The Secret Pittsburgh course encourages students to reach out to the community and share their work in venues complimentary to this online guide.
The Spring 2016
Thanks to a generous invitation by the Wheel Mill bike park to participate in one of the “When I’m Not Riding” art gallery evenings, students in the Spring 2016 course designed an interactive community art display. They rose to the challenge of creating a way to share their semester’s experiences with an audience outside the University. Part scavenger hunt, part multi-modal art piece, their work “From Wheel Mills to Steel Mills: Uncovering Secret Pittsburgh” was composed of two parts:
- Wheel-Mill inspired directional signs, pointing the general audience towards the different spring sites (and noting their distances and directions from the Wheel Mill).
- A scavenger hunt, with stops (and clues) scattered strategically throughout the Wheel Mill’s various rooms. Each stop included a large poster with site information, photographs taken during site visits, student generated GSI maps, and individual creative writing pieces that engage with the literary texts and physical spaces the explored by the 2016 class. As visitors to the art gallery night discovered each hidden portion of the scavenger hunt, they uncovered more information about the sites and experienced the different sections of one site in particular–The Wheel Mill! On the back of the clues was a surprise puzzle for those that completed the scavenger hunt.
Event-goers had a blast working through their creation,and younger participants especially seemed to enjoy scrambling to figure out the surprise puzzle. It was a hugely successful (and very fun) way to share a semester’s worth of work!
Check out this excerpt (from the Creativity City site entry) about a portion of the display: “For the Secret Pittsburgh course, we were tasked with shopping at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. For the mere price of $8 a bag, we split into groups and filled each bag to the brim with items from the “bulk” section of the store. … A few weeks later, we were tasked with using these items to create a display about our class. At first glance, we were not quite sure what to do. The items were not very cohesive and most of them were people’s old junk from years ago. However, … We got our creative juices flowing and started digging through the bags to see what could be useful. In only a few hours, we had successfully created a display that really captured our class, made mostly out of old, recycled items! The display looked great and we felt great. If we had been given a bag of uniform items, or only a few of them, there’s no way we would have been able to create something so imaginative and cool.”
The Fall of 2015
Through a collaboration with the Pitt University Library System, students had the opportunity to generate content for five display cases in our main University library.