After exploring Warhol’s works and collecting practices,
seventh graders from Pleasant Hills Middle School gathered
objects that represented their lives and current popular
culture to create their own time capsules.
As any parent knows, it often can be tough to get kids
excited about anything—especially learning. Yet,
each year at The Andy Warhol Museum, the Education department
devises innovative ways to get children—especially
hard-to-reach teens and preteens—interested in learning
about themselves and the popular culture surrounding them
using Warhol’s work and artistic practices as inspiration.
We’re really about encouraging children to critically
and creatively connect with their world. The more they
develop their skills and the more they can actually analyze
and criticize and think thoughtfully about the world of
popular culture that surrounds them, the better equipped
they are to deal with the world,” says Jessica Gogan,
assistant director of Education at The Warhol.
Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules, a large-scale
exhibition of Warhol’s personal archives, inspired “Collecting
as an Artistic Practice,” a program that encouraged
children in the seventh grade at Pleasant Hills Middle
School to learn about themselves and their culture by looking
at Warhol’s collecting practice and their own collections
of personal items.
“Our seventh graders did a small time capsule, where they collected things
in a shoe box just from that period in their life—you know, a month in
seventh grade,” says Pleasant Hills Middle School art teacher Mike Fratangelo. “That’s
the age when kids really start to form
their identity, and their stuff really means something.”
I thought it was fun making my own collection. I brought in a scrapbook page,
and that represented that I like to scrapbook and take pictures of my friends.
It brought out a lot of different perspectives of myself,” says student
Jennifer Brody, who also included her lucky sock and an article she carried
around in her purse for its aesthetically pleasing colors and pattern.
also learned more about their culture and each other by contrasting
and comparing their creations. When the collective work of their time capsules
was displayed at school, it stimulated frequent questions such as, “What
would people looking at these time capsules 1,000 years from now know about
our culture and about you?” that encouraged students to think like
After completing many activities during the nine-week,
multi-disciplinary curriculum program, the entire seventh
grade visited The Warhol over two
days. There they
further reflected upon the relationship between collecting and reproducing
current culture as they viewed Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules and some
Many of the students were visiting the museum for the
first time and enjoyed discovering Warhol’s diverse
art forms. A few of their favorite works: the touchable
art of Silver Clouds, a room containing
floating Mylar pillows
filled with helium, and the Disaster series that Warhol made
from appropriated newspaper stories about turbulent events in the 1960s.
Now entering eighth grade, Brody credits the “Collecting
as an Artistic Practice” program for her emerging
creativity and a deeper appreciation of art. “That
was the first time I had ever been to The Warhol. I liked
how you had to think about the art
for a little bit. It’s more fun if you look at something and
think about it,” she
A visit to The Andy Warhol Museum is likely to be an enlightening
and memorable experience no matter what a visitor’s age. While
some of Warhol’s
imagery at times may be inappropriate for young children, The Warhol
employs cautionary signs to help parents make the most of their visit.
help children learn to think analytically and creatively, families
visiting The Warhol can work together with artist educators in
the collaborative environment of the museum’s Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, 12-4 p.m.) to explore Warhol’s artistic
practices and cultural themes as they participate in various art-making
projects. The Warhol also invites the
public to use its Mellon Resource Center, an interdisciplinary library
for all grade levels that is open by appointment.
For help planning a fun and
informative visit to The Warhol, parents can visit the
museum’s Web site at www.warhol.org
or call the education department at 412.237.8300.
Education programs at The Andy Warhol Museum are made
possible by generous gifts from Mellon Financial Corporation,
The Grable Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield,
The National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council
on the Arts, Surdna Foundation, W.L.S. Spencer Foundation,
Verizon, and YouthWorks.