14 Years of PITT ARTS

Looking Back
  14 Years of
   AnnaBelle clippinger
pitt arts mission
           Looking Back, Driving Forward

                 • To encourage students to participate in the
                 cultural opportunities that exist in the city of
                 Pittsburgh and on the University campus in
                                                                                  14 Years of PITT ARTS

                 order to develop in them the habit of active
                 involvement with the arts, both as participants
                 and as members of audiences so that they
                 will become sophisticated consumers and
                 supporters of the arts;

                                                                    Looking Back
                 • To extend the concept of the University’s
                 campus to encompass the larger Pittsburgh
                 community in order to take advantage of the

                 rich resources that are available in the area;

                 • To assist in the recruitment and retention of

                 students by the University through marketing
                 the rich cultural resources and the high
                 quality of life that exist in the region;

                 • To support the arts organizations on campus
                 and in the city by developing audiences for          14 Years of
                                                                          PITT    ARTS
                 their productions and events.

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                                                                       AnnaBelle clippinger
Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                              14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                    The University of Pittsburgh embraces its role as an urban institution, committed to
                                    ensuring that its students receive all the benefits from living and learning in one of America’s
                                    most exciting and vital cities. In no area is this commitment more evident than in its PITT
                                    ARTS program, through which students are integrated fully into the rich and diverse cultural
                                    opportunities in the region. The city of Pittsburgh is known for the excellence of its artistic
                                    and cultural institutions, ranging from the world-renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,
                                    to its excellent theater, opera and dance companies. The Carnegie, with its natural history,
                                    art, and science collections, is among the oldest and best in the nation. The Phipps
                                    Conservatory is one of the few remaining great glass horticultural showcases. Hundreds of
                                    other organizations and venues make Pittsburgh a vibrant arts center.

                                    The University realizes that it is not enough to provide students with proximity to this
                                    richness or to passively encourage students to experience it first-hand. Rather, the University
                                    set out in a creative and innovative way to ensure that its students have easy access to
                                    this richness and are actively encouraged to explore it. The pages that follow describe
                                    the numerous programs that the University has implemented through PITT ARTS to provide
                                    students with the richest possible experiences of the arts. The University community has
                                    embraced the opportunity, and the numbers taking advantage of these opportunities have
                                    grown exponentially since its founding. The arts organizations in turn have embraced the
                                    PITT ARTS’ efforts and have become committed partners.

                                    The history of PITT ARTS is one of great success, both for the University community and the
                                    arts community in Pittsburgh. This is audience development and audience building at its
                                    finest; it is not just about passive entertainment but active exploration and participation
                                    leading to understanding, intrinsically part of the University’s larger educational mission.
                                    It is one way in which the University has embraced its city and, by doing so, provided its
                                    students with the rich benefits of its location.

                                                                             Robert F. Pack, Vice Provost, University of Pittsburgh

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                              14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                    PITT ARTS is an innovative program that is truly one of a kind in our nation’s higher
                                    education landscape. Launched in 1997, it is designed to enhance and enrich University of
                                    Pittsburgh student experience through contact with the arts outside the classroom, and to
                                    bring each student to a personal and community-based understanding of the arts derived
                                    from experience with a multiplicity of art forms. PITT ARTS drew its impetus from a number
                                    of key conversations with interested arts faculty at the University of Pittsburgh with Provost
                                    James Maher. PITT ARTS did not begin to take shape until arts aficionado and University of
                                    Pittsburgh Vice Provost, Dr. Robert F. Pack cast about the city of Pittsburgh in August of 1997
                                    meeting with managing directors and marketing directors of numerous arts organizations.
                                    The effort to engage the arts community was far-reaching and effective and began with
                                    such significant players as The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh
                                    Ballet Theatre, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the Carnegie Museums of
                                    Art and Natural History. Robert F. Pack, an apt negotiator and visionary, quickly found buy-in
                                    and support from these important organizations with the following University goals in mind:

                                        • To encourage students to participate in the cultural opportunities that exist in
                                        the city of Pittsburgh and on the University campus in order to develop in them the
                                        habit of active involvement with the arts, both as participants and as members of
                                        audiences so that they will become sophisticated consumers and supporters of the

                                        • To extend the concept of the University’s campus to encompass the larger
                                        Pittsburgh community in order to take advantage of the rich resources that are
                                        available in the area; and

                                        • To assist in the recruitment and retention of students by the University through
                                        marketing the rich cultural resources and the high quality of life that exist in
                                        the region.

                                    Importantly, Pack put forth the following goal that directly benefitted the arts organizations
                                    and addressed their own outcomes:

                                        • To support the arts organizations on campus and in the city by developing
                                        audiences for their productions and events.

                                    The notion of “the city is our campus” was born. To this day, this phrase maintains its cultural
                                    currency at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                              14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                    ARTS FACULTY LEAD THE WAY
                                    Chairs and Directors of University of Pittsburgh arts departments advocated for a campus
                                    mechanism to develop audiences for their own plays, concerts and gallery exhibits, and
                                    were, without a doubt, early influences in the direction of PITT ARTS. Noted in early PITT
                                    ARTS documents, the concept of Campus Arts became a key component in the PITT ARTS
                                    initiative. Expressed as a monetary allocation to the arts departments on campus from PITT
                                    ARTS, this augmentation to their budgets requested that these monies be used for outreach
                                    to students and to increase University student use of these amenities.

