Art “crawls” in ’Burgh

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The arts and culture team, part of the Communiversity Relations program, traveled to Pittsburgh Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to look at other programs and research ways of enhancing  community involvement with arts and culture.

Kelly Ryan, assistant director of Leadership and Involvement at Clarion, and Dr. Laurie Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, received a 2012 Clarion High-Impact Practice pilot program grant to collaborate on the Communiversity program.

One facet of the program involves arts and culture, and one of three internship teams is working in this area. The team, comprised of Emily Oravitz and Margot Goralczyk, decided to travel to Pittsburgh to meet with several artists and organizations to talk with about how to integrate the arts with the town of Clarion.

Ryan traveled to Pittsburgh with the team, and Andy Grove, a student in Miller’s MMAJ 340 Newswriting class accompanied the group to document the event.

The group had the opportunity to interview three representatives from The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust: Eric Thomas, assistant director of Volunteer Services & Customer Service; Al Rodibaugh, director of Ticketing Services, Vanessa Braun, director of Accessibility and manager of Employee Engagement.

Rodibaugh suggested offering writing skills to the young children, such as writing-intensive classes with illustration involved.

“The best way of getting people in the area involved is to have a large event around the courses that you want to get started in the area,” Thomas said.

Braun added, “You have to get out in the community and make the difference.”

One idea agreed upon by everyone at the meeting included having students from the college and high schools from the surrounding areas to get involved with enhancing the arts in the area.

The group had the opportunity to talk to Mary Brenholts, director of School and Community at the Shadyside Center of the Arts. Brenholts discussed the methods the center uses to foster the arts in Pittsburgh and surrounding counties. She explained that organizers need to attract people with new and upcoming art and technology.

Brenholts suggested starting programs to attract local volunteers with activities that are different from the norm, such as making Latex Halloween masks that could bring in the older teens into the town.

She also suggested that animation might draw the younger crowd to arts classes. She suggested the group use social media to get people in the area and surrounding areas to become more  involved in bringing the arts into Clarion.

“Make art interactive with the community,” Benholts said. She told the group that grid art is becoming popular in the art scene. Project organizers send out grid paper to people in the area and have the people mail their completed work to the center where the art is constructed. Grid art may be a way to get people involved in the community, she said.

The group traveled to Lawrenceville to talk to several arts and attended the Garfield Art Crawl in the Penn Avenue Arts District. The students plan to incorporate some of the ideas gleaned on the trip into their development plan for Clarion.

“It will take time to get it out to the masses, but it will occur over time with people coming out,” Thomas told the team.

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