This article is the third in a series brought to us by Edith Abeyta, who is currently participating in a yearlong artist residency at the Hazelwood Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

by Edith Abeyta

The Hazelwood Artists in Residence and the Office of Public Art with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Hazelwood worked together to present two Art Research Days for Hazelwood residents. The focus of the program was to provide opportunities for participants to meet with artists and view art in several public and private settings in the Pittsburgh area. We chartered a mini-bus and spent two days looking at and learning about art.

Art Research Day No. 1 was geared towards families. Forty participants aged two to sixty met at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Hazelwood. Our first stop was the Braddock Carnegie Library. Dana Bishop-Root, the library’s art programmer and member of Transformazium  introduced us to their many art programs, including a ceramics open studio, an art lending collection, an artist in residency program, a puppet archive, the Neighborhood Print Shop, and an exhibition program. We met in the Art Lending Room, went through the Puppet Collection, and then headed up three flights of stairs to the Neighborhood Print Shop.

Prior to our visit, Dana worked with Darnell Chambers, the other Hazelwood Library Artist in Residence, on a design to screen print on t-shirts as part of our visit. The Neighborhood Print Studio is attached to the library’s gymnasium and this provided room for the group to socialize while everyone printed a shirt. Thanks to Dana and Malik, the teen print assistant, we were able to print forty t-shirts in forty minutes, leaving plenty of time for Dana to explain the process of making screens for printing.

Our next stop was the Carnegie Museum of Art in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. We took a brief break for lunch and then met up with Valerie, our guide and art instructor. The CMA is a large museum with a wide-ranging collection from architectural antiquity reproductions to contemporary sculpture. We decided to focus on two photography exhibitions, Storyteller, a retrospective exhibition of Duane Michals and the Teenie Harris Photographs: Civil Rights Perspectives exhibition. Before we knew it, it was time to get on the bus and head back to the library in Hazelwood.

Art Research Day No. 2 was the culmination of the Wise Walks program. Our last walk was on a cold windy Friday so we bundled up and made our way downtown for a guided tour of public art by Renee Piechocki, Director of the Office of Public Art. Beginning at the Louise Bourgeois Plaza (technically the Agnes R. Katz Plaza, but the fountain and seating designed by Bourgeois dominate the space). The temperature was so low the fountain was lined with ice. Then we viewed works by Sol LeWitt, Romare Bearden, local Pittsburgh artists, and an anonymous piece from the early twentieth century that adorns the front of the GNC building. Our next stop was the House Poems at the City of Asylum on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Exiled writers have transformed several houses into poems and visual works of art. Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild was our final stop of the day, a North Side arts organization that provides arts education and employment training to youth and adults.

The Art Research Days were a success. Participants regularly ask when the next trip is and have offered up suggestions for future sites to visit and artists to meet.

Read more about Edith’s residency:

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