Tobin Studios was founded in January of 2002 by Debra and James Tobin in the hopes of sharing their skills to help people explore their creativity and to help rejuvenate the Ambridge business district. Ambridge is a former steel town in the process of being reborn.
Established in 1832, J.J. Gillespie Gallery furnishes its walls with a wide range of art from American and international artists. In an attached workshop, a master framer meticulously preserves keepsakes inside custom wood or metal frames. The gallery also hosts an onsite art expert, who can appraise oil-based works or clean and restore them to their former luster.
Melissa Butscher freezes the advance of time with photographs capturing children and young adults at dynamic, unstaged moments. During the 30-minute session, Butscher will photograph up to two subjects at either her home studio or at any location within a 30-mile radius of Butscher's North Hills studio. Immortalize twins during breaks from their endless debates over the axiom of infinity, or capture a high-school graduate and his or her imaginary friend before they go off to separate colleges. Butscher's portraits ring of authenticity, with the pure personalities of her subjects always shining through, like the ship-summoning beacons of a billion lighthouses.
With interactive workshops offered six days a week, live demonstrations by internationally celebrated glass artists, and striking glass sculpture gallery displays, Pittsburgh Glass Center is a haven for lovers of this fragile art form. Individual membership to the center includes access to studio rental and equipment, and a 10% discount on all classes for members and one friend or frenemy. Classes range from the beginner-friendly Precious Pendants workshop, where students create their own wearable art ($75), to the advanced four-week Hot Incalmo course, in which glassmiths fuse multicolored bubbles to create awe-inspiring art pieces or beautiful, sentient ham radios ($285). Member perks also include special invites and additional savings for special events such as the Gardens of Glass studio sale, where local artists showcase and sell their colorful crystalline designs. Family memberships bestow these privileges on two adults and include invites to family-friendly events.
At Masterpiece Center for the Arts, instructors rekindle artistic creativity and help students find the medium that best inspires and challenges them. The center’s curriculum spans subjects as diverse as nature photography, henna tattoos, creative writing, and edible arrangements. Along with baseline classes in painting, drawing, and sculpture, students can delve into creating cartoons or glass mosaics, or they can take a 10-week class in cinema-style special-effects makeup.