Alumna Awarded $25K Grant for Youth-Driven Public Artwork

by Aadam Soorma

One panel from the "LISTEN!" project.

Sandra Kessler Kaminski (CCAD '93), who recently received a grant for a nine-month project to work with inner city girls in Pittsburgh, has completed the scholastic installation, LISTEN! The North Side Girls Have Something to Say!

Valued at $25,000, the Voices of Youth: Art in the Public Grant, funded a public project that brought together girls in grades six, seven and eight from different service organizations to show the hardships associated with living in Pittsburgh’s struggling North Side.

As coordinator, Kaminski taught students how to capture photos and videos using narrative techniques. She helped students craft autobiographies accompanied with self-portraits and the final work contains video monitors installed in a bas-relief, silk screened mirrored map.

The layers of clear polycarbonate contain portraits of the girls and are layered in a way to represent the topography of the North Side. The five screens play together, sequentially alternating between video, slide shows and place markers.  The girls tell what it is like for them to grow up on Pittsburgh’s North Side and their hopes for the future.

A 1993 fine arts graduate of CCAD, Kaminski’s exhibitions have been featured in Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Read more about the project on her website.