Summary of Current and Past Outreach Programs and Collaborations
Sweetwater continues to employ programming strategies to diversify its audience base both ethnically and geographically and also seeks to reach all economic strata and ages. To accomplish these goals, Sweetwater remains committed to forging partnerships with other area nonprofit groups and community organizations in its ongoing mission to introduce new audiences to quality cultural experiences via public service programs. These include public cultural events as well as various outreach programs that are tailored to a particular constituency, such as the young, the elderly and the under-represented.
Recent Outreach Programs (2010 - present)
The Creative Summer Experience (ongoing)
A summer program now in its eighth successful year, The Creative Summer Experience is a joint venture between Sweetwater and The Sewickley Community Center for ages six through twelve. This two-week, full day multicultural art camp encourages children to engage the vitality and history of other world cultures through the visual and performing arts, educational play activities and group projects. Children spend half of the day at Sweetwater and the other half at the Sewickley Community Center. The goal of this program is to offer an affordable day camp for all socioeconomic levels. The thirty-four children enrolled in the 2011 camp were from diverse backgrounds and 35% of the children enrolled received full scholarships.
Mooncrest After School Program and Summer Program (ongoing)
Since 2004, Sweetwater has assisted the Mooncrest After School Program and Summer Program in designing and implementing a series of theme-based, qualitative arts experiences for at-risk children in grades one through six. The sessions are guided by an experienced instructor from Sweetwater. This supplemental arts program meets once a week for one and a half hours. This is a continuing program and is aimed at at-risk youth in Coraopolis.
Girls Hope of Pittsburgh, Inc. (ongoing)
In January 2011, Sweetwater implemented a bimonthly art program with Girls Hope of Pittsburgh, an organization providing a well-balanced, nurturing home and quality education for academically capable girls between the ages of 10-18 who are at risk due to poverty, neglect or harmful neighborhood conditions. This program is ongoing, and Sweetwater currently sends art instructors to two of the Girls Hope group homes (located in Coraopolis and Baden), where the instructors engage the residents in a variety of art activities. Each home has approximately seven residents who participate in the art activities. The girls also have the opportunity to take field trips to Sweetwater to work in Sweetwater's ceramic studio.
Summerbridge Pittsburgh Arts Collaboration (ongoing)
Summerbridge Pittsburgh is a tuition-free academic enrichment program based at Sewickley Academy that empowers at-risk middle school students with opportunities to achieve success and inspires young adults to pursue careers in education. Since 1994, Summerbridge has worked with youth in pockets of the community where economic opportunities are limited and risks to children are greatest. For the past four years, Sweetwater has collaborated with Summerbridge to offer "art club" activities to approximately 120 rising seventh and eighth grade students participating in the Summerbridge program. Sweetwater also offers a more intensive art program to a select group of approximately ten rising ninth grade students referred to as the Summerbridge "community leaders." Sweetwater provides all art supplies and equipment for these activities, and neither Sweetwater nor Sewickley Academy charges a fee for these programs.
In the 2011/2012 school year, Sweetwater is hosting four Saturday workshops for Summerbridge students. Designed to be a non-threatening exposure to art, workshop topics include things like henna tattoos and duct tape wallets. As an incentive for participation, Sweetwater will aware the student with the highest attendance an iPod at the end of the school year.
Art Program at Valley Care Association (Oct 2007 - April 2013)
Beginning in October 2007, Sweetwater collaborated with Valley Care Association in order to provide art instruction to those attending Valley Care's adult day care services located in Ambridge. Once a week, a Sweetwater veteran instructor provides art instruction in a variety of media to Valley Care's clients, many of whom suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's. In September 2009, Sweetwater implemented a duplicate program at Valley Care's newly opened Moon Township location.
After School Arts Program at Allard Elementary School (ongoing)
In January 2011, Sweetwater began working with Allard Elementary School (part of Moon Area School District) to provide after school art programs. Sweetwater is currently running two ongoing, weekly programs; one for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5. These programs give students the opportunity to explore art history and multicultural arts through various art projects and media in an age appropriate way.
After School Arts Program at St. James School (ongoing)
Since 2007, Sweetwater has provided an off-site, after school program at St. James School in Sewickley. Currently, participants include children in grades one through four. Each semester, children explore art history and multicultural arts through various art projects and media, including painting, drawing, ceramics and photography.
Sewickley Y Teen Center (ongoing)
In Summer 2010, the Sewickley Valley Y received a grant to build a new teen center, aimed at providing students in grades 6-9 with healthy after school activities, regardless of YMCA membership. The endeavor has taken the form of a community initiative and a collaborative project involving the YMCA, the Quaker Valley School District, area churches, the Sewickley Library, the Laughlin Center and Sweetwater Center for the Arts. Sweetwater's role has been to provide free after school art activities as part of a community after school program. Sweetwater has been providing after school art workshops since November 2010, and will continue to provide once a month workshops during the 2011/2012 school year.
