Paul Allen offers grant of $1 million to Pratt center

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.