On April 4th, Thursday evening, there was a buzzing of excitement near the Center for Young Musicians Sewickley location. Ranging from little kids in jeans to men in suits, all were welcomed by Studio419 for its grand opening, “Spill the Tea Party.” Formally known as Barberry Handmade, the space has been transformed into a gallery outbranch of Sweetwater Center for the Arts, through a partnership with Barberry Handmade owner Kirsten Recker.
For over 35 years, Sweetwater has offered a multitude of art classes, workshops, and lectures for all ages, as well as displaying the artwork in exhibitions throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. While these programs have thrived, executive director Thomas Walter recognized their classes were missing a key demographic- teens and young adults.
As teens develop, their voices strengthen, as well as their quest for individualism and greater autonomy; art and music become integral as a means for expressive and creative power. Studio419 provides a platform for teens to transform and curate the space with only partial adult guidance, connecting them to their surrounding community in an impactful and empowering way. The opening night was a brilliant display of what the space is and could be, featuring a slew of incredible paintings, sculptures, and other mediums that came from a very successful call for submissions. Most notably, there were several large-scale interactive art pieces, which really drove home how art knows no boundaries- through collaboration, inclusivity, and whimsicality, it encourages all to tap into their creative side.
The Center for Young Musicians welcomes its new Sewickley neighbors with open arms. Why? Too often, there is a divide between visual art and aural art (music). It is tempting to think of them as separate worlds rather than outgrowths of many of the same values. As musicians hone their skills in the practice rooms, artists practice their fundamentals in the studio. We take classes, lessons, and receive feedback so that we may best be able to express ourselves with clarity and vigor. As the art world progresses, it is becoming more and more common to see musicians in museums, artists creating sound worlds, and many more examples of artistic innovation that break down the barriers between art and music.
So, next time you’re in Sewickley, say hello to our new neighbors! Bring your young musician to meet with an artist! Let’s create a world where the next generation sees artistic opportunity around every corner.