WHSAD is proud of our students and how many of them take initiative in pursuing their passions in programs outside of school hours. However, such programs would often remain unknown without the insights and assistance of dedicated staff members. In this particular case, freshman architecture teacher, Mr. Ira Geringer, assisted his freshmen, who are now sophomores, to apply to the Pratt Young Scholars Program. After going through the application process, four WHSAD students were granted scholarships valued at $7,000. These scholarships provide “three years of studio instruction, all art materials for courses taken, [a] year-round college access program, Summer Scholars courses in July, and guidance through the college application process.” In the following narratives, two WHSAD sophomores relate their experiences in the Pratt Young Scholars Program. Additionally, after the narratives is a link to the Pratt Institute’s web site, where you can view a NY1 video that features our students and provides an overview of the program.
Pratt Young Scholars (PYS) is a three year scholarship program at Pratt University. On Wednesdays I attend a class called DICE where I was enrolled in “drawing the figure”. In that class we are learning how to do figure drawing with models. These classes run from 4:30-6:30, and we spend that time drawing multiple different poses in a certain amount of time. The professor on the first day had us use charcoal and made us make loops from the top to the left, right and bottom of the page continuously just to warm up. After that we started drawing models in different poses, but it was a bit of a challenge because we had from 1 minute to 30 seconds to draw the pose and we usually have to draw 5-7 poses back to back. The figure isn’t supposed to be detailed but it should be notable that it is a person.
On Saturdays, I attend Saturday Art School where I was enrolled in a class called “Sculpture, Space and Form”. In this class so far we have cast a mold we made. We were given a box and random items such as bath toys and wooden items that had different shapes. We were told to glue the items onto the box and then we used rockite and wax to fill it in. We are going to take what we made and use pictures of them to make a drawing of them in rhinoceros. After that we are going to make a 3D sculpture of that drawing out of foam. This is what we have been doing in PYS and in my opinion it is fun to do.
Some benefits that come from attending the PYS program are being able to practice my art and improve or learn new art skills. Throughout the 3 years we do different things and are able to learn new things. Although it’s mainly art, there are other things that is not just drawing. If you were to go to the Pratt website and go to the PYS section it says “Required studio classes include drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking, and electives may include game design, fashion design, film, architecture, or photography.” These are different things that I am interested in learning or I want to learn more about. PYS offers a lot when it comes to the arts for students who want to learn more and want to pursue a career in art. Another benefit that I receive from PYS is that I get college readiness and assistance when applying to colleges. Also, PYS offers help when it comes to college such as solidifying college lists, completing the application, SAT preparation, college essay writing, and more. These are benefits that come with the program that I find really helpful.
I was offered to join the PYS program by my architecture teacher, Mr. Geringer, during class one day. I don’t remember exactly how he offered me to enter the program, but I do remember that he saw my drawing because I was working on art pieces for a Laguardia audition. He liked my drawings and thought I could try out for Pratt. Mr. Geringer helped out when it came to filling out the form online. He also gave me some tips and ideas when making the art pieces.
WHSAD Sophomore, Joshua Luna
Pratt Young Scholars is a program held at Pratt institute where they give young people such as myself an opportunity to learn more about art starting during their sophomore year. You must apply during your freshman year before they run out of slots because this program is a very rare opportunity and only a few students are selected. One of the programs called DICE is held on Wednesdays from 4:30pm to 6:30pm and “Sculpture, Space and Form” the Saturday art program is from 10am to 1:30pm. You can’t be late, and you can’t miss days, for it is extremely important if you want to stay and gain experience.
So far for me it’s been very nice. The staff is friendly and so our teachers. They really enjoy interacting with us and try to make us feel comfortable. On Wednesdays, we do figure drawing. We practice drawing the human figure to make sure we really understand the shapes of the body and how you can still tell it’s a body from just the shapes and not the outline. We study the model who provides us with many different poses and practice drawing them in many ways such as drawing in circles or in loops and single lines to show that the body can be shown from the simplicity of shapes. We occasionally do minute drawings back to back which is just drawing in the time given which recently has been 1 minute to 30 seconds. Minute drawings are a good way to help make you develop recall and understanding. That’s something we need to learn because it helps us improve as an artist.
As for Saturday classes we do “Sculpture, Space and Form.” Recently, in our last couple classes we did something called casting. Casting is where you pour liquid material into a mold which has a hollow cavity of your desired shape. For that part we had a box and hot glued a bunch of materials like wood, plastic toys, beads and plastic. Then when the liquid material is dry you break the mold. In our recent class we had just broken out the mold and observed, took pictures of and drew our creation. The process was really fun, although we did have a rough time actually filling in our mold due to the difficulty of trying to perfect the rockite mix. Rockite and wax is what we used to fill our molds which took time to dry and make because the wax took up lots of time to make and dry. They were really difficult to get paper off of when the mold was removed and fully dried. Most of us had really cool outcomes from the casting. I saw some that looked amazing with the different colors that the teachers offered us and the interesting shapes that some people had made without intending to. Someone even had the middle of theirs look kinda like stalactites. Most likely in the next class we will begin to recreate our casting models but on rhinoceros and make it a 3D model with other materials.
On Saturdays we also learn about college, which is very important because many of us will be wanting to go to help pursue our careers. The teachers help us learn about the many different aspects of college like explaining what it’s like from their experiences, like living on and off campus, difficulties they faced living and being a student at the same time, applying, the importance of doing work on time, and the benefits of going to college.
The benefits of going to this program vary. First of all, going here will help you have more of a chance of getting into the actual college Pratt Institute. For me that is the case because Pratt is at the top of my list for art schools that I’ll want to attend in the future. Plus the college offers so many different opportunities for more than just the different forms of art. Going to this program can give you access to lots of art equipment, studio space, exposure, and learning other and more useful skills outside of what’s offered. Plus, having this program written on your resume can give you opportunities such as internships in the future. Since this is a program where we learn and work with each other, we will eventually learn social skills in the next 3 years. This is very important because our entire world and existence depends on social skills and there’s no escaping it when you go out into the real world and get that job. Pratt Young Scholars as mentioned before is where they teach us art students more about our world and pursuing art as a career, teaching us a variety of techniques and skills in other electives and advancing our skills in any way they can.
Pratt young scholars was first introduced to me by my architecture teacher Mr. Geringer, who was very helpful to me and I’m pretty sure to the other students who wanted to attend Pratt. It was when we started drawing in class that I started showing some of my drawings off to the teachers. Both of my architecture teachers, Mr.Rodriguez and Mr. Geringer, had both taken a liking to my work and introduced me to the program. We held a meeting with the students who wanted to go, and so we began to work as hard as we could and put the most effort into getting in. I liked that most times we’d meet after school and work and talk together about why we wanted to go to Pratt and what we’d do to get in. My friend and I had even gone to visit Pratt’s campus just to see what it was like. I recall trying to perfect my drawings on my iPad since I had just gotten it at that time, and it offered more art media on it so I used it to practice. It did help me a lot to get in because a lot of my old art was at my middle school and the rest was in a closet almost destroyed so I needed something new to hand in and I didn’t have much.
WHSAD Sophomore, Xochitl Rodriguez
Link to Pratt web site and NY1 story: https://www.pratt.edu/news/view/ny1-features-pratt-young-scholars-and-the-institutes-120-year-history-of-co