Director's Report, 2015

The Pratt in Venice program of Summer 2015 was rich and strong! Nineteen students participated: graduate and undergraduate, painters, art historians, printmakers, designers, and illustrators. Alumnus Anthony Vazquez was chief on-site assistant and alumnus Joseph Kopta returned as a faculty member for the Art History course. Architect Margaret Matz participated for her second year. Polly Cancro, Trish Kaiser, Minaa Mohsin, and Neil Creveling served as course assistants. 

Celebration near UIA following the Materials and Techniques students' presentations. (Back row, left to right: Massimo Angeletti, Alexandra Price, Trish Kaiser, Neil Creveling, Sungwon Hong, Joe Kopta. Front row, left to right: Minaa Mohsin, Polly Cancro, Anthony Vazquez).

Torcello was the first venue, led especially by Joe, and followed shortly thereafter by an optional Saturday trip with him to Ravenna for more communion with mosaic images.

Mosaics were the focus of two early visits in my Materials and Techniques group – to the Orsoni factory and to the San Marco mosaic conservation lab.

Everyone participated in the Padua trip, first to contemplate Giotto’s frescoes for an hour thanks to local conservation architect Antonio Stevan, and then to study Mantegna frescoes, Donatello bronzes, and early Titian frescoes.

Guest lecturers included Sarah McHam on sculpture at the Doges Palace, Tracy Cooper in Palladio’s churches, and Paolo Spezzani on non-destructive analysis of paintings and drawings.

Conservators Stefania Sartori on wood objects and Egidio Arlango at the San Sebastiano scaffold provided amazing lessons for Materials and Techniques students. 

Joe brought in a colleague from Temple University, Danielle Abdon, as a guest lecturer for one of the art history classes, and Greg Drasler invited artist Anita Sieff to visit a painting class.

Greg’s painting class at Università Internazionale dell’Arte (UIA) worked weekdays and Saturdays and Grayson Cox’s class at Scuola Internazionale di Grafica produced a wide range of prints; both studios buzzed with activity. Greg’s and Grayson’s families provided a homey atmosphere and lots of photo ops.

The Castelfranco, Fanzola, Maser, Bassano day was long and filled with contrasts. A view of Giorgione’s Madonna and his town, illusionistic decorations in elegant Palladian villas, long walks in sun and rain, a rustic feast with wonderful hosts and music making in the Dolomites.

We closed with our Materials and Techniques presentations, the Feast of the Redeemer and its spectacular fireworks, our critique at UIA, and our traditional last supper on the Zattere.