University of Pittsburgh
April 29, 2014

Encounters: Art in the City Exhibition at Pitt Runs May 9-23

Show features installation art made by Pittsburgh high schoolers taught by Pitt art history majors

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Pittsburgh has some inspirational examples of art in public spaces. That’s what a group of Pittsburgh high school students learned this spring on city walking tours and in art studio sessions, all led by five Pitt undergraduate students majoring in the history of art and architecture.

NowUntitled by high school student Hank Zubko, installation artwork created by the high school students from the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy in Oakland will be displayed in Encounters: Art in the City, an exhibition running May 9-23 at Pitt’s University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland.

The five Pitt students engaged in this community outreach through enrollment in a Pitt course titled Teaching Art History, developed and implemented by Gretchen Bender, assistant chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, in partnership with Emily Lilly, board president at the Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students.

The high schoolers took walking tours of Oakland to see the Carnegie Museum of Art sculpture garden and other sites. Classroom activities included suggesting places for public art in their own neighborhoods and thinking about how local residents might respond. The eight SciTech students, most of them 10th graders, were encouraged to come up with their own themes. Some were inspired by community or the environment, others by such issues as racism, consumerism, or adolescent psychological disorders. A wide variety of materials was used, ranging from fabric and paint on canvas to clay and natural found objects.

“The high school students articulated their ideas using materials that draw attention and solicit curiosity,” said Bender. “Such attention provides a validation, demonstrating that they are valued members and stakeholders in our community.”

University Art Gallery hours are as follows.

Friday, May 9, Opening Reception: 6-8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 14; Friday, May 16: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thursday, May 15: 3-7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 21; Friday, May 23: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Thursday, May 22: 3-7 p.m.

The classroom outreach program, a collaboration between Pitt’s Department of History of Art and Architecture in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students, was made possible through a Service Learning Course Development Grant from Pitt’s University Honors College.