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ArtsPath Partnership Produces Public Art in Butler

ArtsPath, thArt students at Butler Intermediate High Schoole educational program of the Lively Arts, partnered with Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Butler Health Systems, and the Pittsburgh Glass Center in a residency at Butler Intermediate High School, where art students created a mosaic for the hospital cafeteria. 

Butler Health Systems has been active for some time in commissioning artists to create art for the public spaces in their facilities. The end result is a warmer and more inviting and comfortable environment for patients and family members during what are often difficult times. Through their consultant, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts director Laura Domencic, a number of works have been created, including a suspended wood sculpture by ArtsPath artist Michael Stadler (M.F.A. 2009). 

Enter ArtsPath. As an program approved for business contributions through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program and having received a recent generous donation from Snyder Brothers, Inc. of Kittanning, Pa., ArtsPath was able to combine this funding with their own in providing all of the artist fees for the residency. Butler Health Systems then provided funding for the materials, while Laura Domencic provided artistic guidance in the design of the mosaic. 

Further collaboration with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts produced an artist selection of the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Becky Smith. This opened the door to finding a school interested in bringing the experience of working with a professional artist in meeting their curriculum objectives, while at the same time producing a public art piece and understanding the importance of public art in society. 

Enter Butler Intermediate High School and teachers Erich Campbell and Holly Bly. Both were excited about the possibility and quickly worked with ArtsPath in putting together a plan for the 20-day residency that dove-tailed with their own curriculum and lessons. Their comprehensive approach gave the students a great opportunity for brainstorming, planning, collaboration, and learning the many techniques necessary for creating mosaics. 

In addition to the collaborative mosaic for the hospital, the students each created their own small mosaic as they “got their feet wet” in the discipline. The project’s end result of the residency was a  piece of public art that flowed across the entire back wall of the Butler Health Center cafeteria. Through the process, the students came to better understand and appreciate the creative process, developing more refined organizational and planning skills and gaining a better sense of their responsibility and role in a community through service and volunteering. 

The residency was brought to Butler Intermediate High School by ArtsPath, the arts-in-education program of the Lively Arts in the College of Fine Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The program is in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

For more information on the ArtsPath residency program, contact Jeff Wacker at (724) 357-2787 (ARTS), or at jwacker@iup.edu.

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