Artists in Schools & Communities


Pittsburgh Beechwood PreK-5

Students at Pittsburgh Beechwood PreK-5 enjoyed another year of immersive Artist Residency Projects, with students in every grade level participating, and over 600 students, teachers, families, and staff engaged and impacted by the creative process. Pittsburgh Beechwood has been implementing Residency Projects since 2007! Pittsburgh Beechwood students of all ages participated in an after-school interdisciplinary Residency Project with Resident Artists Alison Zapata and Geña Nieves in partnership with the Latino Community Center. Utilizing visual arts, music, and movement, the primary goal of the project was to help Latino students develop knowledge and understanding of their native countries, in addition to pride in their heritage. The Teaching Artists also integrated topics from students’ grade level curricula and general English Language Arts to help increase literacy and learning.


Kindergarten students worked with Resident Artist Alison Zapata on a 60-day Long Term Residency Project, a unique project model that allows for a more in-depth collaboration between Lead Teacher and Teaching Artist. An LTR provides additional structure, planning time, experiences, and reflection time to implement comprehensive arts integration programming. Kindergarteners had unique opportunities to show what they’re learning, creating self-portraits, learning about Pittsburgh photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, and exploring music and dance with several visiting artists.

First Grade

First grade students worked with Resident Artist Lindsay Woge to explore ideas related to empathy, with each student creating a “mood loom,” weaving fibers symbolic of emotions over time. Short-term activities such as journaling, discussions, and games developed prosocial, team-building skills. The students’ culminating project was inspired by contemporary artist Gwen Murphy’s shoe sculptures, with students creating sculptures of their own, reflective of the phrase “walking in someone else’s shoes” to further engage with how our emotions can look like on the outside and feel on the inside.

Second Grade

2nd grade students created an Art Garden installation with Resident Artist Joanna Abel. They designed flowers inspired by Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures and included pollinators including bees, butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds. Students explored garden inhabitants through drawing, dance, movement, and even through coding, as students collaborated with CMU CREATE Lab’s Flutter-based robots, which they programmed to move through the sculpture in response to the loudness of the school environment.

Third Grade

3rd grade students studied cityscapes with Resident Artist Maritza Mosquera as they explored various media including collage, watercolor, drawing, and screenprinting. Entitled OUR SKY MAGIC and LINE: skymagic-skyline, the project was inspired by artists Marc Chagall and Faith Ringgold and the hilly neighborhoods and scenic vistas of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Beechwood is located in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood, an exemplar of a picturesque mountainous neighborhood.

Fourth Grade

Inspired by the concepts of remembering, saving, and collecting, 4th grade students worked with Resident Artist Lindsay Woge to construct Peruvian retablo boxes, thoughtfully arranged with found objects, painting, and sculpture to convey and important idea, wish, or memory. Journaling, creative writing, and skits inspired by school-year memories supported the art making process, and a visit to the Carnegie International exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art inspired students’ interests in these themes.

Fifth Grade

While reading The Road to Freedom, 5th grade students worked with Resident Artist Tina Williams Brewer to learn about the rich and significant histories of African cultures prior to the disapora. Students created individual fiber dream/prayer packets using Adinkra symbols and collaborated to make legacy quilt panels symbolizing the stories and passages of those who came before.