Dread Scott

WORDS TO LIVE BY: Visual artist and activist Dread Scott will deliver the Pratt Institute’s commencement address this year.

The more than 1,200 graduating students will participate in an online ceremony on May 22, consisting of live and pre-recorded segments that will be streamed together as a continuous event on Pratt’s site.

Scott’s work, which has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1 and the Walker Art Center among other institutions, focuses on social progress, racial inequality and America’s political structures. The inter-disciplinarian creative will also receive an honorary degree from the Brooklyn-based school in recognition of his work. The artist was recently named a 2021 Guggenheim fellow in fine arts.

In other collegiate news, Kent State School of Fashion will hold its annual show virtually on April 30 with the help of another well-known social activist: the school’s guest of honor and the 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Kenneth Cole. As the 32nd recipient, he is being celebrated for his contribution to fashion. Previous inductees have included Leonardo Ferragamo, Oscar de la Renta, Josie Natori and Estée Lauder.

As a curtain raiser to the annual show, Cole will have a virtual fireside chat with the school’s director Louise Valentine at 6 p.m. The New York designer will discuss his career, how he built his brand and his commitment to social activism. Cole previously served as chair of amfAR, the AIDS research charity. Through the Kenneth Cole Foundation, the designer helps communities in need by championing public health and civil liberties initiatives. In a statement, Cole said, “The future of our industry relies upon the educating and mentoring of talented and inspired students.”

Flagged as “Building a Global Fashion Brand, On Purpose,” the digital talk will be free and open to the public but requires registration. After the discussion, Cole will deliver an acceptance speech, followed by the School of Fashion’s annual fashion show.

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