|Owner||Pittsburgh Public Schools|
Among school districts in the region—and perhaps the entire nation—the School District of Pittsburgh is unique in its stewardship of and access to original artwork by prominent artists. School students, teachers, and administrators alike can wander the halls and admire the artwork of noted painters, sculptors, and photographers. The second largest district in the state of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Public Schools serves an enrollment of more than 26,000 students in 54 schools.
Over the last century, Allegheny County organization called The Friends of Art has been involved in a singularly philanthropic activity: that of purchasing art from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual Exhibition (usually displayed at Carnegie Museum of Art) and donating those works to Pittsburgh Public Schools as The Friends of Art Collection.
Each Annual Exhibition of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh is juried by a prominent, well-regarded juror, visited by collectors and curators, and lauds honors and prizes on meritorious entrants. The Friends of Art then choose a small number of works each year from that highly select collection to share with the Pittsburgh Public Schools community.
The collection, now grown to hundreds of pieces, has been researched and catalogued by school students. The themes beautifully and poetically reflect the culture and history of the region. From the abstract expressions of exuberance or despair, the gritty steel mills or the lush Appalachian scenery to portraits of workers and aristocrats—these artworks have remained a local treasure accessible to a wide audience of school community members, including our youngest and most impressionable.
In addition to presenting a wide variety of artistic styles and genres, the collection shows a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Included in the collection are works by stalwart artists of color in the community such as Thaddeus Mosley and Jo Ann Bates.