                                    FREE ARTS ENCOUNTERS: THE BEGINNINGS
                                    A key component of the PITT ARTS initiative was the University’s ongoing efforts to improve
                                    the quality of life for its students and to truly take advantage of its urban setting. Certainly
                                    developing sophisticated audiences is the life-blood of the arts and cultural institutions in
                                    Pittsburgh. PITT ARTS began purchasing blocks of tickets from various arts organizations.
                                    Group outings for undergraduates to attend arts performances included an educational
                                    aspect and therefore, this effort focused upon not only providing students the opportunity to
                                    attend artistic presentations, but also on offering structured contexts for the presentations.
                                    Additionally, early on, PITT ARTS concentrated on freshman students who resided in the
                                    residence halls on campus, and eventually was broadened to all undergraduates at the
                                    University of Pittsburgh. (Pack, 2007). Initially imagined as a ‘City Arts’ effort, language
                                    was eventually tailored to distinguish this component from other growing projects and
                                    programs that PITT ARTS subsequently undertook, and this endeavor became known in
                                    2004 as ‘Free Arts Encounters.’ With the first roster including the arts organizations listed
                                    above and subsequently expanded to include such distinguished cultural institutions as the
                                    Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Senator John Heinz History Center,
                                    Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, City Theatre,
                                    Manchester Craftsman’s Guild, and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.
                                    Many more medium and smaller sized arts organizations became part of the line-up of arts
                                    and cultural partners who saw the value of offering Pitt students what was called then a
                                    “socio-educational’ experience around their encounters with the arts.

                                    Creating an educational context with a social experience, combined with attending arts
                                    performances was the brainchild of Jen Saffron, the first leader of PITT ARTS. She dubbed
                                    this undertaking “socio-educational” arts experience. Saffron began in her role with PITT
                                    ARTS in mid-September of 1997, working only three days per week. The gathering together
                                    of Pitt students for a meal on campus prior to heading out to enjoy a symphony or a play,
                                    allowed students to relax and enjoy the evening at an artistic presentation while making
                                    new friends who shared their values of appreciation of the arts. After the performance,
                                    students had the outstanding opportunity to meet the artists, and have a talk-back with
                                    anyone from a cellist to a dramaturge. For the first five years of PITT ARTS, Saffron built the
                                    program with the help of Vice Provost Pack using outreach strategies and networking in the

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                                                                                         14 Years of PITT ARTS

arts community that were second nature to her, and her work as a violinist and visual artist,    on-line sales for the same price as walking into the PITT ARTS office and purchasing tickets.
and with Robert F. Pack having had an academic expertise in Romantic poetry prior to his         In 2008, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Public Theater followed suit.
administrative career, it was clear that the value of the arts was of profound import to both    Pittsburgh CLO, Quantum Theatre, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre came on board with on-line
of them. The outcomes of audience development for cultural institutions and the enormous         sales in 2009, again with no service fees. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust also joined the ranks
benefit to students, was not students ‘taking their medicine’, or something that was ‘good       in 2009, however; due to their status as presenting rather than a producing organization,
for them’ but something that they themselves craved and pursued. The very first year saw         their capacity to offer on-line sales without a fee was constrained. In 2010, Pittsburgh Irish
twenty-four PITT ARTS programs implemented that included food, free travel, free tickets and     and Classical Theatre began offering on-line sales, again, with no service fee.
a context-building opportunity for 805 students’ understanding and enjoyment of the arts.
                                                                                                 The outcomes were outstanding for these on-line Cheap Seats offerings, and PITT ARTS
As Arts Encounters developed and grew through subsequent Heinz Endowments-funded                 witnessed significant increases in sales over the few years. The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
studies and research that inquired into what students valued in their PITT ARTS programs,        Cheap Seats grew 21% in 2010, and their on-line sales exceeded the walk-in at PITT ARTS
the jewel in the crown of PITT ARTS-- Arts Encounters-- was firmly placed, and grew into         by 56%. This pattern with on-line success is ongoing, as Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
what is, to this day, the most beloved of all that PITT ARTS has to offer. In 2008-2009, the     went from selling 35% of their Cheap Seats on-line in 2009 to 51% in 2010. Pittsburgh
program reached a pinnacle of 8,001 participants in Arts Encounters alone, nearly ten            Opera sold 75% on-line in 2009-10, and also saw the largest increase of all Cheap Seats
times the number of participants of the first year. As this area increased in volume, so did     partners with 46% growth in 2010 over the previous year. The Pittsburgh Public Theatre sold
the email relay system used in early days of the program become obsolete. In the original        47% of all PITT ARTS Cheap Seats on-line in the same year.
system an Arts Encounter was announced over email and Pitt students wrote back also
via email saying they wanted to attend an opera or ballet. The Programs Assistant filled         In 2008-2009, Cheap Seats grew overall by 18% and in 2009-2010, they grew by 13%. The
the program using this method, which worked very well. As Arts Encounters grew, soon this        Cheap Seats program in the academic year of 2009-2010 broke a previously unimagined
procedure became too unwieldy, and the development of a new sign-up website became               threshold to sell 15,264 tickets. Cheap Seats has turned out to be the second most
critical. In this 2004 innovation, students were able to sign up for the programs they wished,   successful component of PITT ARTS.
and the Programs Assistant selected the freshman students first, and then worked her way
up to the upperclassman. This allowed PITT ARTS to keep better in line with Robert F. Pack’s     FREE VISITS
goal of targeting freshmen first.                                                                A key endeavor of PITT ARTS defrays the cost of Pitt students visiting the local Pittsburgh
                                                                                                 museums and cultural institutions that border the Pitt campus, making visits to such
CHEAP SEATS                                                                                      destinations free for students. This is the concept of Free Visits.
While not initially imagined, the opportunity to purchase deeply discounted tickets out of
the PITT ARTS office became another component of the PITT ARTS program, which within             Early partners included the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the Carnegie
three years required a full-time coordinator, and an additional permanent staff member.          Museums of Art and Natural History. These large and significant cultural institutions became
The Cheap Seats program was formed. No longer did students have to take their chances            the first organizations and became the backbone of the Free Visits program. With a valid Pitt
waiting in line at the last minute at box offices for student rush tickets, they could simply    ID, University of Pittsburgh students could visit these venues for free. PITT ARTS worked with
fill out a form, pay in our office and pick up their tickets an hour beforehand at the Will      Panther Central to set up ID swipe machines at the admissions desks at the Carnegie and
Call window of the venue. What began with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh Public         Phipps. Obviously, PITT ARTS was a key negotiator on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh to
Theater and the Pittsburgh Ballet, now houses tickets to twelve different arts partners for      keep the per capita student cost down, as the cost came out of PITT ARTS’ budget. Eventually
which students, faculty and staff of the University of Pittsburgh may purchase.                  added to the Free Visits lineup were North Side museums, the Andy Warhol Museum, and
                                                                                                 The Mattress Factory museum for installation art. Later, The Senator John Heinz History
The marketing of Cheap Seats began with three Pitt interoffice mailings of the Cheap Seats       Center in the Strip District joined Free Visits’ ranks. Particularly for the Oakland cultural
flyers and arts partners’ promotional materials three times per year, one each semester          institutions of the Phipps and Carnegie, a high volume of visits quickly grew, causing Free
and once during the summer. Starting in 2004, PITT ARTS ramped up to five interoffice            Visits to really put PITT ARTS on the map with regard to impressive participation numbers,
distributions per year: in September/ October, November/December, January/February,              totaling 186,111 students having visited over the last fourteen years, and with a recent
March/April, and in summer. In addition, beginning in 2007, the Pittsburgh Opera offered         peak reaching 23,502 students in academic year 2009-2010. This area of PITT ARTS has

