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Art Connection program offers path painted by likes of Andy Warhol

| Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, 1:55 p.m.

There's an art class in Pittsburgh that could turn your kid into an Andy Warhol .

Well, it certainly helped Andy Warhol. In 1938, the great pop artist, at only 10 years old, took free Saturday art classes from renowned art teacher Joseph C. Fitzpatrick at Carnegie Museum of Art. He turned out pretty well.

Of course, he wasn't the only notable alum. Painter Philip Pearlstein , photographer Duane Michals , book jacket and record cover illustrator Mozelle Thompson and actor Jeff Goldblum all made an art connection at Carnegie Museum of Art .

Over the years - 88 of them to be exact - the classes have been known by several names: Tam O'Shanter, Palette, Saturday Creative Art Classes, and now The Art Connection. Many of the great lessons are timeless, though.

"It's about imagination, determination and iteration," said Marilyn Russell, Carnegie Museum of Art's director of education.

The museum is gearing up for its 89th season of The Art Connection. Children in fifth through ninth grades will learn drawing, sculpture, printmaking , painting and digital skills. They'll also be schooled in how to analyze works of art and discover personal meaning in pieces.

The students are lucky to learn by using real artists' materials. They're also treated to instruction from five practicing Pittsburgh artists, one for each grade level.

When students' works are displayed at the end of the 18-week program - in April 2018 - the museum will house art created by Pittsburghers taught by Pittsburghers. That's a lot of local talent .

Being literally surrounded by some of the greatest works of art in history makes for an incredible classroom. Students in Art Connection classes are able to draw inspiration from the wealth of material in Carnegie Museum of Art's extensive collection.

The museum has more than 30,000 objects in a diverse selection of mediums - paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, architectural casts, films, and videos.

Students can observe exhibitions like "20/20," which is at Carnegie Museum of Art in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem and features works with themes focused on race, social justice, and American identity. The exhibition opened July 22 and runs through Dec. 31.

Another exhibition features the work of famed Pittsburgh photographer Teenie Harris , who documented Pittsburgh's black community from 1935 through 1975.

In "Teenie Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice," 24 of the talented photographer's works are accompanied by the recorded voices of people who lived those stories. The exhibition opened July 29 and runs through Jan. 28, 2018.

The Art Connection can accommodate up to 200 students. Classes are $300 per student - though Carnegie Museum members save $30 and scholarships are available.

Classes begin Oct. 7 and run through March 3, 2018, with 120-minute sessions starting Saturdays at 10:10 a.m. and 1:10 p.m.

Registration for new students starts Sept. 5.

"You don't have to be artistically talented," Russell said. "It's really about an interest in learning and an interest in making things."

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