture, and how anyone moving into neighborhoods can contribute to responsible change. The conversation included host Roy Wood Jr. and Jordana Hemingway, Daily Show segment producer. Watch on YouTube.
“We have to arrive at a point where people can improve the quality of their neighborhood and have the choice to stay, not be pushed out for economic reasons.”Ron Shiffman, professor emeritus in the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE), Daily Show webcast
Celebrating LGBTQ+ Icons
Students in 2D Animation Studio 3 led by Assistant Professor Mike Enright created three videos in collaboration with VideoOut, a digital hub for LGBTQ+ identity, history, and culture. The animated mini-bios celebrate LGBTQ+ heroes, including activist for women and animals Frances Power Cobbe, music superstar Elton John, and rock-n-roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Watch on VideoOut.
“Despite facing racism and misogyny, her soulful voice and guitar techniques gave rise to electric blues, wowing audiences at the Cotton Club and Carnegie Hall.”Voiceover on mini-bio of Sister Rosetta Tharpe for VideoOut
Creating Art in Uncertain Times
Visiting Instructor of Foundation Sophia Kayafas co-hosted WNET’s ALL ARTS docuseries Flow State/North Brooklyn Artists, which was filmed during the pandemic. It explores how Brooklyn artists adapted or transformed their practices, with each episode featuring a studio interview with a different creator. They include Pratt alumni Derrick Adams, Lisa Corinne Davis, Coby Kennedy, Fara’h Salehi, and Buket Savci. Watch on PBS and YouTube.
“One thing I feel like Pratt taught me is you don’t need anything to make your art … If you have a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil or whatever, you can always make your art.”Fara’h Salehi, BID ’00, on Flow State/North Brooklyn Artists
Public Access Television Digitized by Pratt Students
From 1983 to 1985, Gay Morning America broadcast on public-access television in New York City. A program made by and for the LGBTQ+ community in Greenwich Village, it featured conversations with local leaders and community figures as well as segments and performances. It was all recorded on now obsolete and degraded U-matic videotape. School of Information students worked on the digitizing of this historic cultural program, created when visibility was crucial. Watch on the Gay Center Audio-Video Archive.
“The tapes offer snapshots of life in New York City at a time when being out was not as easy or accepted, and even more so, challenged by the ongoing AIDS crisis … I felt that documenting them was very important and part of a larger picture of how the community functioned and sustained itself.”Vanessa Castaldo, MSLIS ’22, in an interview with Pratt.edu
Making Art with a Changed Hand
John Powers, BFA Fine Arts (Sculpture) ’98, became known for large-scale abstract installations built from materials like polystyrene and steel. Then in 2021, he had an accident while using a table saw, resulting in the loss of his ring finger and thumb along with damage to his index and middle fingers. In a segment aired a year later on the PBS NewsHour, he shared how he was able to pivot this career-threatening injury into a new inspiration. Watch on PBS and YouTube.
“I had a sense of my hands as characters in my life. What I didn’t have the sense of was how much they shape the way I think.”John Powers, BFA Fine Arts (Sculpture) ’98, on PBS
A New Green Island for NYC
In 2021, a new park opened on the Hudson River, constructed on tulip-shaped concrete piers. Little Island was a collaboration between the UK-based Heatherwick Studio and the New York-based landscape architecture firm MNLA, led by Signe Nielsen, adjunct professor of undergraduate architecture. Nielsen joined Landezine for a conversation about the challenges and rewards of designing a landscape for this unique space, including the experiences it could offer visitors. Watch on YouTube.
“In my youth, I was a ballet dancer, so I thought a lot about choreography and choreographing the way people move through space. … Each time you make a turn, you either look back at the city, or you look out at the river, or you look into the park. It’s a constantly changing sequence of views.”Signe Nielsen, adjunct professor of undergraduate architecture, in conversation with Landezine
A Wearable Art Movement that Started at Pratt
The Art to Wear movement was sparked in the late 1960s by a group of Pratt students teaching each other to crochet. They came from different disciplines, including Jean Williams Cacicedo, BFA Fine Arts ‘70; Marika Contompasis, BID ‘69; Sharron Hedges, BFA Art Education ‘70; Dina Knapp, Graphic Art and Design ‘70; and Janet Lipkin, BFA Fine Arts ‘70. Together, they fostered a shared passion for using textiles in art that was also fashion. In November 2019, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened Off the Wall: American Art to Wear to recognize this American art movement. In a Craft in America: Storytellers episode on PBS, gallerist and collector Julie Schafler Dale discussed their influential work. Watch on Craft in America and YouTube.
“We were mentors and peers to each other. As one of us discovered a new concept, it inspired each of us to grow and develop our own styles.”Janet Lipkin, BFA Fine Arts ‘70, in an interview with Pratt.edu