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                              14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                     seen the greatest use and the highest volume over the years of any component of the
                                     program. In the fall of 2010, a new Free Visits partner was added: Soldiers and Sailors
                                     Memorial Hall and Museum; this offering, coupled with the work of Pitt’s Office of Veteran’s
                                     Services, has earned University of Pittsburgh the distinction of being named Soldiers and
                                     Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum’s Friend and Patriot of the Year for 2010.

                                     ARTFUL WEDNESDAYS
                                     One of the most significant programs that PITT ARTS developed flows from Jen Saffron’s
                                     early concept of “populist programs,” meaning open to everyone, but takes that idea to
                                     a new level: Artful Wednesdays programs began as performances in the Litchfield Towers
                                     Lobby, a large common area for three high-rise residence halls on Pitt’s campus. While not
                                     an ideal location by any means for performances, due to the noise and distractions of the
                                     space, the beauty of the Towers Lobby 10-part performing arts series offered during the
                                     lunch hour every Wednesday in the fall is that students could bump into the arts right where
                                     they live, and that it included a free lunch for students.

                                     In the summer of 2007, a renovation of the Litchfield Towers Lobby was completed, and the
                                     prior space that was used for Artful Wednesdays performances was no longer accessible
                                     for performances of any kind. This snag caused the search for a new space, and when
                                     the renovation of the recreation room on the lower level of the William Pitt Union of the
                                     University of Pittsburgh took place and included a stage, sound system, soft seating and
                                     café tables, it looked like the perfect site. Eventually tagged “Nordy’s Place” named after
                                     beloved Chancellor, Mark Nordenberg, it became a dynamic place to congregate, enjoy
                                     food and snacks and take in the music or dance performances of Artful Wednesdays. With
                                     a record overall participation rate of 2,590 people attending the series in 2009-2010, only
                                     the third year in that location, Nordy’s Place proved that it could accommodate larger and
                                     more comfortable crowds. With nearly 15,000 students participating across the seven years
                                     of Artful Wednesdays, the results have been indeed remarkable.

                                     In addition to all of the excitement in the broadly rising areas of PITT ARTS, there were, over
                                     the years, three significant grant-funded initiatives that placed PITT ARTS as a kind of think-
                                     tank or laboratory for the investigation of arts programming practices and for the dedication
                                     of stakeholders from the arts community.

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                                     GRANTS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS 2000-2006
                                     A STUDY OF YOUNG ADULT ARTS PARTICIPATION 2000-2002
                                     Poet, arts programmer, and university educator, Annabelle Clippinger was brought on in early
                                     2001 to spearhead a Heinz Endowments-funded grant project, written by Jen Saffron, to
                                     gather feedback in the form of surveys and to synthesize data to supply into a monograph,
                                     published in 2003, called A Study of Young Adult Arts Participation. Jointly written between
                                     Saffron and Clippinger, and extensively edited and completed by Clippinger after the July
                                     2002 departure of Jen Saffron from PITT ARTS, the findings articulated in the monograph
                                     changed the way that PITT ARTS functioned thereafter.

                                     The key goals of the initiative were to communicate directly with participating arts
                                     organizations as to the way our undergraduate population was taking up with the arts-
                                     related educational programming suggested and designed by the arts partners. Two-way
                                     communication between PITT ARTS and grant partners allowed the arts organizations to
                                     course-direct as necessary and make changes to the way they had been accommodating
                                     Pitt young adults (ages 18-24), or to repeat or vary successful strategies.

