Three Phases


Three Phases

The Encounters Project unfolded in three phases over the course of one semester. The first, involved us, the undergraduates, learning to teach public art lessons to high school students. These lessons were then implemented in the form of site visits and classroom activities to study local and global public works. In the second phase, we shifted from studying to creating, asking each student to create their own original works. The last phase was the exhibition that displayed the works of the high school students, and was curated by the undergraduates. 


Learning to Teach

Starting in January, we spent a few weeks reading educational theories and practices, and learning about the issues facing the Pittsburgh Public Schools District. This time allowed students to learn how to develop interactive lessons that engaged students and delivered content in a meaningful way. Half of the lessons were site visits to local public works, and the other half were lesson activities that were conducted in the classroom. Each site visit allowed time to interact with the work, but there were also activities in the form of worksheets to encourage students to physically encounter and confront the sites. For the classroom sessions we relied on PowerPoint to bring global monuments into their school environment, but each activity was carefully planned to be very interactive.


Creating Artwork

At the end of February the program shifted its focus from studying public art to creating individual projects for a final exhibition. Each student was asked to make an original work that communicated a larger statement. We started this process by brainstorming ideas or concepts that were particularly important to each student. They were not required to work from the concepts we had discussed in earlier sessions, but many of the works reflect an influence from at least one of these lessons. Although the focus of the lessons in the first phase of the project was on public art, the students were given the freedom to work with any material and medium that interested them. This resulted in 8 unique projects that reflect the diversity of the curriculum and the students who participated in the project.


Final Exhibition

In this last phase of the project, we planned and installed an exhibition of the high school student’s works. We choose to include photos, worksheets, and lesson connections to give viewers a glimpse of each artist’s process. Working closely with the students during the production phase allowed us to understand the works and the artistic choices that were made. Based on visual analysis we could draw connections between the sites we studied in the beginning of the course to the works that were ultimately produced in the end. 

  • Encounters
  • Undergraduate Work