Picturing Me was designed for students enrolled in after-school programs in Pittsburgh and nearby communities, engaging students from a range of neighborhoods. The program was free of charge to community-based after-school groups that have little opportunity to visit museums or to participate in art experiences. The curriculum was tailored for students in grades 3 through 12 and groups of 20 students or less. Learn more below about some of the sites that participated in this exciting program.
BEDFORD HOPE CENTER (Hill District)
As part of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP), residents of Bedford Hope Center are able to participate in training programs. The HACP’s Creative Arts Corner (CAC) offers a free audio/visual training program that’s free for all HACP Residents. CAC students are provided with a unique opportunity to cultivate their creative strengths in a state-of-the-art studio environment, giving them hands-on experience with exciting new technologies and attain valuable and applicable skills.
On Mondays, teaching artists Tom Sarver and Katelynd Gibbons visited students in the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s Bedford Hope Center located in the Hill District. Students at Bedford Hope Center were especially inspired by the photographs of Teenie Harris, who documented life in their neighborhood many years ago.
NORTHVIEW HEIGHTS ESTATES (Northside)
As with Bedford Hope Center, Northview Heights Estates is also part of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP), and residents have the opportunity to participate in Creative Arts Corner.
On Fridays, teaching artists Lauren Bizich, Molly Acita, and Deanna Mance visited Northview Heights’ Creative Arts Corner to work with a group of 8–10 students between the ages of 10 and 12. The students had the opportunity to visit Carnegie Museum of Art and meet with Picturing the City photographer, Jim Judkis. The students were inspired by Judkis’s photos and had the opportunity to ask him questions about what it’s like to be a professional photographer working in Pittsburgh.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS: LINTON MIDDLE SCHOOL (Penn Hills)
The mission of Communities In Schools (CIS), a 501(c)(3) organization, is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. By partnering with schools to address children’s unmet needs, CIS provides the link between educators and the community. The result: teachers are free to teach, and students—many in jeopardy of dropping out—have the opportunity to focus on learning.
Partnering with school districts throughout Allegheny County, Communities In Schools serves nearly 1000 young people and their families every year. Nationally, Communities In Schools has become our country’s leading dropout prevention organization, and the only one proven to significantly decrease dropout rates, increase graduation rates, and increase math and literacy proficiency.
Teaching artists Jenna Gallant and Deanna Mance brought Picturing Me to 7th and 8th grade students at Linton Middle School, in partnership with Communities in Schools. Linton students had an opportunity to experiment with a variety of artistic media ranging from photography to paint, and particularly enjoyed improvisational performance art activities, facilitated by teaching artist and theater specialist, Brandi Welle.
YOUTHALIVE! (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Northside)
The Children’s Museum’s YouthALIVE! (Youth Achievement through Learning, Involvement, Volunteering, and Employment) program offers meaningful activities and experiences for kids 10–18 years old that help them discover their potential, develop their talents and abilities, and explore their interests.
On Thursdays, teaching artists Tom Sarver and Deanna Mance visited YouthALIVE! at The Children’s Museum on the Northside. About 20 students between the ages of 10 and 18 worked together to take photographic self-portraits and participated in peer interviews in the Children’s Museum Theater.
NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH OUTREACH PROGRAM (Wilkinsburg)
The Neighborhood Youth Outreach Program (NYOP) at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Chruch is a “faith-based organization.” In existence for over 15 years, the NYOP provides a safe place for mentoring relationships, assisting students in achieving academic improvement, and exposure to cultural arts while encouraging children to find the hidden talents within themselves. These services are just a few that are provided in an “atmosphere that promotes personal growth and a sense of belonging.”
On Wednesdays, teaching artists Lauren Bizich and Deanna Mance engaged NYOP students in visual art, photography, and performance art activities. During the final week of the Picturing Me program, students of NYOP had the opportunity to exhibit their mixed-media collages and photographic self-portraits during a celebration and mini-exhibition at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkinsburg. Students were excited and proud to share their artwork with family and friends.
CALVARY-LINCOLN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM (East Liberty / Shadyside)
The Calvary-Lincoln After-School Program (CLASP) is an after-school enrichment program to be offered by Calvary Episcopal Church for the benefit of Pittsburgh Lincoln School students. The program concentrates on the arts, because this area was the one most adversely affected by Board of Education budget cuts. Accordingly, Lincoln students, over these past years, have participated in programs at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Dance Alloy (a modern dance repertory company) and have visited the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts and other venues. In all these experiences, mentors have deepened the students’ appreciation of art—oils, sculpture, dance, choral music, and other forms.
