Friends will know that my first choice for a student exchange was the Pratt Institute, a dedicated art school somewhere in NY. That ‘somewhere’ turned out to be one block from the Brooklyn brownstone b&b I was camped in, so I had one of those ‘it was meant to be’ moments. This was confirmed when I found an enormous ‘Welcome’ sign; the only thing missing was my name, and I didn’t have a texta with me. Or some yellow paint to put over the extra ‘t’.
Pratt seems to occupy an entire block, no mean feat in Brooklyn. It’s old-school brick, low-rise, well-treed, established-looking. Sculptures dot the grounds, including a work by one of America’s greatest modern sculptors of outdoor works, Mark di Suvero.
It felt like an art school, too. By golly, it was orientation week, and there were arty lovelies everywhere, even passing out free donuts. Or were they actually small-scale ephemeral sculptures executed in domestic materials, a witty comment on gendered issues in contemporary art, and the persistence of the Male Gaze? Who knows; I passed them up.
My stay at Pratt lasted half an hour. Far as I can tell, that’s a full thirty minutes longer than the SCU exchange selectors wanted. But hey, if I’d got in, what would I have missed out on at UMass?