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July 15: Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture's K-12 Outreach Program Receives NEA Grant


Eric Sloss   

Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture's
K-12 Outreach Program Receives NEA Grant

PITTSBURGH—The Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture's K-12 community outreach program, Architecture Explorations, has received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support its Architecture Building Communities program. The program consists of two intergenerational design events in which local students propose urban green space projects and incorporate them into a master plan for the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The program culminates with a presentation to the Larimer community.
Under the direction of program director Kelly Lyons, Architecture Explorations aims to provide students with an introduction to the field of architecture through hands-on design projects. Since Lyons joined the School of Architecture in 2003, the school's K-12 outreach has grown from one Saturday program to a collection of eight programs, many offered in partnership with other organizations, including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Fallingwater. Through these programs, more than 1,500 students have the opportunity to learn about architecture each year. Architecture Explorations is a self-funded entity within the School of Architecture and relies on program revenue and the generous support of donors for funding. This is the second year Lyons has received NEA support for this program. 
The first Architecture Building Communities event will be an Urban Design and Green Spaces Summer Camp for local 8- to 10-year-olds, local high school students and undergraduate architecture students. The second event will be a Master Planning Studio for local high school students, recent urban planning graduates and architects. Architecture Explorations is working with the Kingsley Association to select sites for proposed green spaces and recruit local students for the program.
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts and is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts. The grant was one of 25 made in the NEA's Access to Artistic Excellence category in the field of design.