Excursion No. 15: Grow


July 16, 2016

How does urban food and plant production sustain us, impact community development, and contribute to the economic vitality of people and neighborhoods?

We explored several models of small and large scale agricultural production in Manchester. We toured the professional greenhouses of the Drew Mathieson Center and make a hydroponic vessel out of a soda bottle. Then we met up with students from the Manchester Academic Charter School for a tour and presentation of their garden which features . Our last stop was Manchester Farms, a large community garden.


Excursion No. 10: Pittsburgh Past, City Future


March 16, 2016

Urban design, community development, architecture, photography, and history are the topics we examined in the Pennsylvania Room of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Main and the Carnegie Museum of Art. 

We toured the Hall of Sculpture at CMOA and had a drawing session in the Heinz Architectural Center.


Excursion No. 9: Ink & Clay


February 20, 2016

The BCL Arts and Culture Facilitator was our guide to the Art Lending Collection, the Puppet Collection, the Neighborhood Print Shop, and the Bath House Ceramic Studio. We screen printed a two-color poster for the Hazelwood YMCA Easter Celebration and designed ceramic tiles during our afternoon of art making.

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Excursion No. 8: Skin


January 9, 2016

We joined in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Skin I’m In by author Sharon Flake at CLP-Homewood with a staged reading of a new play based on the book. The Skin I’m In is a novel published by Hyperion Books that depicts the story of seventh grader Maleeka Madison who has low self-esteem because of her dark skin color. All participants received a copy of the book.


Excursion No. 7: Light


January 4, 2016

This was a seniors only excursion. 

AEU, Hazelwood Active Living Center, and POORLAW hosted a trip to the Studio for Creative Inquiry for a dinner and presentation by Conflict Kitchen. We shared a Persian meal from Conflict Kitchen. After dinner, we went for a night time stroll through the Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory.



Excursion No. 6: Red


December 26, 2015

Our holiday excursion!

The first live theater experience for AEU a matinee performance of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer the Musical, based on the 1960s animated television show, at Heinz Hall. This popular holiday story reminded us that what makes us different also makes us special.

A surprise guest from the North Pole (with a white beard and red suit) met us at the City-County Building. 


Excursion No. 5: JOHN CON


October 17, 2015

Artist John Regeirt led a portrait workshop at Space Gallery. He passed on some of his drawing secrets and ended the session by inviting us to draw a portrait of him to be included in an exhibition organized by Brett Yasko.

We met up with Renee Piechocki, the director of the Office of Public Art, who took us on a tour which landed us on the roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Our last stop was Wood Street Galleries for a special viewing of a slow motion Spiderman invading a family portrait.


Excursion No. 4: Flux


October 3, 2015

The emphasis of the FLUX excursion was change. Change in the landscape, city, and representation. We investigated the theme at two locations, Silver Eye Center for Photography and Carrie Furnace.

At Silver Eye, we viewed the exhibition Dandy Lion (Re)Articulating Black Masculine Identity. We took a tour of the Alloy Pittsburgh exhibition at Carrie Furnace and met with artists Rose Clancy, Liz Hammond, Sarika Goulatia, and Ricardo Robinson.

Each participant on the excursion was given a disposable camera to photograph their experience. We collected the cameras at the end of the day, processed the film, and awarded cash prizes for the top three photographs.


Excursion No. 3: Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob


September 12, 2015

We toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob in the beautiful Laurel Highlands located 43 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Fallingwater was built in 1935 and is one of the most significant architectural pieces of the 20th century. We had a 60 minute guided tour of the house, guest house, and garage.

Just down the road is Kentuck Knob, also designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. We had a 40 minute guided tour of the house. There was also a sculpture garden on the grounds with works by Claes Oldenburg, Andy Goldsworthy, and other world renowned artists.


Excursion No. 2: Pittsburgh Hollywood


August 13, 2015

Pittsburgh is sometimes called Hollywood of the East at least by industry insiders and this was our chance to be one for a day. Artist Alexis Gideon joined us at the library to present his stop motion animated films. Gideon writes, scores, directs, and performs each of his films live. He shared his process and movies before we departed.

At 11:00am we boarded the bus for the Official Film Office Movie Tour, a three hour behind the scenes visit to locations where movies such as the Dark Knight, Flashdance, and Inspector Gadget were shot. We went up the Duquesne Incline, enjoyed snacks, and watched a few scenes from movies filmed in Pittsburgh.

Our last stop was the studio of WQED. We learned the history of WQED as we toured the WQED-FM 89.3 studio, the Fred Rogers Studio, Studios B and C, the HD Sony Master Control Room. Plus, we hung out with Rick Sebak!

Visiting Blue Slide Park with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. Photo by Dashawn Gray.

Excursion No. 1: Play in Pittsburgh


July 23, 2015

We met with experts in the field of play to explore, analyze, and discuss the history and importance of playgrounds in the region. We visited the “Blue Slide Park” with Ernie Detorre and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; Frick Park Playground at Braddock and Forbes Avenue with Dick Wilford, Park Foreman; Ferguson Park in Wilkinsburg with Patrick Shattuck; and toured Randyland with Randy Gilson.

At each stop we considered the formal, conceptual, experiential, and community facets of the location.