After School Arts Program with Cornell School District
In winter 2011, Sweetwater resumed working with the Cornell School District's P.R.I.D.E. program, an after school collaboration that started in 2008, when Sweetwater first began providing supplemental arts education to at-risk youth. P.R.I.D.E. is part of an on-going after school initiative aimed at providing opportunities for social, cultural and recreational activities that promote character development, resiliency and positive attitude toward education. Sweetwater works with children grades six through twelve on a once a month basis for eight sessions, allowing the students to experience cultural enrichment through art history lessons, to develop technical skills through individual art projects, and to build life skills through group projects, all of which aid in personal development. Approximately thirty children benefit from monthly exposure to arts with Sweetwater, which is free to all participants. Because Cornell only receives funding for this program biennially, the program was unable to run in 2009. During 2009, Sweetwater was able to offer a program for Cornell's first graders as an alternative.
Intergenerational Art Classes at B.F. Jones Memorial Library
In 2010, B.F. Jones Memorial Library (located in Aliquippa, PA) received a grant from the Remmel Foundation through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee to provide intergenerational programming for library patrons. A major component of the grant is the library's collaboration with Sweetwater to present a series of art classes for a two-person team, consisting of a grandparent or caregiver over the age of 55 and a school-age child. The art classes are split into three, six week sessions during which Sweetwater instructors teach at the library on a once a week basis. The program began in July 2010 and continued through spring 2011.
Supplemental Art Program with Cornell School District First Graders
When funding for Cornell's P.R.I.D.E. program was cut, Sweetwater found a way to continue working with the children from Cornell School District. Since students at Cornell do not begin art education until they reach the second grade, Sweetwater provided a supplemental art program to the district's first graders. Forty-five first graders participated in weekly art classes taught by a Sweetwater instructor from November 2009 through June 2010. The majority of these students had never been formally exposed to art, and these classes served to help students to begin to understand the differences between materials, techniques, and processes as well as how to use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences and stories.
After School Photography Program with Ambridge Middle School and High School
In spring 2010, Sweetwater provided two separate six week digital photography programs to Ambridge Middle School and High School with approximately 15 participants in each program. Photography was chosen for the subject due to a high level of student interest in the medium and the fact that students were not getting nearly as much time to study it in school as they would like. Participants learned about the history of photography as well as various techniques for lighting effects, composition and subject matter. The program was met with excellent reviews from students as well as their school art teachers.
Family Fun Nights with the Coraopolis Youth Network
The Coraopolis Youth Network was formed in 2010 to provide support for youth in the Cornell School District community. CYN is a community collaborative made up of representatives from the school district, local non-profit organizations, churches and individual community volunteers. CYN's mission is to provide the youth of Coraopolis and their families with resources, education and mentoring. In both May and November of 2011, Sweetwater collaborated with CYN and several other organizations to provide an evening of free family fun for Cornell students and their families which included swimming, gym games, pizza and pop and art activities taught by one of Sweetwater's instructors.
Sewickley Youth Connect Workshops
In spring 2010, Sweetwater provided four workshops at the Sewickley Community Center in collaboration with an afterschool program coordinated by Sewickley Youth Connect. These workshops took place on Friday afternoons with the objective being to offer an alternative afterschool program to children who had been previously attending an afterschool program at the Sewickley Library, which temporarily cut its Friday operating hours, thus eliminating its afterschool program on Fridays.
O'Brien Family Center
In June 2009, Sweetwater provided a one-day cartooning workshop for the O'Brien Family Center, which is an organization that provides day care and summer camps for the families of PNC employees. Sweetwater sent an instructor to the Center's downtown facilities, and worked with twenty-two children between the ages of six and twelve. In August 2010, Sweetwater again worked with the O'Brien Family Center, this time providing a workshop on the art of origami.
Community Service Opportunities
Sweetwater provides opportunities for community service to youth in both the Cornell Abraxas WorkBridge program for delinquent boys and girls and the Life's Work of Western PA program for developmentally delayed youth. Sweetwater also works closely with middle school and high school students from Quaker Valley, Sewickley Academy, Moon, Oakland Catholic, North Allegheny and Avonworth to assist students in completing their community service hours. Several students from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University participate in volunteer programs at Sweetwater as well.
Spina Bifida Association's Blue Prints Program
The Blue Prints Program offers young children ages two through five with disabilities, especially those with spina bifida, the opportunity to develop social, motor, and sensory skills by interacting with their peers in a fun and stimulating environment. Sweetwater provided art instruction to a group of eight children and their parents on a once a week basis beginning in January 2010 at Sweetwater.
Jewelry Workshop with the Sewickley Area Mom's Club
In October 2011 the Sewickley Mom's Club attended a "Girls Night Out" event at Sweetwater. They had the opportunity to work with one of our jewelry instructors to create earrings and pendant necklaces. The Sewickley Area Mom's Club is a diverse group of women with children of all ages, living in Sewickley and the surrounding communities. They offer an array of activities for both Mom's and their kids.
