Creating Community Through an Exhibition

Staff of PGC and artists who created work for Gathered Locally, pose around the exhibition that displays the work of local Pittsburgh glass artists.


Creating Community Through an Exhibition

Dilann Harris, Museum Studies Intern at Pittsburgh Glass Center – Fall 2021 

I received the opportunity to work alongside the Programming Director Valerie Bundy and Marketing Director Paige Ilkanhipour  at the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) under the Museum Internship program through Pitt. When first walking into any work environment, nerves are always high; however, the work place I became a part of was tremendously welcoming. Staff were always saying hello to me, no matter if I was just walking by or having to ask them a question relating to their work. My supervisors, Valerie and Paige, and the staff made it clear that one of their main goals within the institution is to create an environment in which artists can come together and celebrate their art. This was made apparent when my very first project for Valerie and Paige was to work on PGC’s most recent exhibition Gathered Locally.  

Gathered Locally displays a diverse range of glass works by local Pittsburgh glass artists and artists who have spent time at PGC to celebrate its 20 years. When I first met with Valerie and Paige to discuss the new gallery exhibition, they emphasized that they wished for the exhibition to demonstrate that, despite the challenges of the past few years, we are still able to come together as a community through our passions and shared moments. Gathered Locally represents the safe space that PGC has provided for a multitude of artists and its audience to express their creativity. 

To make the vision of Gathered Locally come alive, I was assigned the task of obtaining the information about participating artists’ works; including the artwork titles, descriptions, and the artist’s personal story of PGC that makers wished to share. I was still connecting names to faces of employees who worked in the building, but now working on this project I was being introduced to artists that have had connections with PGC ranging from a year to over a decade. It was challenging to only meet these artists virtually on a computer screen, but still excited to help PGC tell their stories. With each artist I met, each one was welcoming and would go on and on about how great PGC has been to them and their time as an artist. 

As the opening of Gathered Locally approached I helped organize the checklist so that when, artists dropped off their pieces at PGC they could be properly installed with accurate display labels and interpretative materials. Left in charge of collecting the artist's work, I was given the opportunity to finally connect names to faces. Whenever a new participating artist would come in to drop off their piece, artists would always say hello to almost everyone they bumped into at PGC and share with me their PGC story. Having collected all the pieces, Gathered Locally was able to come together and demonstrate that even through the past few years that have been anything but easy, the people and artists of Pittsburgh are able to come together and create a space in which their gift is shared with others. The atmosphere Pittsburgh Glass Center creates not only aids them in networking to create new connections within Pittsburgh but makes them be able to achieve producing an exhibition praising the diversity of artists that all share the same love of art and glass.

  • Academic Interns
  • Undergraduate Work