                                     The exploration of the benefits of specialized programming yielded fascinating results. First,
                                     students preferred to eat off-campus in restaurants, or on-site with catered ethnic food,
                                     rather than eating sandwiches on campus. Key programming shifts included an immersion
                                     into culture, such as the Brazil evening that included Brazilian food, music, dance and
                                     photography. Additionally, students very much enjoyed what Dr. Robert Pack imagined five
                                     years earlier: multifaceted educational experiences in the arts, such as a Pitt professor who
                                     is teaching The Tempest taking their students to see a theatrical production of it, as well as
                                     viewing a film version.

                                     This two-pronged approach in the grant’s design, on the one hand, concerning Pitt students,
                                     and on the other hand concerning arts organizations, made this project of compelling
                                     interest to arts leaders in particular, as well as to the foundation community.

                                     The Young Adult Arts Participation Initiative uncovered a number of central issues. One of
                                     the key barriers to our early successful partnerships with the arts and culture community
                                     of Pittsburgh was how not to be considered a group sales customer, but rather as a viable
                                     collaborator in the audience-building efforts so key to the invigoration of their audiences and
                                     fiscal outcomes of arts organizations. With personnel shifts always at issue, and a revolving
                                     door of employees running from one arts job to another, or with chronic understaffing,
                                     convincing arts partners that PITT ARTS was a co-stakeholder with them constituted quite
                                     a challenge. In addition to this difficulty, creating a context for the artistic presentations
                                     that students attended—a key goal of PITT ARTS in its inception, was a substantial
                                     paradigm shift for the arts organizations as the staff had little experience in the way of
                                     specialized programming for young adults, and had stereotyped ideas about the college-

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age audience, such as if you give them pizza and beer, they’ll attend the opera or symphony.       given to all participants of the 2004 National Performing Arts Conference which took place
In fact, what we learned was that Pitt undergraduate students not only like to dress up for        in Pittsburgh that year. The cover of the issue was dedicated to photos from Saffron and
performances, but that they enjoy dining in a nice restaurant, as well as meeting the stars        Clippinger’s monograph. Laura Willumsen, then Director of Marketing with the Pittsburgh
of the art world, such as violinist Joshua Bell, opera artists, artistic directors, and enjoying   Opera, wrote the introduction to the article and was a champion for PITT ARTS on a local
hands-on workshops of various types. Moreover, PITT ARTS became a part of the effort to            and national level. This was an outstanding way to take the successes of PITT ARTS and
offer evenings with alternatives to alcohol at the University of Pittsburgh.                       broadcast it to an entirely new and much broader audience.

In light of the ongoing need to educate our arts partners, Jen Saffron established a               YOUNG ADULTS ARTS PARTICIPATION INITIATIVE (YAAPI) 2002-2004
collective of stakeholders in the arts and culture community and called it the Emerging            In 2002, a second grant project written by Jen Saffron was initiated by PITT ARTS and funded
Audience Council. This group met in the William Pitt Union at University of Pittsburgh once        by The Heinz Endowments. With the same title, Young Adult Arts Participation Initiative, but
or twice per year and developed subcommittees to work on special initiatives. At this point        this iteration used the acronym YAAPI, and this time was spearheaded by Kitty Julian, whose
in the development of PITT ARTS, it was vital to get everyone on board with the direction of       previous work prior to coming to PITT ARTS was as a marketing professional. The key focus
the program. Saffron brought her expertise to mobilizing the community, and in so doing            of this project was to help build sustainability amongst PITT ARTS’ arts partners in the
brought the goals of the University community to the table coupled with the goals of the           community, so they would be able to reach Pitt students via PITT ARTS programs through self-
arts community. The outcome was buy-in on a scale that drove the PITT ARTS program to              inspired means. A number of innovations came from this project, including the introduction
new heights. Saffron’s star was rising on the conceptual brilliance of this Young Adult Arts       of sustainability reports which were requested from all arts organizations involved in YAAPI.
Participation Initiative as well as via her drive and ability to encourage others to invest as     Arts Organizations that were not “sustainable” from the first grant project were carried along
stakeholders in PITT ARTS. However, Jen Saffron was to leave PITT ARTS in July 2002 for new        to the second. A new group of arts non-profits was also added to the mix to help them gain
horizons and it was she who hand-picked from the grant project Annabelle Clippinger who            sustainability in reaching and garnering audiences of young adults through PITT ARTS.
soon became Director of PITT ARTS.
                                                                                                   Some of the same issues seen as barriers to partnership in the first grant project, such
OUTCOMES                                                                                           as staff turn-over and lack of capacity to partner with PITT ARTS also became barriers
Innovations of Annabelle Clippinger’s management of the grant included the successful              to sustainability. Julian’s efforts to encourage partners to write their own proposals for
development of hands-on workshops, such as programs in Pitt’s residence halls for blues            programs and to craft sustainability reports now put the onus on partners to imagine PITT
and folk guitar styles, taught by guitarist/educators. There are many guitars in the rooms         ARTS programs, and develop strategies to make this happen long-term.
of Pitt’s resident students. Intimate by their very design, each workshop was limited only
to 10 participants. This prefigured such programming as the Blues Harmonica workshop.              Programming innovations were also a feature of Kitty Julian’s YAAPI grant implementation.
Additionally, Clippinger developed cultural immersion programs were some of the most               Julian’s concept of the Rejoicing, Crying, and Creating series added a deeper dimension and
exciting and innovative programming ever engaged through PITT ARTS. An example of this             focused on panel presentations as well as live performances provided by African American
during the grant project was the previously mentioned “Brazil without Frontiers” exhibit at        arts organizations. These well-attended and dynamic lunchtime events piqued the interest
Silver Eye Center for Photography. At the gallery students experienced a talk about the            not only of the Pitt community, but also members of the community at large.
exhibit, enjoyed Brazilian food and live music, and in the tone of a “culture crawl,” the Pitt
students went to another nearby location for a Capoiera (Brazilian martial arts) performance.      Further features of Kitty Julian’s and Annabelle Clippinger’s study, Young Audiences and the
This model was recently repeated in the form of another program designed to deepen                 Arts (2004) include four models for “direct experience arts education” for the 18-24 age
students’ understanding of the culture from which an art form has originated, in this case         group, and this included tours/discussion, hands-on workshops, panel presentations, and
the “Thailand Evening,” combining Thai food, a Thai flower-garland-making workshop with a          pre-or post show occasions to meet with artists/experts. (Julian and Clippinger, 17-18)
visit and tour of the horticultural exhibit Thai Forest at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical       While these strategies had been explored with PITT ARTS programming over the years, it is
Gardens.                                                                                           the articulation of these as models that enabled our arts partners to grasp them in a way that
                                                                                                   augmented Julian’s concept of sustainable partnerships with PITT ARTS. Julian developed the
Other outcomes of the grant project included the June 2004 publication of key excerpts of          “How to Work with PITT ARTS” document that featured some of these models for educational
the A Study of Young Adult Arts Participation in the Opera America Newsline. This issue was        experiences with arts partners; this document is still in use at PITT ARTS, albeit with revisions.

