Casting director and advocate James Scully and conceptual artist Fred Wilson will be honored at The Black Alumni of Pratt Institute’s “Celebration of the Creative Spirit” gala on May 9 at the Park Hyatt New York.
The 27th anniversary benefit will help BAP offer stipends and scholarships (including summer pre-college ones for high schoolers) to students of African and Latino descent. Attendees at the black tie event will also salute Thomas F. Schutte, a 25-year veteran who will step aside as Pratt’s president later this year.
Fashion executives and designers know Scully for his more than 30 years of experience in the fashion industry, not to mention the scores of models he has helped begin their careers. Liya Kebede and Natalia Vodianova are two of the better-known ones he helped rocket to fame. Sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Lucky Blue Smith also got big breaks from Scully. Through his work with the CFDA’s health initiative and Bethann Hardison’s Balance Diversity initiative, Scully has taken a public role in speaking out about underage models, the need for greater diversity, unhealthy body image issues, bullying and racism in the business. Scully also is a board member of the Model Alliance.
In late February, Scully set off a firestorm after criticizing Balenciaga via Instagram for mistreating models during a pre-fashion week casting and accused several houses of trying to sneak in underage models and claimed Lanvin had “a mandate of not wanting to be presented with women of color.” In response, a Lanvin spokeswoman retaliated calling the allegations “completely false and baseless.” Balenciaga confirmed there were issues with its casting process and swiftly took action to correct them.
A Purchase College graduate and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Grant Award winner, Wilson is known for his installations and public art that is meant to take into account the community where the art exists. Adept at painting, sculpture and photography, the conceptual artist is known for his sculptures in glass and for site-specific installations in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Wilson’s two-part exhibition at Purchase College’s Neuberger Museum of Art will run through July and covers a survey of more than two decades of his work including a site-specific installation that recontextualizes the collections of the museum and college to create a dialog exploring the relationship between institutions and individuals.