Posted Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - 7:57 AM

Balenciaga and The Black Alumni of Pratt Partner on Full Scholarships to Diversify Art and Design

Balenciaga and The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) have partnered to establish two full undergraduate scholarships for Pratt Institute students in the School of Design, School of Art, and School of Architecture. These scholarships, funded by a generous gift from Balenciaga, will support diversity within these schools and their professional fields, where diverse talent is often underrepresented.

Fisayo Quadri, BFA ’19, in the 2019 Pratt Fashion Show (photo by Fernando Colon)

Balenciaga and The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) have partnered to establish two full undergraduate scholarships for Pratt Institute students in the School of Design, School of Art, and School of Architecture. These scholarships, funded by a generous gift from Balenciaga, will support diversity within these schools and their professional fields, where diverse talent is often underrepresented. The Balenciaga and The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) Full Scholarship provides a $600,000 commitment to cover full undergraduate attendance—including tuition, fees, room and board, supplies, and books—for two students.

The BAP co-presidents and founder are actively involved in recruitment that is now underway for the first scholarships to be awarded for the fall of 2021, with one supporting an incoming student in the fashion program and the other supporting an incoming student in design, art, or architecture. These will be awarded to students in the United States based on their financial need, artistic merit, and portfolio.

“We are steadfastly committed to bringing a full range of diverse and creative voices to Pratt, and the collaboration and support of dedicated leaders are essential in these efforts. This incredible partnership between Pratt and Balenciaga, fostered by BAP, will help open doors for students who might not otherwise have access to them—an important step toward greater equity in the creative professions,” said Pratt President Frances Bronet.

Systemic issues of inequality and underrepresentation are widespread in the creative fields. As the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) stated in its 2019 Briefing on Diversity & Inclusion in American Fashion, “the fashion industry has so far struggled to reflect the country’s diversity in its workforce across all levels.” The 2019 Design Census from the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) showed that 8% of designers reported themselves as Latinx and 3% as Black. In the 2019 IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Interior Design Compensation Report, only 15% of members reported they had diverse backgrounds. By increasing diversity, these scholarships will contribute to the pipelines into creative professions by elevating talent and voices that have been marginalized. 

Since its founding in 1990, The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) with volunteer leadership has raised over $5 million to further its endowed scholarship effort, offer pre-college awards for high school students of Black and Latinx descent to pursue an art and design education, and help fund other BAP initiatives. 

“Through scholarships and other initiatives, The Black Alumni of Pratt is dedicated to supporting Pratt’s Black and Latinx students and alumni while promoting the benefits of diversity for society at large,” said BAP founder Dwight Johnson. “As we celebrate our 30th year, The Balenciaga and The Black Alumni of Pratt (BAP) Full Scholarship furthers this commitment to advancing academic and career opportunities for talented students.”

“Balenciaga is proud to support the efforts of The Black Alumni of Pratt in providing these undergraduate scholarships to students of Pratt and increasing opportunities for more talents to study in these fields,” said Cedric Charbit, president & CEO of Balenciaga. “The educational benefits of diversity have a tremendous impact on our industry and beyond.”

For more information on the scholarship, please contact admissions@pratt.edu.
Register to attend the Balenciaga and BAP Scholarships Virtual Undergraduate Information Session.