University of Pittsburgh
May 3, 2000



Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH, May 4 -- This past academic year, approximately 19,500 University of Pittsburgh students were able to see a play, attend the Pittsburgh Symphony, or visit a museum free of charge or at a reduced rate and via free transportation, thanks to the PITT ARTS program on the Pitt Oakland campus. PITT ARTS also offered 100 free cultural outings this year, where students had the chance to eat together, hear an educational talk, experience the play or show, and then discuss their impressions.

The success of PITT ARTS and its museum education programs for Pitt students will be the focus of a presentation in Baltimore, MD, on Thursday,

May 11, at the annual conference of the American Association of Museums.

PITT ARTS and the education staff of The Andy Warhol Museum have been active partners for the past year in researching, developing, and implementing programs for the young adult. "Presently there's not a huge agenda for the museum community to create educational programs for people ages 18-21," explained PITT ARTS coordinator Jen Saffron. "Their educational programs are frequently geared toward students K-12. But our surveys of PITT ARTS participants show that a museum or art gallery is by far their most popular cultural attraction. So we're working with the museum community to help them relate to college students as a community of learners, and to create programs that supplement the students' overall visit and their general education at Pitt."

In addition to its free educational cultural outings, PITT ARTS provides the 17U Port Authority bus, which leaves the William Pitt Union in Oakland once an hour every Sunday for the downtown cultural district and the Northside. Through its Cheap Seat Program, PITT ARTS gives students the opportunity to pre-purchase tickets for the symphony, ballet, Pittsburgh Dance Council, and Pittsburgh Public Theatre for as little as $10. Admission is free to the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, and Phipps Conservatory.

Surveys and feedback from the Pitt students reveal that many are enjoying their introduction to Pittsburgh's cultural venues and are coming away with not only an appreciation of the event, but a fuller understanding of issues that may have confused them before -- such as what to wear, how to interact with others at the hall, how long to wait before going to their seat, and when to clap during a performance. More than two-thirds of those surveyed say they're considering staying in Pittsburgh after their graduation.

"We certainly hope that our young people become lifelong consumers of the arts," said Saffron. "In the short term, we're giving them an opportunity to take advantage of what an urban campus has to offer, and we're hoping it contributes to the quality of their education."