School’s Out, But Learning Is In

Partnerships with museums, libraries and youth organizations help ensure that kids stay engaged and learning all summer long.

The Hive Days of Summer are in full swing in the Pittsburgh region. The program gets local teens involved in summer projects that focus on “making and connecting”, and most importantly, learning about everything from printmaking to radio communications to urban agriculture.

If you missed our coverage of the summer-long youth engagement program, Pittsburgh’s Hive Network is partnering with local libraries, museums, and youth organizations dedicated to channeling teens’ energy and enthusiasm during their time out of school. Together they’ve created the Hive Days of Summer, a city-wide campaign with more than 20 organizations partnering to deliver more than 100 summer learning opportunities for tweens and teens now through August.

“Hive Pittsburgh is creating connected learning opportunities that demonstrate the impact digital tools, design thinking, and real world experiences can have on the way young people learn and socialize,” said Cathy Lewis Long, executive director of The Sprout Fund. “Summer is the perfect time to engage teens outside of the classroom and create experiences in community libraries, museums, art venues, and other spaces to help them foster the creative and technology skills needed to thrive in our digital economy.”

The updated calendar features at least three events per week. Some last a few hours while others are week-long commitments or more. We’ve scanned through the calendar and highlighted a few of favorites, like the four-day camp for students interested in experimental photography.

At the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, students can print their own photographic paper in sepia and blue cyanotype, or make large photomontages and collages. They will learn about the darkroom photo process, create their own handmade prints, and become familiar with nondigital special effects like multiple exposures and solarization.

For students more interested in digital tools and technology, the Hive Days of Summer includes a camp for that as well. MobileQuest CoLab is a weeklong game design and technology camp for sixth and seventh grade students Carnegie Mellon University. The camp will provide space for students to play and design their own mobile games.

At the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library, students can take a comic book workshop to learn the sequential art of creating a comic book, a skill that involves both visual communications and creative writing techniques.

For students more interested in music production, the library is also hosting a free music workshop, where students can learn the basics of beat-making and recording from DJs at Hip-Hop on L.O.C.K., a local organization that mentors youth through music arts and education.

And for those teens interested in making art and building things from scratch, there are other mixed media workshops including an interactive art experience that pairs students with educators and working artists from the Mattress Factory Museum to create “art that appeals to all the senses.” “Get ready to get your hands dirty and to think about art in a whole new way,” programmers warn. Sounds fun to us!

Students can work together to build a metal sculpture from found materials at the Salvage Art Workshop at the historic Carrie Furnaces to be installed on-site in the Carrie Deer Salvage Art Garden.

In addition to the Hive summer programming, there are many options available through a handful of public schools and other local nonprofit organizations dedicated to making this summer one of making, learning, and connecting. As Pittsburgh’s National Public Radio reporter Larkin Page-Jacobs noted, summer learning opportunities abound for the area’s youth. “Whether students are editing video, harvesting tomatoes ,or focusing on math and reading, the Pittsburgh region is packed with all kinds of learning experiences that will make the summer worth remembering,” Page-Jacobs said. We think so too.

Published July 08, 2013