Barbara Levy, Pratt Institute Department of Art Therapy program graduate class of 1990, donated her thesis research and archive to Pratt Institute Libraries in 2019. Levy engages with nature by studying dolphins to ascertain whether they have the motor skills needed to manipulate paint. Her thesis centered on art therapy, and she conducted a study of the painting activity of four Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon Shores, Florida. This study was used to see whether dolphins and human children developed creative activity in similar ways. Levy has worked in art therapy and counseling, and has also run her own art gallery.

By exhibiting Barbara Levy's drawings, the dolphin paintings, and videos we hope to share her view of cross-species communication and aesthetics. Levy analyzed the dolphins' artwork using theories of child art development and Laban Movement Analysis. The playful aspect of dolphin behavior, and their interactions with Levy suggest the important connection with these theories of behavior and development. The dolphins' artwork shows how their cross-species communication engages a deeper relationship with humans. Human relationships with other species are a source of constant and continued relevance for all of us. The exhibition contains materials drawn from the Pratt Institute Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives. The Curatorial team would like to thank Barbara Levy, the Library Event & Archives staff, and Lisa A. Banner.

Pratt Institute – Brooklyn Campus Library
On view May 25 - July 22, 2022

Zoom Event: Painting Dolphins: In Conversation with Barbara Ann Levy
Time: Jun 4, 2022 04:00 PM
Register Here

Curatorial Team

Wen Gu is a graduate student in the History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute. She is passionate about art history and museum studies. Her recent internship at the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum revealed that she enjoys breaking down the aesthetic barrier between art and people by being in the community.

Amy Ungricht is a graduate student in the School of Art at Pratt Institute. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, her work in 2-D and 3-D forms focuses on environmental issues.

Sara Zielinski is a graduate student in Integrated Practices in the School of Art, at Pratt Institute. She is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and has exhibited internationally in Boston, MA, Miami, FL, Suzhou, China, and Tblisi, Georgia. Her work has recently focused on social issues, and the experience of physical pain. She has organized projects with artists in Chicago and New York.