Voices of Youth Pittsburgh Prayer Wheels

Voices of Youth Pittsburgh Prayer Wheels

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

“Pittsburgh Prayer Wheels” is a youth-driven project. A group of CAPA HS students as “Youth Voices of Pittsburgh” will involve the city’s youth in the creation of public artworks that give voice to their ideas and allow for community reflection on them.

Through neighborhood and virtual forums, workshops and a blog site, all youth would be invited to voice their ideas and concerns.

Traveling studios and on-line submissions would permit the participants to translate their voices into visual references, or “sketches”. These “sketches” could contain symbols, words, drawings, poems, etc., and would be incorporated onto the surface of multiple rings.  

Referencing the Tibetan prayer wheel, these rings would be assembled to make large “prayer wheels”, will be fabricated in aluminum and recycled materials, all sustainable, and would be installed along the city’s rivers.

The cylinders will rotate as they are touched, allowing for an immediate multi-sensory experience with the work and encouraging a contemplative response to the youths’ diverse ideas. 

About You
Project Street Address

1307 Sherman Avenue

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What is your idea? What makes your project innovative? Why is it important?

The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better. This project is innovative in that it infuses an Eastern Traditional Object with Contemporary Western Youth voices, with young people collaborating for positive change. In a world growing increasingly smaller, yet seemingly more divided, it is important that young people develop skills to communicate their ideas in a team setting and in a visual language, across cultures. We also hope to harness wind, water, or solar energy to power a continual rotation of the Youth Voices Prayer Wheels. As the Tibetan tradition states, the more the wheels rotate, the more positive energy is released.

What will be the impact of your idea?

Plugged in, signed on, down-loaded and thinking – this project initiates on-line and real-time collaborations between neighborhoods, schools, youth groups, artists, community members, professionals, and cultural institutions to establish a forum for the Voices of Pittsburgh Youth.

This project creates a forum for the youth of our area to voice their concerns and ideas. In many circumstances teenagers are considered to be threatening and it is imperative that they are allowed a safe, considerate, and appropriate place to state their opinions.

Through the project’s website and blogspot, anyone can analyze and respond to their opinions, ideas, voices and concerns.
The blogspot will become the arena for the dissemination of information and place for open creative dialogue. At the on-site forums and workshop the youth will make art that reflects their own take on the issues about which they are most concerned. They will create this piece. We, as adult artists, will only help to facilitate the final design.

While the Voices of Youth can develop over the Internet, it is also imperative that the participants become receptive to new ideas as well as develop their individual pursuits. The spinning prayer wheels allow for a collaborative collage of ideas. It is our responsibility as adult artists to suggest and mitigate the final results.

There can be virtual exhibitions of submitted work as well as exhibitions in related communities. We feel that we can incorporate many voices in many areas with our idea.

What will it take to launch your idea? How will you secure community support and youth participation?

We are all adjunct art instructors at CAPA High School and therefore have a very willing pool of talent to draw from. We also have built strong collaboration partnerships with The Andy Warhol Museum and The Mattress Factory.

The project will be launched by the CAPA HS “Community Art Ambassadors” who will create a website and blog for the project, send out e-vites, create Facebook events, and contact the city papers. Additionally, solicitations will be made through the Pittsburgh Public and Private Schools teacher networks.

Libraries and other safe havens would be the sites for the forums, while the traveling studio could take place at parks, youth centers (such as Sarah Heinz House), The Warhol Museum, The Mattress Factory, or schools.

The website and blog will document and record the process and disseminate the schedule of forums/workshops and will include a digital exhibition of works in progress.

The construction of the cylinders would become community events.

The $25,000 budget will cover costs of art materials, casting expenses, stipends and honorariums.

We would pursue additional funding through donations of materials.

We are looking for ideas from people who can make them happen. Tell us about yourself or your team.

Karen Page has received many awards including an NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, a PA Council on the Arts Crafts Fellowship, and a Surdna Art Teacher Fellowship.
- MFA (Kent State University), BFA (Syracuse University)

Carley Parrish has been awarded multiple public art commissions as well as grants for staging hot metal pours with young people.
- BFA (University of NY at Buffalo)

Shannon Pultz, a member of the art collective, Art Club2000, has exhibited in NYC, Europe and Mexico.
- Previous Editor of the English edition of the art magazine, Flash Art International.
- BFA (The Cooper Union), Art K-12 certified

We are all art adjunct instructors at CAPA HS (Textiles, Sculpture, and Printmaking respectively). We bring to this project our many years of experience as teaching and exhibiting artists. Our commitment is evidenced by our daily dedication to artistic expression, education, and specifically problem-solving through the creative process as we work with and empower youth to realize their artistic voice.

Please join us for the closing reception of our students’ exhibition at Eastside Gallery, May 29 from 6-9pm.