Introduction written by: Matthew Miller, Pittsburgh Programs Director
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Create, Connect, Thrive
ProjectArt believes in the power of creativity and the potential of every child. We utilize visual arts to amplify the voices of communities often silenced through educational budget cuts and socioeconomic hardship. ProjectArt was founded in New York in 2011 and expanded to Pittsburgh in 2017, providing over 1,000 hours of arts instruction at six public libraries in Pittsburgh over the course of just two years.
ProjectArt is a scalable program that provides free afterschool art classes to students ages 4-18 over the course of the academic school year. Our partnership with the public library systems has allowed ProjectArt to hire local artists to teach 45 students at each library, split into three one-hour classes of 15 students that are broken down by age group (4-7, 8-12, 13-18). Classes are taught on a weekly basis, and culminate in a resident teaching artist and student exhibitions to celebrating the students’ creativity and artistic achievements.
During the last eight years, ProjectArt has provided hundreds of children and teens in under-resourced communities a space to express themselves creatively and overcome social barriers, with the goal to help them grow as thoughtful and empowered adults. Research shows that sustained access to high-quality arts learning opportunities can have an inestimable impact on children’s lives. An essential part of STEAM and 21st-century learning, the long-term positive impact of arts education stretch beyond the classroom to help students thrive. From increased self-esteem and improved social skills to students feeling more connected to their community, ProjectArt’s impact is tangible.