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OUTCOMES                                                                                          year alone, Pitt students noted that attending PITT ARTS programs encourages 78% of them
Related to Kitty Julian’s efforts at sustainability, PITT ARTS eventually developed two           to remain at the University, with 15% reporting ‘maybe.’ This leaves a mere 7% reporting
submission forms for our programming and communications: the Arts Encounters form                 ‘no.’ With these kind of deliverables possible in the realm of retention of African American
created in 2008, which arts partners must fill in prior to our committing to running a program    college students, the A3P monograph, Our Stories: Ourselves co-authored by Williams and
with them; and the Hotlist form created in 2007, which must be submitted to PITT ARTS             Clippinger, and published in 2006, began to garner national attention. The monograph
with any submission for the Hotlist e-blast that goes out to Pitt faculty, staff and graduate     states:
students every Wednesday and includes free and cheap arts offerings. This intake procedure
which has made our work much easier at PITT ARTS, but has not eliminated ongoing                      When students were asked if participating in PITT ARTS programs encouraged them
interaction with arts partners in the case that the Arts Encounter described in the form              to remain at Pitt, 72% of African American students who attended A3P programs
requires adjustment. With an expert knowledge of our audience, PITT ARTS understands that             responded either “yes” or “maybe.”. . . “According to statistics on undergraduate
often the language in the forms requires tweaking, and this is done regularly. However, arts          graduation rates from the University of Pittsburgh Provost, as published in the
partners have come to expect the need to submit such forms in order to be a programming               February 3, 2005 UniversityTimes, 59.8% of African American students had a six-
partner with PITT ARTS. The ongoing chain of follow-through emails and phone calls, has all           year graduation rate, compared with a six-year graduation rate of 64.7% for the
been greatly reduced, and in fact, nearly eliminated, allowing PITT ARTS’ staff to manage the         University as a whole. (Our Stories, Ourselves, 26)
volume of tasks and projects that have multiplied due to the program’s outstanding growth.
Additional newer policy documents include the 2008 “How to Be a Cheap Seats Partner”              This demonstrates the impact that A3P actually delivered in retention benefit to African
which works greater ease of sustainable partnerships whenever there is staff turnover at          American students. In 2008, Clippinger and Williams were interviewed on a Los Angeles
an art organizations with regard to Cheap Seats, or when new Cheap Seats partners come            radio station regarding this attention-getting monograph, as efforts to connect the study
on board.                                                                                         with a substantial mailing to universities and African American arts centers across the
                                                                                                  country brought PITT ARTS much desired publicity.
In 2004, when the grant written by Annabelle Clippinger, The African American Arts Project        In addition to the data provided via surveys, a different set of issues presented themselves
was funded by The Heinz Endowments, the Rejoicing, Crying and Creating programs were              during a focus group for A3P. Williams took the pulse of students and learned that some
retained for some of the grant. Sarah E. J. Williams (now Sarah Williams Devereux) was            students did not feel welcome at arts venues, had been ushered out of theaters, and head
the expert in African American issues and programming who was hired to implement this             felt like that had to flip to “a white side” when they had the sensation of being isolated in
initiative. Williams had a background in art-making, poetry, and arts education. She brought      their blackness at Western European arts events. However, positive outcomes saw students
a great sensitivity the project, and collaborating with Clippinger, the stamp of the African      noting that they valued arts programs that celebrated, inquired into, or otherwise undertook
American Arts Project or A3P as it was called, strove to focus upon outreach to the African       their specific cultural identity. Equipped with this information, Williams and Clippinger went
American students at Pitt and ways to connect them to African American arts organizations         forward with such programs. The final upshot of the report’s conclusion was synopsized with
in the Pittsburgh community. The African American student retention rate at universities is       counsel for arts organizations who expressly wished to gather an African-American audience
woefully inadequate, and at the time of this project the most recent statistics from 2005         and had the following recommendations:
indicated that University of Pittsburgh African American students graduate at a 7% lower
rate than majority students, and nationwide, at a 10% lower rate than the average non-black           Programming
students. This demonstrated that Pitt was ahead of the national statistics, but Clippinger felt       Create programs of relevance to African American young adults, performances
that there was more that could be done.                                                               or exhibitions that celebrate, concern, or otherwise inquire into African American
Issues of this nature and the concern that in a University of Pittsburgh Campus climate study
from the early 2000’s noted that African American male students have a perception that our            Integrate such regular programming into the very mission of the organization.
campus is not particularly welcoming to them, caused Clippinger to write this grant project.          Recognize the diversity of audience within the African American young adult
She knew that PITT ARTS programming had a significant impact on student retention at the              community. Create programs at which Black young adults can directly participate
University of Pittsburgh. For example, in surveys conducted in the 2008-2009 academic                 in their own experience.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                        14 Years of PITT ARTS

