Fundraising is down at the community school. The holiday sale netted half of what was budgeted. And a few years ago, Pratt ran out of capital campaign funds, so absorbed the capital debt of the land into its operating budget, which is now $130,000 a year. The year that happened, so did the economic downturn.
Nothing drastic is changing at Pratt—yet. "We're running a regular program right at the moment," Suter says. Only one change comes in spring: five-dollar Fridays, where enrolled students could use any studio for only $5, won't be available anymore (so that the studios can be rented out).
Then, in summer, when an average 90 classes are usually offered, there will probably be only 30, Suter says. Only the most popular classes will remain. She did not know yet which classes would be cut.
The Pratt auction—this year is its 30th anniversary—is May 5.
The auction brings in 50 percent of Pratt's budget of $2.5 million. The other half of income is earned, from tuition and fees.
"The auction model has to change," Bufano says Pratt has known for some time. "We were working toward 60 percent earned, 40 percent support."
Before Bufano left, Pratt finished a $500,000 project to build a wood studio. The Allen Foundation gave some money for planning, which both Bufano and Suter said helps. "Paying off the land or selling half the property will change everything," Bufano says.
In related news: —Chihuly Garden and Glass opens in May (tentative date: May 21). Damn, that's soon! —Sev Shoon Arts Center, a community print studio opened in 1991 by Swiss artist Dionne Haroutunian, is closing. "It has been a huge amount of work, with endless challenges and endless rewards," she wrote in an email announcement. "And the reality is: it still demands a great amount of my energy and time. I feel that I'm just at that age when I'm still young enough, and still have a lot of energy, to pursue other goals that I am also passionate about. ...It looks like there is interest in exploring possibilities —- like creating a new printmaking group that would rent the space from BallardWorks and purchase some of the equipment from me."