On the first day of The Art Connection, the 6th-grade students began life-size, abstract self-portraits inspired by the drawings of the late Chinese artist Guo Fengyi, currently on view in the 2013 Carnegie International. As they draw in colored pencil and oil pastel on large sheets of paper, the students use line and mark making to express thoughts, emotions, memories, and functions of the body.
This year’s Art Connection is off to an exciting start! Students arrived to a museum transformed, with bold new work from around the globe spilling out from the galleries into unexpected places. Classes will explore and discuss new works of the 2013 Carnegie International, a process sure to spark inspiration and critical thinking. The International’s theme of “play” provides added engagement to set the wheels of creativity in motion. The Art Connection’s art studio environment encourages students to experiment, play and practice in the process of developing creative ideas. Professional artist educators and experienced assistants work with students to encourage collaboration and to help each student gain confidence in developing their artistic voice.
This year’s Art Connection has just begun, and it’s not too late to sign up for young artists in grades 5 through 9. Artists including Andy Warhol, Duane Michals, and Philip Pearlstein all got their start in our Saturday art classes—but you can develop your unique style and vision through your art! Check out this video to see what the program’s all about:
When I’m not working on CMOA’s Kids and Family Programs, I’ve been working on my own art and technology endeavor, The App Expo, with fellow artist Ashley Andrews. This weekend, we teamed up with Google programmer and fellow artist, Ciarán Ó Conaire and entered the first ever Steel City Codefest, a 24-hour app making competition at Google’s Bakery Square offices. The competition was presented cooperatively by the City of Pittsburgh, The Urban Redevelopment Authority, Google, and others, and it was attended by 100 local programmers, developers, and designers. The challenge: To use newly available community-based data provided by the mayor’s office to create an app that benefits the community at large… in 24 hours!
We used nearly all of those hours and felt weary by Sunday morning’s judging session but successfully completed and presented our app called Whoa, Buddy! With the concept of community-building in mind, we designed Whoa, Buddy! to promote “IRL” interactions and responsible use of social media through funny pop-up messages, which psychologically nudge users to reconsider their social media posts in favor of live social interactions and community activities (like visiting CMOA, for instance).
I’m happy to report (and brag) that we were awarded a notable mention as well as the judge’s commendation for artistic merit. We also built an enormous paper Commodore 64 (below) on which to “run” our app (via projector).
If you’re a coder, programmer, designer, or artist, I highly recommend this sure-to-become-annual Pittsburgh event. As for Whoa, Buddy!, a downloadable version of our app will be available for Android devices soon. Whoa, Buddy! will also be presented at future iterations of our ongoing exhibition series, The App Expo.