    Utilize marketing avenues appropriate to this audience (email, Black student
    groups, street team, flyering, word of mouth). Emphasize experience and emotion
    of art in marketing language. Mention in marketing that this is African American

    Create education programs which accurately investigate the art without bypassing
    the depth and seriousness of the material. Connect African American young adults
    directly with artists whenever possible. Speak with students, not at them. Train
    all majority staff in cultural sensitivity/working with African American young adult
    audiences, particularly frontline staff (education, visitor services).

    Community Outreach and Collaboration
    Make sincere efforts to forge links in and give back to the Black community. White
    organizations should invite key African American leaders to be on advisory boards
    to co-determine appropriate planning, programming and outreach strategies.
    Create open, mutually beneficial partnerships with relevant arts organizations and
    community groups. (Our Stories, Ourselves, 27-28)

When the results of the study were released to the Pittsburgh community, this portion of the
monograph was considered particularly instructive, and the overall force of the monograph
and its insights were indeed compelling to the community at-large.

Some exciting outcomes developed from A3P including one of the most outstanding
lunchtime events with the Pittsburgh Opera, known as the African American Opera Artist
Luncheon. Not only was there stunning singing, but a discussion about the great tradition
of African American opera singers in this country, and also about the challenges that opera
singers of color experience. PITT ARTS has continued to market utilizing flyering, postering,
outreach to specific communities, and word of mouth. Another outcome from A3P was
the emphasis that grew out of these efforts to expand all multicultural programming in
Artful Wednesdays, and in all the Arts Encounters. This includes Latino/ Hispanic and Latin
American, Asian/ Indian, African and African American, Middle Eastern, Eastern European,
and cross-cultural Arts Encounters.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                              14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                     PAST TO PRESENT
                                     PITT ARTS has continued to grow. Given the beginnings of the program in its first year
                                     with 3,632 participants, participation in 2009-2010 exploded at just fewer than
                                     50,000 Pitt students attending, including repeat participants. This extraordinary volume
                                     has incrementally increased nearly every year since the program’s beginnings. Spikes
                                     in participation are generally due to specialized programming at one of the Free Visits
                                     partners; The Mysterious Bog People exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
                                     (CMNH) stirred a huge admissions increase, as did the Chihuly: Gardens of Glass exhibit at
                                     the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Resonating with Pitt students and piquing
                                     their interest are such programs as The Carnegie International exhibits.

                                     As PITT ARTS increased from approximately 20,000 participants per year, to well over twice
                                     that amount, a need emerged for new technologies. Mentioned earlier, the 2004 student-
                                     centered on-line sign-up system for PITT ARTS Arts Encounters was implemented in phases,
                                     and refined over the past years, making this the most efficient development to handle
                                     increased student interest in PITT ARTS. Additionally, at this time, PITT ARTS was able to
                                     increase the effort the of its Programs Assistant from a part-time ten months per year
                                     position to a full-time twelve month per year position in June 2004, and was able to hire
                                     an Assistant Director, Linnea Glick, in July 2004 which enabled the program to manage
                                     growth and extend their reach. Further, to facilitate the necessary changes to promote
                                     growth, several marketing methods were explored including the crafting of press releases,
                                     forging relationships with editors of the Pitt News, Pitt Chronicle and Pitt website. Also,
                                     using opportunities at hand became a staple of PITT ARTS outreach such as the use of the
                                     LCD screens in the William Pitt Union to market Cheap Seats offerings. Pitt Nights were also
                                     featured in all communications outlets. These are very large Arts Encounters programs first
                                     introduced by Jen Saffron that include faculty and staff as well as students at the University
                                     of Pittsburgh attending such events as an opera or symphony. With the establishment of Pitt
                                     Nights with additional arts organizations, the program had a new vibrancy. Pitt Night partners
                                     now also include-- in addition to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera--
                                     Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and Pittsburgh
                                     CLO Cabaret. These programs have grown in size to over 500 people in some cases, and in
                                     frequency with the sheer number of them each year.

