Spring/Summer 2020

Rethinking the Meaning of Action: Letter from the President

As I write this, we are entering the final stretch of our spring semester, a time when Pratt’s campuses are usually crackling with energy and activity. This year, with the unimaginable shifts that our community faced as COVID-19 spread, that tremendous spirit has dispersed, though signs of its endurance are still present in the digital spaces where we now come together.

But it is undeniable that we are also mourning. We have suffered losses within our community, made all the more heart-wrenching by the loss of the familiar touch points of our daily lives. None of us wanted to leave our amazing campus, to pause indefinitely our face-to-face interactions with one another, or to postpone our much-anticipated year-end celebrations of work well done.

When we first discussed an issue of Prattfolio themed around action, we talked about community involvement, socially engaged practice, and civic responsibility. What we couldn’t imagine then was how those concepts would resonate within our community this spring, when we all felt the collective call to action to lessen the impact of a global pandemic. How civic duty would mean sheltering away from those whose lives we care to protect. How social responsibility would mean physically disconnecting, instead turning to screens and phone calls to maintain the fabric of our network. I am so proud of how our students, faculty, staff, and families not only did their best to adapt to a quickly changing situation but did so while showing a tremendous degree of care and concern for their fellow community members.

I’m also grateful for all in our community who have stepped forward in service, and to those who have reached out to ask how they could help. To create one pathway to assistance, the Institute has activated the Pratt Student Emergency Fund, with contributions going directly to aid students facing unforeseen hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. For information on how to give, please visit

As we reflect back on this year, there is much to appreciate and honor about the incredible work that germinated and came to fruition at Pratt. And we continue to move forward with the creativity and vision of our students and faculty, the dedication of our staff, and the partnership of our community as our guiding forces. It remains our collective charge to take care—to come together, however we can, to shape a more secure and promising future for all.

To our extraordinary class of 2020, and to the 50th reunion class of 1970, who were to share the stage at this year’s Commencement, we celebrate your achievements and your resilience. Graduates of 2020, we wish you all the best as you forge bold new paths ahead.

To each of you, you are in my thoughts and in my work, and I look forward to being in touch again soon.

— Frances Bronet, President

In this issue

People walk in unison in a gallery space
Art Activated

Pratt Fine Arts Fosters Open Exchange with Communities on Campus and Beyond

A grid of Pratt student portraits
Voices of a Generation

Pratt Students Act for the Change They Imagine for the World

People marching in Brooklyn with signs that say Why Not Peace and Supports the Moratorium
Turn, Turn, Turn

50 Years Ago in May, a Flashpoint of a Volatile Era Unified Young People across the Nation, and for Pratt’s Class of 1970, Punctuated Their Final Days as Students at the Institute

About the Cover

Painting of two gloved hands, one green and one blue, interlaced with one another

Nell Brookfield, MFA Painting ’21
I wanna hold your hand, 2020

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to reconsider many aspects of our lives, not the least of which has been the significance of civic responsibility and action for the well-being of the people and communities around us. MFA student Nell Brookfield’s recent work “speaks of the yearning for intimacy that we have paused in order to keep each other safe. Despite our new boundaries and grieving for the loss of physical affection, and what we knew before, there is also a renewed sense of community and closeness to be found between us.”

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