The Making of a Top Art Institute

In 1999, Pratt Institute joined forces with Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) to create PrattMWP College of Art and Design, giving students another option for their art college experience. Pratt’s extension campus, located in Utica provides more intimate upstate campus where students can spend their first two years as they pursue their BFA degree. The combination of MWPAI’s distinguished arts community and Pratt’s strong reputation and curriculum has developed into a focused, passionate, and supportive learning environment that attracts artists from all over the world.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) was established in 1919 to serve as “an artistic, musical, and social center.” The Institute was named for three generations of one Utica family whose philanthropic generosity supported the fundamental belief in the prominent role the arts play in a vibrant community.

In 1936, MWPAI opened to the public, displaying the vast collection of fine and decorative arts objects amassed by the family – and founding in 1941, the School of Art. The school was granted the authority to confer the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree by the state of New York in 1948.

From its inception, the school of art has focused on creating an art program that instills the principles of a strong visual arts foundation. Established with the intention of providing an exceptional preparatory program in art, “Munson students”, after completing the two year program, would continue their education at top art schools throughout the country.

As the MWPAI continued to receive monumental acclaim, Pratt Institute saw an opportunity. They set out to take full advantage of the consistently high-quality students coming out of Utica by forming an affiliation with MWPAI. The upstate institution welcomed the alliance since Pratt could offer an outstanding benefit to its students: a clear path to their BFA degree at one of the world’s eminent art colleges through a seamless, guaranteed relocation to Pratt’s Brooklyn campus in their junior year. The alliance proved to be an easy transition, especially because both organizations place a strong emphasis on foundation. In addition to the school’s offerings, PrattMWP students could take advantage of the renowned MWPAI Museum of Art and MWPAI Performing Arts programs.

Now, over 100 art and design students from around the world choose to begin their BFA at Pratt Institute’s upstate New York extension campus in Utica, New York. Students who select PrattMWP College of Art and Design are guaranteed a seamless relocation to Pratt’s main campus after completing the first two years. Students who begin at PrattMWP graduate with the same prestigious degree as those who attend Pratt Institute all four years- but PrattMWP students gain an edge afforded by the many benefits of the intimate and nurturing upstate campus.