The Warhol's Artist/Educator Heather White (center) demonstrates
silkscreening techniques to students from Schenley High School.
In February, members of Pittsburgh’s High School
for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) brass ensemble
took to the stage at Carnegie Music Hall and performed a
piece called “Acid Brass” with Carnegie
International artist and composer Jeremy Deller, best
known as a member of the British rock band Manic Street
Preachers. Other CAPA students are creating Urban Interview,
an Andy Warhol Museum publication modeled after Warhol’s
famed Interview magazine.
At both Carnegie Museum of Art and The Andy Warhol Museum,
students plan events in which they take over the museums
and fill them with performances, their own art, and various
other forms of expression. The Warhol’s annual weeklong
event is called Youth Invasion. Carnegie Museum
of Art’s version is Teen ARTAttack. “Acid
Brass” was the third of four ARTAttack events,
which have included student film festivals, video scavenger
hunts, and performances by high school rock bands. The next
ARTAttack event is scheduled for April 30.
In each case, the museums are succeeding at inspiring budding
artists and art patrons by fostering artistic exploration
that goes far beyond anything students experience during
short school field trips. But exploration is only one facet
of these activities. The idea—and the challenge—is
to use art to help students think in “bigger-picture”
contexts and encourage them to pursue knowledge that may
become a basis for their lives and careers—art-related
It’s a lofty responsibility, one that administrators
at both museums regard as an important part of their mission.
But it’s sort of a no-brainer: If artistic passions
are not instilled in new generations, the arts and cultural
institutions won’t survive. New symphonies, ballets,
and works of art have to come from somewhere, as do people
willing to support the efforts of those who create them.
According to educators and students alike, the programs
seem to be working. “We’re able to develop projects
that are pretty open-ended, so the students are able to
find their own hook and get excited about something. They’re
able to do a lot of self-defined projects. That makes a
big difference,” says Carrie Schneider, youth programs
coordinator at The Andy Warhol Museum.
Adds Jessica Gogan, The Warhol’s assistant director
for education and interpretation: “It’s less
about teaching people how to create a Campbell’s Soup
can and more about teaching them about the framework of
Emily Buchler, Carnegie Museum of Art school and teacher
programs specialist, explains, “One of our goals is
to make the Museum of Art a comfortable place that teens
will want to visit.” In addition to ARTAttack,
the museum holds other student-conceived interactive events,
such as poetry competitions and an online public forum for
the 2004-5 Carnegie International.
Schenley High junior Elliot Smith, 17, is back for his
second round of Youth Invasion planning, for which
students develop a theme and corresponding activities; contact
area resources such as teachers, media, and product suppliers;
and arrange every detail, including a huge opening-day party.
He likes the fact that the museums’ education departments
are run by artists.
“You have talented people left and right offering
you advice. It’s just a better environment to try
to become more in touch with the art itself,” he says.
“They give me all sorts of know-how; they keep me
thinking. But instead of just giving me a definite answer,
they help me find my own way.”
Olga Brindar, 17, a senior at CAPA, works on youth publications
projects, including Urban Interview. Students involved in
Youth Invasion and Urban Interview at
The Warhol earn stipends, but Brindar applied because she
wanted to reach beyond her visual arts emphasis at school
to explore her writing talent. In December, she completed
work on a ’zine—a magazine of sorts—for
which she interviewed people about their philosophies on
love. She turned her results into what she calls creative
non-fiction, and hand-made each ’zine.
“It’s given me a new outlet to create artwork,”
she says. “It gave me this great sense of accomplishment
to create 20 copies of something that I did start-to-finish
on my own.”
One of those ’zines was included in the portfolio
she submitted with her application to Carnegie Mellon University.
“I’m very sure that what I want to do with my
life is art, and this is one of the things I could possibly
be doing,” says Brindar. “The program has given
me something new to consider.”
The Warhol’s Youth Invasion
and Urban Interview programs are made possible
by generous grants from: The National Endowment for the
Arts and YouthWorks. Support is also provided through artists
and school partnership grants from The Grable Foundation
and The Surdna Foundation. Additional funds are provided
by the following companies through Pennsylvania’s
Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program: Anonymous; Cohen
& Grigsby, PC.; Eat’n Park Hospitality Group;
Allegheny Technologies; Equitable Resources Inc.; Eureka
Bank; Hefren-Tillotson Inc.; PPG Industries Inc.; and Waste
American Eagle Teen ARTAttack
is sponored by the American Eagle Outfitters Foundation.