5 Organizations Improving Arts Education In Pennsylvania

Studying art can be engaging and fulfilling for kids and adults alike. Taking the time for creative pursuits boosts creativity, relieves stress, and keeps the mind active. The organizations listed here make it easier for people to be more artistic, no matter their skill level or financial situation. Whether you're a Pennsylvanian looking for a new hobby or a patron of the arts, consider supporting these five groups. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Pennsylvania Groups Dedicated To Art

Organization Location Mission
Mighty Writers Philadelphia Teach Philadelphia kids to think and write with clarity so they can achieve success at school, at work, and in life
West Park Cultural Center Philadelphia Use arts and culture to help children tap their creative and academic potential
Touchstone Center For Crafts Farmington Foster interest in the preservation of traditional crafts as well as more contemporary and experimental techniques
Sweetwater Center for the Arts Sewickley Enrich the lives of children and adults by providing arts education and cultural programming
Philadelphia Art Alliance at University of the Arts Philadelphia Encourage interest in and appreciation for innovative contemporary craft and design and inspire dynamic interactions between audiences and artists

Famous Artists From Pennsylvania

10 Thought-Provoking Documentaries About Art

  1. Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)
  2. National Gallery (2014)
  3. Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (2016)
  4. The Cool School (2008)
  5. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)
  6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
  7. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)
  8. The Barefoot Artist (2014)
  9. Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery (2014)
  10. I Am Sun Mu (2015)

Tips For Being More Creative

  • Ask questions
  • Learn more about any topic you find interesting
  • Bring a sketch pad with you when you go out
  • Make time to play, no matter how old you get
  • Keep a journal
  • Learn to sculpt clay or wood
  • Don't be afraid to take risks
  • Carry a camera with you
  • Do something creative every day, even if it's small

Why Art Is Important

In Depth

Developing an appreciation for art as a child can lead to a lifetime of joy in creative expression, and committed students who've found their passion deserve the chance to explore it. Pennsylvania is home to many groups helping kids and adults connect to their culture and community through classes and exhibitions. In no particular order, here are five organizations dedicated to ensuring everyone in the state can benefit from an education in the arts.

Starting off the list at #1 is Mighty Writers. With seven different offices serving the greater Philadelphia area, Mighty Writers helps more than 3,000 kids every year develop their writing skills through free programs. These include workshops in poetry, playwriting, and fiction, bilingual programs, after-school intensives for teen scholars, and even a practicum on mindfulness tools.

The types of workshops and ages served vary by location, with some classes offered for kids as young as two years old. For those who don't live near a center, Mighty Writers also takes its programs on the road, and interested parties can make a request through the website so students at your school can take part in these free classes that leave an indelible impression on participants.

The types of workshops and ages served vary by location, with some classes offered for kids as young as two years old.

At #2 is the West Park Cultural Center, which helps children and adults tap into their creative potential in a variety of artistic endeavors. The group also runs the West Park Arts Fest, an annual festival featuring music, dance, pony rides, and events that explore the different cultural backgrounds of those in the community. Students can display their portfolios on the center's website to show how they've developed in their creative projects.

Some of the classes offered include danceLogic, a Saturday dance class for teens, and a weekly film class utilizing professional equipment and software, as well as an after-school ceramics workshop for kids as young as six who want to learn how to work with clay and try using a potter's wheel. There is also a summer arts program for elementary-aged kids called Camp Ginkgo, and partial and full scholarships are available for those who qualify.

The #3 pick is the Touchstone Center For Crafts in Farmington, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1972 with the goal of preserving traditional crafts, it offers instruction in areas such as glass, ceramics, drawing and painting, metals and jewelry, and even blacksmithing. Many workshops are organized to span a single weekend, allowing out-of-town visitors to spend a few days on the gorgeous campus exploring their passions.

Many workshops are organized to span a single weekend, allowing out-of-town visitors to spend a few days on the gorgeous campus exploring their passions.

Touchstone also offers Teen Week, which features week-long summer programs in July that allow young people to explore the arts in a fun and social environment. There are also retreats for educators, with professional development intertwined with projects that can be done in the classroom. If you're looking for a romantic evening, date nights are offered on the second and fourth Fridays all summer, so you and your partner can try something new.

#4 is the Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley, just outside of Pittsburgh. For more than 40 years, Sweetwater has provided the community with exhibitions, performances, and instruction. The permanent collection contains works by local and nationally-recognized artists, and rotating exhibitions ensure that there's always something new to be seen at the old post office building, which can also be rented out for special events.

Offerings at the center range from lectures and poetry readings to culinary evenings that take advantage of the kitchen facilities. The heart of the center's work is education, and there are classes for all ages, from young children to seniors, in subjects like music, painting, theater, animation, and cooking. Members help out by donating, which ensures the organization has the funds to keep providing so many effective programs.

The heart of the center's work is education, and there are classes for all ages, from young children to seniors, in subjects like music, painting, theater, animation, and cooking.

Rounding out the list at #5 is the Philadelphia Art Alliance at University of the Arts. Located in Philadelphia, these two institutions, both more than a century old, merged in 2018 to form an educational enterprise that prides itself on its offerings across disciplines, ensuring that its approximately 1,900 students can take classes in a variety of media from the more than 100 full-time faculty members.

In addition to the undergraduate and graduate programs, there are also pre-college courses for creative young people, like the Summer Institute for high schoolers and the Saturday Arts Lab for younger children. The school also offers the Doctorate in Creativity, a low-residency degree that involves intense immersion in creative thinking and the development of a unique dissertation. Admissions are done on a rolling basis, and financial aid is available thanks to the generosity of the school's supporters.