Sweetwater presented its 15th Annual MAVUNO Festival of African American Art & Culture in the fall of 2011. MAVUNO, translated as "first fruit" in Swahili, traditionally begins at the start of the Fall/Harvest season. From early-September through mid-October, the MAVUNO Festival featured a wide range of performances, workshops, visual art exhibitions, and much more in celebration of the African American voice and vision of the region. During the festival, Sweetwater offered the following free events:
The Babatunde Lea Quartet - Performances at Bon Meade Elementary School and Cornell School District
"Jazz steeped in the rhythms of the African Diaspora!" Babatunde Lea's music is influenced by the many African drumming/cultural experiences that he has had throughout his lifetime. His music is also inspired by the likes of Pharaoh Sanders, McCoy Tyner, Leon Thomas and Randy Weston, just to name a few. One of Babatunde's biggest influences was Babatunde Olatunji, when he saw him at a concert in NYC/Cooper Union University in 1959. That performance is what let Babatunde Lea know that he was and is a drummer!
Confluence: Diversity at its Best - Performance at Ambridge High School
Three Pittsburgh based dance companies MillerDANCE, Wacongo Dance Company of Afrika Yetu, and Nandanik Dance Troupe have joined forces to produce an original performance, "Confluence". Each company's work is representative of river waters, as well as the fish, the birds and the trees on the banks. Each organization brings different approaches and different expressions of dance, art and music to their work. The result is a true confluence of different artistic styles that mirrors the confluence of rivers.
"Confluence" highlights the strength, integrity and cultural traditions of each company as they converge into an intercultural performance.
*For more information about MAVUNO, please visit: www.SweetwaterArtCenter.org/mavuno-festival/
Arts Education Collaborative
In 2010, Sweetwater began working the Arts Education Collaborative to offer Act 48 credits to teachers in the Greater Pittsburgh region. The Arts Education Collaborative, whose mission is to strengthen education by making the arts central to learning through collaboration, research, and advocacy, has assisted Sweetwater by providing the evaluation tools necessary to provide Act 48 credits for Sweetwater's ceramics classes.
Animal Rescue League of Pennsylvania's Wildlife Center
Beginning in spring 2008, Sweetwater has partnered each session with the Animal Rescue League of Pennsylvania's Wildlife Center to offer a "Live Animal Art" class to children ages 8-12. Each class, a different live animal is brought to Sweetwater. Most of the animals are permanent residents at the wildlife center, having been rehabilitated from life threatening accidents or environments. The children learn about the habitat and characteristics of each animal, and then recreate the animals using a different art medium each week.
Fern Hollow Nature Center
For the past five summers, Sweetwater has partnered with Fern Hollow Nature Center to offer a joint, full-day summer camp that utilizes the resources of both organizations. The camp is held off-site at Fern Hollow, where students spend the mornings exploring art and the afternoons exploring nature.
Sewickley Valley YMCA
Sweetwater partnered with the Sewickley Valley YMCA in the summer of 2010 to offer two joint summer camps. The camps utilized the YMCA's facilities, and incorporated both the arts and athletics in an effort to combine both organizations diverse resources.
Music Together - Lisa Rae Vaughn Music Studios, LLC
Music Together is a family oriented music and movement approach to early childhood music development for infant, toddler, preschool, and kindergarten children and their parents. The curriculum supports Head Start Performance and NAEYC Program Standards. Since January 2010, Sweetwater has been hosting several Music Together classes on a once a week basis. The program is highly successful, and classes are almost always full with twelve pairs of students/parents.
In 2011, Sweetwater participated in several festivals in the surrounding Pittsburgh area as part of our marketing outreach, the objective being to reach a larger demographic of people and to introduce them to our center. Free art demonstrations and children's art activities were offered to the public in several different mediums.
Three Rivers Arts Festival
Sweetwater was invited to participate in the Three Rivers Arts Festival in downtown Pittsburgh in June 2011 for a three day event, exposing the Center to 10,000-25,000 people. Sweetwater provided demonstrations in wheel-thrown pottery, jewelry making and painting, all given by Sweetwater instructors, who are also professional artists. Sweetwater also provided several free multicultural art activities for children.
Sweetwater traditionally participates in Sewickley's May Mart, an annual festival in the Village featuring plants and garden accessories supplied by local garden clubs and vendors. Sweetwater provides free art activities to kids.
Sweetwater has participated for several years in Sewickley's annual Harvest Festival, organized by the Kiwanis Club of Sewickley and the Quaker Valley Rotary Club. The festival takes place in the center of town and features about 140 vendors selling crafts, art, jewelry, clothing, holiday items and food as well as providing children's activities and entertainment. In the fall of 2011 Sweetwater offered free children's activities during the festival, including handmade pumpkin masks to approximately 100 children.
Fall 2011 marked the first year that Sweetwater participated in the Allegheny Regional Asset District's RADical Days at the Pittsburgh Zoo. RAD supports and finances regional assets in the areas of libraries, parks and recreation, cultural, sports and civic facilities and programs. Every fall, RAD hosts RADical Days around the Pittsburgh area where the public can enjoy activities at no cost. Sweetwater participated at the zoo and offered free art activities to approximately 400 children during the free admission day.
Art Night at PNC Park
In summer 2011 Sweetwater was invited to participate in the Art Night at PNC Park during the Pittsburgh Pirates Game. Approximately 30 local art galleries and organizations were invited to display their artwork and other information about their organization. Sweetwater offered a free activity for children to make pirate hats.