The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) honored visionaries in art and design at the “2019 Celebration of the Creative Spirit” Scholarship Benefit Gala held on May 7 at the Park Hyatt New York in Manhattan. The annual gala honors individuals and companies in the world of art and design whose accomplishments and values resonate with those of Pratt Institute. Funds raised from the event help to provide Black and Latinx students with stipends and scholarships.
This year, influential abstract artist Frank Stella received the Lifetime of Artistic Excellence Award, presented by artist Sarah Morris. Demna Gvasalia, Creative Director at Balenciaga, was honored with the Creative Spirit Award, and DeMonty Price, President, Chief Operating, Service and Values Officer at RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), received the Creative Spirit Corporate Leadership Award, presented by Susan Chokachi, President and CEO of Gucci America. Alexander Smalls, restaurateur, chef, and author, also received the Creative Spirit Award, presented by actress Cicely Tyson. The emcee for the evening was Lori Stokes, anchor for FOX 5 Good Day New York.
The event was attended by prominent members of New York City’s cultural, philanthropic, civic, and entertainment communities such as the Honorable David N. Dinkins, actress Lupita Nyong’o, gospel vocalist BeBe Winans, and past Celebration of the Creative Spirit honorees Gabriella Morris and Audrey Smalls, as well as Pratt President Frances Bronet, BAP co-presidents Gerri Brown and Darius Somers, and BAP founder Dwight Johnson. The gala was covered by WWD and FOX 5 Good Day New York, and also spotlighted in Fashionista and other media outlets.
Vira Capeci, President of the Americas at Balenciaga, made the announcement that Balenciaga has made a commitment to support the efforts of The Black Alumni of Pratt by providing two four-year scholarships for students of Pratt Institute.
The evening also featured the announcement of the 2019 Marcio Moreira Multicultural Fellowship and McCann Internship winners. Sponsored by global marketing firm McCann Worldgroup, the annual fellowship recognizes top academic junior and senior students studying communications design, film and video, digital arts, photography, and writing. This year’s winners are Lisa Johnson, Christian King, Mark Reyes, and Maria Useche.
Since its establishment in 1990, BAP has raised more than $5 million to further the BAP endowed student scholarship effort, provide pre-college awards for high school students looking to pursue an arts or design education, and help fund other BAP initiatives.
Photo: The Black Alumni of Pratt student escorts David Judkins, Javan Spruill, Christian King, Calyn Pickens-Rich, Lisa Johnson, Maria Useche, Charlene Charriez, and Alexander Mejia (L-R) with Pratt President Frances Bronet (fifth from right) (photo Julie Skarratt)