Thanks to RMU, Pittsburgh babies get a head start on art appreciation

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pittsburgh – Thanks to faculty at Robert Morris University, 275 newborn babies in Pittsburgh recently received an original work of art as part of the “Start with Art: Pittsburgh.

Adjunct Media Arts faculty member Matthew Conboy launched “Start with Art” in January thanks to a $10,000 Crusade Engagement Grant he received from Crusade for Art. Currently, 2,600 infants have been given artwork, and the goal by year’s end is to give artwork to 3,100 infants.  

"’Start with Art’ creates the youngest art collectors in the entire world, and the thing that excites me the most about it is that it's right here in Pittsburgh," said Conboy.

Twelve artists, including six photographers, are participating in the project, including RMU Media Arts Professor Christine Holtz.

"When Matthew asked me to be a part of the project I didn't have to think about it. I immediately said yes," said Holtz. "It’s a good way to teach people to appreciate art, and there are so many good things I like about his idea."

Recently, Conboy received another grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council to create written and audio descriptions of each work of art. With this grant, Conboy hired RMU English Professor John Lawson to create these descriptions. The descriptions are intended to enable everyone, even those with visual impairments, to enjoy the artwork.

With the success of “Start with Art: Pittsburgh” in 2015, Conboy stated that the program will continue in 2016. “Start with Art: Pittsburgh” has been nominated for the Mayor's Award for Public Art, and has been recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

If you would like to read all of John Lawson's descriptions, see the other photographs, or learn more about Start with Art: Pittsburgh, click here.

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