On a recent spring weekend, Pratt Institute students transformed Myrtle Avenue Plaza, just outside the Brooklyn campus, into a public showcase of sculpture, video, performance, fashion, photography , etc. The lesson Extension of the foundation: Myrtle Ave Public Projects (MAPP) initiative is a collaboration between the Foundation department and the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership (MABP) engage freshmen in community service.
Foundation is a one-year experience for incoming students in both art school and design school. Foundation Expanded began in 2019 with a focus on civic engagement beyond the studio and the classroom. It is led by the Foundation’s faculty mentorship team which includes Corinne Ulmann, Juan Jofre, Natalie Moore, Sandra Erbacher, Jackie Hoving, Sizhu Li and Andrea Merkx.
“Foundation Expanded is a truly innovative part of the freshman experience at Pratt,” said Leslie Mutchler, president of Foundation. “This is the only opportunity that connects the results of our department to culminate in a unique public experience that our students can participate in at the start of their academic career.”
A long-term installation each year is to wrap three utility boxes in Myrtle Avenue Plaza with vinyl art. This year, Violet Zhang, BArch ’26, created “Full Battery” which uses machine-like shapes to give mechanical boxes a colorful exterior that hints at the functional interior.
Foundation Expanded 2022’s opening weekend, held April 22-24 at Myrtle Avenue Plaza, featured a pop-up store, art installations, and freshman fashion show. Pratt President Frances Bronet and Corinne Ulmann, Associate Professor of Foundation and Director of Foundation Expanded, kicked off the event with welcoming remarks.
“By strengthening connections within Pratt and beyond, Foundation Expanded not only enlivens the place each year by showcasing the creativity and excellence of our students, but also inspires and equips students to strengthen collaboration and l community engagement in their creative practice from year one,” says Ulmann.
The pop-up store featuring student-designed products was set up in a structure with a concept designed by Andi Kausch, BFA Communications Design (Illustration) ’24. Called “Unpacking”, it was made up of translucent materials and modules of drawers and shelves, all developed and manufactured by students Sophia Han, Cesar Hidalgo, Peter Lim and Dwight Wu, in collaboration with Juan Jofre, assistant professor at the Foundation.
A big XOXO The sidewalk mural installed by a team working with Foundation adjunct assistant professor Jackie Hoving featured a grid of black-and-white student artwork. In the windows of the Film/Video Building at Myrtle Avenue Plaza, students Reghan Bayne, Sophie Choi, Theo Hall, Jack-Henry Lee and Lucas O’Malley exhibited a series of temporal projections, installed by Andrea Merkx, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Foundation. In parallel, Pratt’s Activism Preservation Initiative was displayed in the windows of seven Myrtle Avenue storefronts and featured photographs of 1970s youth education programs at the Institute. Stills and footage from the Preserving Activism Archive were also displayed in the windows of the Film/Video Building, as were videos submitted by fashion design students working remotely.
The freshman fashion show featured dynamic and innovative garments from subtractive cutting and responsible fashion student projects, with the faculty of fashion support team including Gabby Galvan, Jacqueline Lamont, Kerry Ryan , Melanie Schmidt and Karin Yngvesdotter.
Foundation Expanded also continued its collaboration with Industrial Design, collaborating with Amanda Huynh, assistant professor of industrial design, and Jeffrey Chung, MID ’24 to offer edible delights inspired by student art. Art and Design students Lauren Jonaitis, Mikayla Lafleur and Morgan Lake from the Art, Community and Social Justice course taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Patrick Rowe led interactive workshops. The weekend also included poetry readings by Josie Joy, BFA Writing ’25, and members of the MABP Senior Writing Group, a performance by student Aura Dance Crew, and music by Tahlia Amanson, BFA Writing’ 25, all bringing campus creativity to the bustling Myrtle Avenue corridor.
See additional photos below and visit the @PrattFoundation Instagram for more.