Pratt in Venice

Pratt in Venice 2012

Diana Gisolfi, Director

Pratt in Venice 2012 was a highly productive year with lots of student collaboration and many memorable occasions. Nineteen participants included upperclassmen and graduate students from Art History, Fine Arts, Interior Design, and Architecture.  A student from the University of Delaware and two students from Munsen-Proctor (one on her way to Pratt, the other moving on to Maryland) joined the group. Alumnus Joe Kopta joined as chief assistant and Venice alumnus Andrew Kurczak continued as communicator extraordinaire. Students Kelly Davis, Regina Dubin, Collin Hewitt and Hannah West served as course assistants.


Dorothy Shepard, with Joe and colleagues Jennifer and Chris, led the trip to Torcello and the visit to San Marco. All faculty contributed in group visits to the Accademia and the Doges Palace led by Diana. Visiting lecturer Tracy Cooper shared her expertise on Palladio at San Giorgio Maggiore and the Redentore.  Materials and Techniques visits to the San Marco mosaic lab, the Orsoni factory, and wood conservation studio with Stefania Sartori were followed by a very special opportunity to mount the scaffold at the church of San Sebastiano in Venice to study, with the help of the conservators Lucia Tito and Egido Arlango , the great range of painting techniques employed by Veronese and his assistants. A special event in the art history class was the lecture by alumna Gaia Halpern in the exhibition of early maps at the Marciana Library. The lecture to the whole group by expert Paolo Spezzani on paintings in Venice and Padua studied under X-ray, infrared and ultraviolet shed light on the group trip to Padua and prepared students to understand examples to be seen on the trip to Castelfranco, Maser and Bassano. In Padua, Antonio Stevan, conservation architect, again generously hosted our early morning extended visit to the Scrovegni Chapel with Giotto’s frescoes. At Bassano all enjoyed a delicious meal al fresco prepared by Luisa and Gigi with all fresh local ingredients before seeking perches from which to sketch, paint or etch the countryside.

Jennifer Melby’s printmaking students working long hours at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica and Chris Wright’s painters working at the Universita Internazionale dell’Arte and on site produced a wonderful range of work, admired by all participants in the final critique before our “Last Supper” held at Gianni’s on the Zattere after the weekend celebration of the Festa del Redentore accompanied by ceremonies, church bells, boat races and fabulous fireworks.




Kelly Davis

Graduate Art History/Library Science Student

Before the Pratt in Venice program, I had been to parts of Italy to study art, but this was my first visit to the Veneto and Venice. Immediately upon arriving on the first day, stepping out of the train station and crossing Piazza le Roma to board my first vaporetto, I knew this experience would be unlike any other. Venice is a place that boggles the mind. As I sat on the waterbus, traveling around the western edge of the city and through the Guidecca canal, dazed and overloaded by sensory experience, all I could think was, “Is this real?” After completing the program and having the unrivaled experience of six weeks in those fairytale surroundings, I was no longer asking if it was real, but instead had decided nothing else was real but canals and the sunlight dancing on water.

It’s not just the incredible beauty of Venice that seduces us, but its history, art and architecture that makes this experience not to be missed. The onsite visits to locations within the city (some famous, like Piazza San Marco, some lesser known, like the Tiepolos of the Scuolo dei Carmini), allowed us all to experience living art history in a way that can only be achieved by standing in front of an altarpiece, in situ, and examining its location within the larger architecture of the church, or viewing Veronese’s stunning ceiling paintings in San Sebastiano and discussing conservation efforts. Visits to locations within the Veneto gave us unprecedented access to Giotto’s seminal frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, a particularly special experience for me as an art historian, and a beautiful day spent traveling to Castelfranco, Villa Maser and Bassano del Grappa, tracking down Giorgione and enjoying a delightful afternoon in the foothills of the Alps.

These experiences were not only valid for me as an art historian, but also allowed me to nurture my blossoming interest in creating art. The printmaking class at the Scuola Grafica in the Cannareggio sestiere (neighborhood) of Venice quickly became a chance for me to express through art the overwhelming delight I felt at being in such a special place. And while I was simply a novice, it was inspiring to see my fellow students’ art during their time in Italy. What better place to be inspired by art and color than Venice?

I would recommend this program to any student interested in expanding his or her knowledge of art, or those looking for inspiration outside of their usual surroundings. I believe every student can benefit from this program, some in more obvious ways than others, but all growing and changing as part of the experience. The effects of Venice are long term- maybe one day you’ll notice your designs have started incorporating those particular Venetian pointed windows, or on a hot day in New York, you’ll find yourself longing for Venice’s shady narrow streets. No matter how it affects you, it certainly will, and I can promise the program will be one you never forget.



Pratt in Venice Applications and Scholarships

Pratt in Venice is currently receiving applications for the 2012 program. Please stop by East Hall 250 B to pick up a form or use the brochure you received in the mail. The internal deadline is Feb 10.

For scholarship/assistantship applications, pick up the forms outside the Venice office (East Hall 250B). There are five assistantships, one for each class and one to help with communication on site.

There is a special scholarship funded by the Kress Foundation for two graduate students in our program who will study Materials and Techniques of Venetian art (HA600I) in the 2012 summer program. Each is $1000.

For more information, stop by East Hall 250B during the following hours:

M 10:30AM-4PM
T 11:30AM-5PM
W noon – 1PM
TH 11AM-1PM, 4-5PM
F noon-4PM

Also feel free to email,, or call 718 636-3600 ext 2300. The Venice assistants, Alex and Andrew, both participated in the program in 2011 and can answer many questions.

Would You Like to Study in Venice This Summer?

Pratt in Venice will have its first informational meeting for interested students on February 1st !

Need Art History or Studio credits? Want to spend your summer in the city of water looking at art? Pratt in Venice is holding its first informational meeting on Wednesday, February 1st at 12:30 in Main 230. This is a great chance to find out more about the program, meet the professors, and other specifics such as application procedures and dates. The program is running for its 28th year, and has a distinguished reputation among study abroad programs at Pratt. Keep a look out for flyers around campus and feel free to stop by the Pratt in Venice office in room 250B to pick up a brochure and applications.

HA&D Students Featured in Pratt in Venice Exhibition

Several History of Art & Design Students participated in Pratt in Venice’s annual exhibition of student work and had works of art they created while abroad on display in October. History of Art & Design students also have their Materials & Techniques research on display all year in East Hall.

Here is a preview of some of their work (click for larger photos).

The Venice Printmaking Class portfolio included work by HA&D graduate students Annaliese Soden and Clara Wanatirta
Research Posters by the Venice Materials and Techniques Class
Photography from HA&D undergraduate Andrew Kurczak, whose work was also sold in support of the Scholarship Fund
HA&D graduate student Clara Wanatirta art was featured, and was sold in the silent auction to support the Pratt in Venice Scholarship Fund
HA&D graduate students and Venice alums Alex Watkins and Christina Manzella enjoying the art at the Exhibition’s opening reception

Pratt in Venice on CBS!

This past summer, Pratt in Venice students were filmed for a CBS segment on American students studying in Venice during the Biennale. CBS met a group of Pratt students at the Arsenale exhibition space, and followed the group while they explored the exhibits.  Additionally, the reporter conducted interviews with some of the students. It was shown on the air Sunday, November 27th. To see the full clip, click here!

Art History Graduate Students Aurelia Moser, Jessica Kloville and Alex Watkins were interviewed by the CBS reporter.


Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: