Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media showcases student and member artwork | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media showcases student and member artwork

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media
Like many arts organizations, the Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media had to pivot during the pandemic. Its classes became virtual, and its studio membership closed until Pennsylvania moved into the green phase in 2020. But now, students' and members’ work is being presented in PCA&M’s Annual Student and Member Exhibition.

The opening reception for the exhibition will be held in the lobby of the Scaife building Fri., July 23, and will feature work from 45 students and members in a variety of media, including ceramics, drawing, painting, metalsmithing, printmaking, photography, and fiber arts. The exhibition will remain in place until Aug. 31.

“One of the most exciting parts of an event like this is seeing the quality of the pieces our students and members are producing,” PCA&M executive director Kyle Houser says. “It’s important to us that we take a moment to highlight their hard work and growth as artists.”

PCA&M’s turn to online classes was one they intended on pursuing before the pandemic, but safety guidelines and precautions during COVID pushed them to prioritize the new approach. The center offered ceramics, printmaking, drawing, painting, media arts, and creative writing classes over Zoom, and at the end of 2020, it reopened small, in-person classes that required special equipment inaccessible to students online.

After terminating its film program and laying off staff in November 2019, PCA&M ceased operations in the Marshall gallery building, as well as the Harris and Regent Square Theaters. It fully moved its operations into the Scaife building, which holds 10 studios, in early 2021 after a delay due to COVID.

With fewer people in the Scaife building during the pandemic, PCA&M was able to revamp the building’s lobby spaces on the first and second floors, and it has held two shows thus far: Women of Visions’ Creatives in the Era of COVID-19, and PCA&M’s fundraiser exhibition, In Bloom.

“We previously held small exhibitions in the Scaife building before, usually to showcase our teaching artists, students, and members,” Houser says. “It’s a unique space, and it makes a lot of sense to us to exhibit work adjacent to the studios where it’s created.”

PCA&M does not have plans to bring back its film programs, but it does offer a variety of classes in photography, film, creative audio, and screenwriting. Artist access memberships also include access to PCA&M’s 12-bay darkroom, printers, and scanners.

PCA&M also offers artist access memberships for its ceramics studio and printmaking studio.

Moving forward, PCA&M plans on focusing on educational programming, as well as member and artist services, in response to the reduced number of opportunities for artists during the pandemic.

“We want to rebuild in a way that keeps artists and students at the forefront of our mission,” Houser says. “That includes offering opportunities for exhibiting work, professional development, and networking and collaborating with other artists to our students and members.”

PCA&M’s Annual Student and Member Exhibition opening reception. 6-8 p.m. Fri., July 23. Continues through Aug. 31.1047 Shady Ave., Shadyside. pghartsmedia.org

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