Category Archives: Education

A New Scarf for Dippy


Last week the Carnegie Museum of Art showed up at Tee Rex Syndicate with a very special project for students of Elroy Elementary School’s Art Connections program: creating a brand new, 2013 Carnegie International scarf for our beloved Dippy the Dinosaur.

Students in the program were led through all stages of the silk-screening process by Tee Rex’s very own Brad Towell. They later used this knowledge to help create the scarf Dippy will be wearing to usher in the 2013 Carnegie International, opening Saturday, October 5, 2013. The students also created their own limited edition t-shirts for the exhibition and learned more about the show and the Lozziwurm play structure (currently located at the front of Carnegie Museum of Art) from International co-curator Daniel Baumann.

Cyberpunk Apocalypse & the Alternative Academic Space

The Cyberpunk Apocalypse is a one-of-a-kind close-quarters residency and MFA alternative for writers in Pittsburgh, a household centered around literature where 36 writers from across the US and Canada have lived and worked over the last five years. When it began it was the only zine residency in the US and continues to be the only writer’s residency that puts comic artists, zinesters, novelists, journalists, poets, translators, and any kind of writer on the same competitive level. Writers come to the Cyberpunk Apocalypse with very different skill sets and overlapping interests, which makes each creator a resource for their fellow residents and creates room for rapid growth and collaboration. Each resident has personal goals connected to every new project they take on, while the goal of Cyberpunk is twofold: to support the residents in their pursuits and to advance literature through exploring and building alternative non-academic routes for writers.


Photo: Sonel Breslay

Join Cyberpunk Apocalypse on Sept. 20 at Artists Image Resource for the next 2013 Carnegie International event!

So much about the literary world today is defined by the conveniences of academia. The genre of “literary fiction” as separate from “popular fiction” feels born of professors struggling to justify their position as master when so few of them have books that sell. The common literary practice of group critique known as “the workshop” can seem more valuable as a way to occupy 15 writers’ time in a tidy time slot than as a way to advance the craft or skill of writers. Even classifying writers as poets, fiction writers, or creative nonfiction writers is more about separating classes and degree tracts than it is about the work or the people producing it.

cyberpunk interior

Photo: Tameka Cage Conley

The way these aspects of the higher education system affect writing will only become obvious with a modern equivalent as comparison. And while there are as many paths to becoming a writer as there are writers in the world, there are few organizations that provide support, cross-promotion, and validation to self-proclaimed writers, and there are fewer still that have been around long enough to build a camp of writing. The Cyberpunk Apocalypse exists in part as an example of one possibility and a call for other individuals to imagine an environment and path in which great writers, and by extension quality thought, can be produced.

Learn more at and

New Directions in Adult Education Programming

The museum recently announced changes to its adult education programming to allow for art-making experiences that are event-based, flexible, and responsive to special opportunities, like visiting artists, and to artworks on view in the galleries.

One result of this change is the decision to discontinue our semester-long adult studio classes. Because I know this will disappoint a group of dedicated museum members, I feel that it is important to share our larger vision.

First, let me be clear that we did not cancel the entire adult education program. We cancelled only semester-long adult studio classes. We retain staff that works exclusively on adult classes, workshops, lectures, etc. and they remain very busy producing established and new programming.

The elimination of the classes in question is the result of a rigorous and thoughtful reappraisal of our education programs by a task force made up of museum staff. I formed this task force because I realized that, in order to serve an ever-changing public, the education department had, over the years, implemented additional programs without subtracting or fundamentally altering others. The result was an exhausted staff with little time left for the creative thought necessary to really shape those offerings.

One of the recommendations of the task force was the elimination of the studio classes. In 2012 total enrollment in adult studio classes was 422. While we know that those taking studio classes received excellent instruction from skilled instructors, and while we care deeply about enrollees, we need to use limited resources to serve a broad public. Many people are not able to commit to 5–10 week courses, nor are they available during the day, when many of the studio sessions take place.

Our chief goal with adult education is to open people up to the pleasures of seeing and, especially, looking at art. We remain dedicated to the idea that making things helps many people understand and appreciate what artists do. We believe, however, that we can reach a broader constituency and lessen the weight on our staff by offering workshops that are specifically tied to museum exhibitions and programs. We’ve done this quite successfully in the recent past with a program about architectural renovation and redesign associated with the 2010 exhibition, Imagining Home, and with this year’s participatory photography exhibition Oh Snap! Our next venture (after tonight’s 2-Minute Film Festival) will be a drawing workshop with the 2013 Carnegie International artist, Nicole Eisenman, in February. Over the coming months, adult education staff will be looking for other opportunities to create a new season of art-making programming.

We at the museum are very grateful for the dedication of the people who have been committed to our studio classes over the years, and feel confident that our programs will continue to provide inspiring experiences.

Please look for announcements as we embark on the strategic next steps—I am excited to see the ways that our educators make new connections and develop new ideas around our ever-changing in-gallery program.

Video: The Art Connection

We just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out on Sunday, April 14 to mark the opening of The Art Connection Annual Student Exhibition! Check out the video to see our student artists hard at work in the museum’s studios as they prepared for this year’s exhibition. Throughout the school year, students in grades 5–9 worked through the creative process with the help of teaching artists in the museum’s galleries and studios. Artworks in this year’s exhibition reflect the influence of recent exhibitions such as White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Art at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939, and Cory Arcangel: Masters.


Whoa Buddy!

app1-480x389When 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!

Watch the video on

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.