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Thursday, May 2, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Visual Arts

Paul Allen offers grant of $1 million to Pratt center

Seattle Times art critic

The Allen Foundation for the Arts is helping make dreams come true at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle's Central Area.

The foundation has offered a $1 million matching grant to help jump-start Pratt's campaign to build a facility on property across the street from the existing school at 19th Avenue South and South Main Street.

Pratt purchased a parcel of land at the former Wonder Bread bakery site and hopes to have its new building — designed by the Seattle firm Olson Sundberg Kundig and Allen — ready to open by 2005, said Sara Pasti, interim managing director at Pratt.

You might recognize Pasti's name: She spent three years as managing director at On The Boards and two years as the Henry Gallery's director of curatorial affairs. Pratt recently brought her aboard as a consultant to help assess the needs of the expanding center, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Pratt began as City Art Works, a program of the Seattle Parks Department, and now functions independently as an art school focusing on fire arts — glass, metal casting, welding, ceramics, painting, drawing and printmaking.

The Allen Foundation, administered by software mogul Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc., previously gave Pratt a boost with $50,000 to assist in the planning stages of its expansion.

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