It’s simple. Because it’s ours.
The spirit of a culture is seen through the art it inspires.
-Leann Schmidt, Founder, Chartiers Creek Creative
The mission of Chartiers Creek Creative is to engage, nurture and showcase creative activities and art as a way to unify our community and empower local artists.
- Engage community members of all skill levels through in-house creative workshops and outreach services. This includes people from all age groups, ethnicities and socio-economic demographics.
- Nurture artists by promoting skill sharing and encouraging collaborative projects. Nurture non-artists by teaching creative thinking, problem solving and art appreciation.
- Showcase art through community events that would allow artists to network, share and promote their creative work.
- Unify our community through art-related events that can be enjoyed by any gender and most age groups, including those of any skill level, socioeconomic status or ancestry or heritage. We will strive to be as accessible and accommodating as possible to those with physical disabilities.
As a lifelong artist who has been offering unique paint classes in the past year, I discovered techniques that allow artists and non-artists to enjoy doing paintings and other creative activities in a social setting. I have consistently been impressed by how people interact with each other, particularly that they are exceedingly friendly, helpful and encouraging, no matter who is standing next to who. Time after time I see first-hand that doing creative activities together in a social setting is a way to help people come together, to get to know each other on a slightly different level than almost any other type of activity.
National research conducted by the Americans for the Arts supports my belief that art is the answer to just about everything that is important in life. Specifically, art helps us bridge divides, it helps us want to help each other in meaningful ways. It helps pick us up when we’re feeling down and it helps lift us higher when we’re feeling good. Art is the answer, and that answer is right here for all of us to share with each other right here in our own community in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.
Not one to shy away from the conversation, there’s something here in our community that we need to talk about.
In late December of 2018 (last year) we had a very ugly display of racial tensions when a white girl viciously attacked a Muslim girl in the bathroom at Chartiers Valley High School. (Video https://www.wtae.com/article/collier-township-police-file-charges-after-bathroom-fight-at-chartiers-valley-high-school/25658149 ). The attack was so serious that the girl was hospitalized with a concussion. This behavior is not acceptable, and it triggered in me a need to step into the foray and offer a way for our community in Scott Township and the South Hills at large to find common ground before this type of behavior permeates any further.
The simple truth is that we can do better. Like way, way, way better.
With a median household income of over $73,000 and of several top high schools in the state, this community has so much more to tap into than the average Pennsylvania population. With all this going for us, there is no doubt we are capable of learning about others who do not share our same racial or ethnic backgrounds, no matter if we are in the majority or in the minority. Our community belongs to all of us. When one of us is attacked, it is an assault on all of us.
Being dehumanized and attacked for any reason is terrifying and has no place in the South Hills. This is not who we are. Instead of going to our corners and hanging out with our cliques, Chartiers Creek Creative is the place where we can come together as individual people, or even as one group of friends joining a different group of friends, to meet while doing fun activities and to strengthen our community through our interests and connections – and through our willingness to try something fun, bold and different.