On Tuesdays, CLASP visited Carnegie Museum of Art’s Children’s Studio. Led by teaching artists Katelynd Gibbons and Deanna Mance, students visited the museum’s exhibitions and experimented with photography equipment. CLASP students enjoyed taking pictures of each other in the museum’s Hall of Sculpture. Students were inspired to “strike a pose” after seeing casts of classical figure sculptures on display in the space.
Students worked on photographic self-portraits, the “Letter to My Photo Friend” writing project, and also a mixed media project designed to reflect the idea of “what you can’t see about me just by looking at my photograph.”
HILL HOUSE (Hill District)
Like the historic Pittsburgh settlement houses from which it grew, the Hill House delivers a spectrum of integrated social services to its community. The Hill House Association connects Hill District kids with arts programs such as the East Busway mural project, classes in African drumming and storytelling, and now, Picturing Me.
Led by instructors Deanna Mance and Lauren Bizich, a group of about 10 students between the ages of 9 and 11 years are participating in Picturing Me, taking place in the Hill House Blakey Program Center. At their visit to the Picturing the City exhibition, students heard photographer Kenneth Neely discuss his work, and will be working with him on their self-portraits in weeks four and five of the program. Like Teenie Harris, Kenny worked at the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, and he also has a close connection to the Hill District. He shared with students the value of not limiting their idea of what constitutes a good subject to photograph.
GRANDVIEW ELEMENTARY (Allentown)
The Brashear Association is a nonprofit organization with a 90+ year history of providing social services and community building support to South Pittsburgh residents, including after-school and summer programs for children. The Brashear Association offers Grandview Elementary School a free, after-school program that includes homework help, science experiments, art projects and cultural lessons three days a week (Tuesday–Thursday) for 2nd through 5th graders.
Teaching Artists Deanna Mance, Lauren Bizich, and Brandi Welle are working with a group of about eighteen 4th and 5th grade students. During their visit to the Picturing the City exhibition, Grandview students heard Renee Rosensteel discuss her work. Renee shared with students how she got started in photography and the importance of relationship and personal connection in photography. She will be working with the students on their self-portrait projects, in weeks four and five of the program.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS FAMILY COMMUNITY (Arlington Heights)
When work or other issues make child care a challenge, parents can find safe supervision and growth-oriented activities under the auspices of the Beverly Jewel Wall Lovelace (BJWL) Children’s Program. BJWL relieves job- and scheduling-related child care pressure with free, year-round, after-school and summer supervision that provides social, emotional, academic, recreational rewards. With locations at 18 public and subsidized housing sites throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, including the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh’s Arlington Heights community, BJWL strengthens the community, engages families, and enhances the safety of about 2,000 children ages 5 to 18.
On Thursdays, teaching artists Kara Skyling, Jenna Gallant, and Deanna Mance work with a group of about 10 students between the ages of 8 and 12 years in the Arlington Heights community. The students visited the Carnegie Museum of Art during the second week of the program participated in a discussion with Picturing the City photographer, Jim Judkis. Jim discussed his approach to photography and how travel affected his choice to become a photographer. He also showed students a camera he uses which is much like the one used by Teenie Harris. Jim will be working with students on their self-portraits in weeks four and five of the program.
YMCA believes that the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Because of the Y, more young people in neighborhoods around the nation are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices. At the Y, children and teens learn values and positive behaviors, and can explore their unique talents and interests, helping them realize their potential. That makes for confident kids today and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.
A group of about twelve students between the ages of 8 and 13 years are working with teaching artists Alisha Wormsley, Deanna Mance, and Brandi Welle at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Students heard photographer Dylan Vitone discuss his work at their visit to the Picturing the City exhibition and will be working with him on their self portraits, in weeks four and five of the program. At the museum, Dylan discussed his interest in panoramic images, and how he uses a version of collage to achieve his desired result. He also discussed the value of patience that photographers sometimes need to get the exact shot they want.
WHITTIER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Mount Washington)
Whittier’s focus is on achieving academic excellence while developing personal responsibility. Whittier prepares the student for today’s world with a full offering of arts and technology education integrated into all subject areas.
Teaching artists Katelynd Gibbons and Kara Skyling are currenty leading a group of about eighteen 4th and 5th grade students in the Picturing Me program at Whittier Elementary in Mount Washington. With the enthusiastic participation of their art teacher, Mr. Volchko, the students are very excited to expand their repertoire of image-making techniques and approaches. Picturing the City photographer Annie O’Neill will be working with students on their self-portraits in weeks four and five of the program.
Picturing Me is made possible by generous support from The Heinz Endowments and the Scaife Family Foundation Fund for Scholarships.