                                     Technology enables greater response and specialized reports. In 2007, PITT ARTS moved
                                     to electronic rather than paper surveys. The sheer mass of paper used over the years for
                                     surveys at PITT ARTS was daunting. In keeping with the increased use of green practices at
                                     the University, PITT ARTS began using e-surveys. It is a well-known fact that the response
                                     rate for e-surveys is significantly lower than paper surveys. PITT ARTS anticipated this
                                     and increased the number of programs surveyed. Also, information about the student
                                     requirements to return the survey has been well-communicated over email to students
                                     on surveyed programs, and hosts on survey programs mention that students are asked to

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                                                                                          14 Years of PITT ARTS

fill out and submit the surveys. This communication strategy has increased the response         Hands-on experiences have been striking features of PITT ARTS over the years, including the
rate from the average of 5-7% to a stunning 82% survey response rate in 2009-2010 for           Creating with Clay and I Can’t Draw classes for Pitt students at the Carnegie Museum of
PITT ARTS programs. Additionally in 2003, PITT ARTS added the retention question about          Art that have been ongoing for years; and newer iterations such as the Paperweight Making
whether attending PITT ARTS programs encourages participants to remain at the University        programs at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, or the Letterboxing programs with the Frick Art and
of Pittsburgh through graduation with the highest yes/ maybe results in 2009-2010 at 97%.       Historical Center, art-making experiences at the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress
This endeavor created evidence that demonstrated the original goal developed by Robert          Factory museum, and more.
F. Pack, namely that PITT ARTS plays a role-- in recruitment—for which program staff attend
and present at every University admissions fair-- and retention.                                Partnerships that have never faltered in collegiality and programming excellence include the
                                                                                                Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Pittsburgh Opera, which have been the models
As PITT ARTS communicates with students over email to notify them about our Arts                for what is possible in engagement for Pitt’s young adults. New inroads were made with such
Encounters programs, the stale look of the email blasts called for a retool. Again, this has    partnerships as Pitt’s Engineers without Borders and MBA programs partnering with the PSO
gone through a number of generations on the way to the current technology, and in the last      to network and drive fundraising. Additional significant partners include those at Pitt as well.
significant technological innovation at PITT ARTS in May 2008, Patron Mail’s e-newsletter       PITT ARTS was involved from the outset, and at the launch in 2008 with the University’s
and e-postcard templates completely invigorated the look of the email blasts to make            efforts to” educate the whole student” via the Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC). The
them look more creative and attractive, and also managed the subscriptions for the email        entire staff at PITT ARTS worked as a team in promoting the “Cultivating an Appreciation for
database making the use, updating and upkeep of the distribution list extremely easy and        the Arts” goal area for the OCC.
user-friendly on the administrative end for PITT ARTS.
The final frontier of technological strides came from the Cheap Seats partners themselves.      The OCC program overview states the following:
On-line sales with the Pittsburgh Cultural District Cheap Seats partners have helped drive
Pitt Night sales. These are all accessible through the PITT ARTS website.                           The University of Pittsburgh is committed to providing our students with a
                                                                                                    comprehensive environment to develop their talents. We are devoted to educating
PITT ARTS has developed extensive partnerships in the Pitt community, not only to serve             the whole student, determined that every graduate, regardless of degree earned,
the faculty, staff and students of the University of Pittsburgh, but also to extend the reach       should leave the University with four key attributes: communications skills, a sense
to a more profuse constituency. As a result, PITT ARTS has served as the primary liaison            of motivation, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of self. (http://www.occ.pitt.
between Pitt to the arts community and this has included purchasing groups on behalf of             edu/overview.html)
the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the Honors College, the English Language
Institute, Hillel, College of General Studies, Freshman Programs, Freshman Orientation,         Listed are the Goal Area Summaries:
Academic Resources Center, Residence Life, Department of English, Department of French
and Italian, Pitt’s Medical School, Russian and East European Studies, and numerous                 The Outside the Classroom Curriculum will provide Pitt students with the opportunity
faculty and their students.                                                                         to experience an incredible array of programs, activities, and events that will assist
                                                                                                    them in intentionally developing skills and attributes that are absolutely necessary
Partnerships in the arts community that have grown and developed in recent years include            for success in today’s marketplace. From the moment students arrive on campus,
outstanding progress with Pittsburgh Filmmakers. Beginning in 2007, PITT ARTS has                   we want them to be thinking about their future--what skills and attributes they
sponsored a six part independent film series each year via the Arts Encounters program,             should be developing both in and outside the classroom.
and in exchange for this relationship, Filmmakers has given Pitt students a 50% discount            • Leadership Development
to enjoy films at all three of their movie houses. With excellent marketing on the part of          • 	Sense of Self
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the program witnessed 2,489 students using this discount in the              • 	Career Preparation
span of one year, 2009, which is a notable first outcome.                                           • University Participation
                                                                                                    • 	Communication Skills
                                                                                                    • 	Global and Cultural Awareness

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                               14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                         • 	Wellness
                                         • 	Service to Others
                                         • Pitt Make a Difference Day
                                         • 	Appreciation for the Arts

                                     PITT ARTS has been a leader with the OCC by scanning for undergraduate OCC credit for
                                     their OCC transcripts, at each of the 115 annual Arts Encounters programs and by having
                                     scanners at all Free Visits museum partners’ admissions desks. Additionally Annabelle
                                     Clippinger has been a member of the OCC Steering Committee from the program’s outset.

                                     PITT ARTS WEBSITE
                                     PITT ARTS continues to communicate with students using electronic methods. From 1999
                                     through 2001, PITT ARTS printed booklets that featured Pittsburgh arts organizations’
                                     performing seasons. After this, PITT ARTS moved to web-based communication for the same
                                     information, with descriptions of each arts organization on the PITT ARTS website and a link
                                     directly to their websites. This endeavor to advance sustainable green practices at PITT ARTS
                                     eliminated the booklets as well as their cost.

