November 16, 2023

Experiential Learning in Pittsburgh 2023

KyCAD students, faculty, and staff traveled to Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania during the Fall 2023 Intersession for an intensive exploration of art made in response to and meant to exist in a certain place, sometimes for a limited period. It was no coincidence that KyCAD Assistant Professor of Studio Art Shohei Katayama had recently unveiled multiple installations in Pittsburgh.


Upon arrival, the group hit the ground running, going directly to the UPMC Mercy Hospital where public art consultant and project lead Renee Piechocki toured them through the half dozen site-specific installations commissioned for this brand new, state of the art health care facility. Shohei Katayama was commissioned to make his work “Synergy” as a permanent installation in the Vision Institute.


The next morning, The KyCAD group began its day at the AndyWarhol Museum. As it happens, several students had just completed the“Silkscreen: Text as Image” course with Assistant Professor of Studio Art Damon Arhos, so they knew exactly what went into Warhol’s large scale silkscreens of superstars.


Later, Lacey Murray, Tough Art Curator, guided the crew through the rich, largely interactive art collections and site-specific installations, including Shohei Katayama’s “Cascade” in the museum café at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and Museum Lab. Here, students were seeing the work of their teacher alongside the work of his mentor, Ned Kahn, making this an especially meaningful visit.


During the afternoon break many in the group arrived simultaneously at a wildly eclectic immersive art yard called Randyland, and then wandered over to the nearby Poet’s House on which a circular poem is painted, only to be given an impromptu talk by Anne Billiet Lackner, Board Member of the City of Asylum alleyway writers’ houses.


Shohei Katayama’s newly opened site-specific installation,“As Below, So Above,” sparked the visit to the Mattress Factory. Mattie Cannon,Artist Engagement Manager, led KyCAD folks through the ever-changing installations by world renown artists, including Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell.


The final stop was the Troy Hill Art Houses, which are immersive art experiences discreetly hiding inside three neighborhood houses. Students found themselves climbing up chimneys, heading downstairs to mad scientists’ secret lairs, and climbing up inside a (not very miniature) lighthouse. No one had ever seen anything like this. The immersive educational tour of site-specific artworks was complete, and the happy entourage prepared for the journey back to Louisville the next morning.

Dr. Cristina Carbone
Assistant Professor of Art History