                                     In 2003, FAQ’s were added to the PITT ARTS website to engage vital issues and questions
                                     that were actually asked over the years by the Pitt community. This effort has been ongoing
                                     as it has been refined and developed further every single year. This has enabled the staff to
                                     point to specific answers to questions in the FAQ’s that are posed by various Pitt constituents.

                                     There have been three new iterations of the PITT ARTS website and the latest, launched
                                     in 2008, has been the most universally praised, in terms of look, navigability and
                                     attractiveness to students; indeed, the current website was a recipient of 2009 Council for
                                     Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) PITT ARTS website, Silver Award in “Student
                                     Recruitment” category.

                                     MORE AWARDS
                                     Additional awards garnered for PITT ARTS under the purview of Annabelle Clippinger include
                                     the 2008 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Golden Triangle
                                     Award, in the “Excellence” category or first place, for PITT ARTS’ “10th Anniversary” poster
                                     design and the 2006, Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award to PITT ARTS for the African
                                     American Arts Project and for staff diversity.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                             14 Years of PITT ARTS

                                     THE FUTURE OF PITT ARTS
                                     PITT ARTS has been one of the most beloved programs at the University of Pittsburgh for
                                     the fourteen years since its inception. Even while significant changes are on the horizon for
                                     the University with a new Provost and the retirement of PITT ARTS developer and champion,
                                     Dr. Robert F. Pack, the program is positioned better than ever to succeed because of the
                                     care and attention given it by the University of Pittsburgh’s Provost James Maher, and Vice
                                     Provost Pack. PITT ARTS is certainly valued by tens of thousands of Pitt students, faculty and
                                     staff every single year.

                                     With Vice Provost Patricia Beeson having ascended to the position of Provost, and with
                                     whom PITT ARTS has had a solid relationship, the succession from Provost Maher should be
                                     extremely smooth to Provost Beeson’s administration in fall of 2010. All this said, PITT ARTS
                                     should continue to be seen as a significant contributor to University-wide efforts as it has
                                     been by Vice Provost Pack, Provost Maher, and of course by Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.

                                     Future benefits and opportunities around the arts for University of Pittsburgh students are
                                     assured. With established partnerships between the University and arts organizations, PITT
                                     ARTS’ programming is a win-win situation for both Pitt students and for the arts community
                                     as well. The economic benefits for arts organizations via group purchases and Cheap Seats
                                     sales, and the reinvigoration of their audiences with young adults, have inspired arts non-
                                     profits to establish a real place for Pitt students. Another reason that arts organizations
                                     collaborate with PITT ARTS is that during 2009-2010 alone, 49,890 Pitt people experienced
                                     PITT ARTS’ offerings. With so many students involved annually in PITT ARTS, and with 78,311
                                     Pitt alumni residing in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, PITT ARTS is indeed creating vibrant
                                     and sustainable future audiences for arts organizations. Further, it has been proven through
                                     student surveys that the strong connection that students have with the arts in Pittsburgh
                                     is a significant retention tool for the University of Pittsburgh. Given these outcomes to the
                                     University and to the arts communities, and with PITT ARTS being a one of kind highly-
                                     structured arts offering program in the higher education landscape, the value of PITT ARTS
                                     is beyond measure.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                                                                                                                          14 Years of PITT ARTS

WORKS CITED                                                                                       ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clippinger, Annabelle and Linnea Glick. General Survey Analysis Academic Years, 2008-             Annabelle Clippinger, M.F.A., Director of PITT ARTS, and a university educator for the past 21
2009 and 2009-2010. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2010.                                   years, is also a poet. With two books of poetry published, and poems in numerous journals,
                                                                                                  she has been the recipient of awards and recognitions for her poetry, and for her work
Julian, Kitty and Annabelle Clippinger. Young Audiences and the Arts, Pittsburgh: University      with PITT ARTS. Clippinger was co-author on three PITT ARTS monographs, and developed
of Pittsburgh, 2004.                                                                              and wrote her single author monograph on the history of PITT ARTS, Looking Back, Driving
                                                                                                  Forward: 14 Years of PITT ARTS during 2009-2010.
Outside the Classroom Curriculum. University of Pittsburgh. 15 Jul. 2010.
.                                                          Annabelle Clippinger is an active volunteer both on-campus and off with her recent role
                                                                                                  as Chair and executive of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s New Leadership Board; is
Pack, Robert F. “Planning Documents for PITT ARTS.” University of Pittsburgh. 1997.               a member of the Board of Directors and Marketing Chair for the Guitar Society of Fine Art;
                                                                                                  had been on the Advisory Board for the International Poetry Forum through 2008; and
Saffron, Jen and Annabelle Clippinger. A Study of Young Adults Arts Participation, Pittsburgh:    had served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Pitt’s Staff Association
University of Pittsburgh, 2003.                                                                   Council through June 2010. She also volunteers extensively with the Pitt’s Outside the
                                                                                                  Classroom Curriculum (OCC), as a member of the OCC Steering Committee, as an ad-hoc
Saffron, Jen and Annabelle Clippinger. Opera America Newsline. June 2004: 14-16.                  member of the Curriculum Committee, on the Marketing Committee, Assessment Committee,
                                                                                                  and as a key member of the Arts Goal Area Team.
Williams, Sarah, E.J. and Annabelle Clippinger. Our Stories, Our Selves, Pittsburgh; University
of Pittsburgh, 2006.

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Looking Back, Driving Forward                                        14 Years of PITT ARTS

                    Copyright © 2010 Annabelle Clippinger
                                                    Pitt Arts
                                   University Of Pittsburgh
                                        William Pitt Union
                                    Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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