Artists Image Resources (AIR) is an artist run, non-profit print and imaging organization established in 1996 to serve as a laboratory for artists, educators and the community. AIR’s mission is to integrate the creation of fine art prints with educational programs that explore the role of the artist in contemporary culture. AIR’s primary activities are to initiate and facilitate projects with professional artists and to create active laboratory environments where artists, students and the public interact. AIR’s fundamental interest is in how print and imaging processes are being used in broader contemporary art making practice and how these practices impact and reflect culture.
The organization combines a print lab (that publishes print editions with artists and provides fee for service project support to educators and the public) with a cooperative workshop where individuals can learn all facets of printmaking through individual study, and school-centered collaborative programs. Individuals may also become members of a volunteer workforce that trades technical and organizational skills for facilities access and project assistance from the studio.
Our goal has been to create a dynamic learning environment that supports the artist and informs and challenges our schools and our communities. We do this by initiating new work with artists and providing educational programs, discussions, and exhibitions that encourage strong voices and support informed and active community members. Print shops have long been associated with voice in our communities and printmaking has a long history of apprenticeship learning. We find that our dynamic mix of mentorship and apprenticeship learning models, driven by thoughtful and ambitious artist’s projects, can be extremely effective in stimulating and reinforcing critical thinking and problem solving skills in students and in the community.
Artists Image Resources (AIR) was established in 1996, was incorporated as a nonprofit Pennsylvania Corporation in 1997 and received nonprofit 501(c) 3 tax status in 1998. In 1996, AIR started working with professional artists on projects and began to organize resources in a 10,000 square foot space in an urban neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In 1996 and 1997, AIR began working with university educators to design programs that would allow the aspiring artist to work directly, hand in hand, with the professional artist in an active real world studio environment. This methodology continues to define the studio as the active and engaged art production and learning laboratory that it is today.
As AIR continued to support working artists and students in the creation of new work and the development of best artistic practices, we also began to organize exhibitions of the work created. AIR began to archive prints and developmental material (sketches, preliminary proofs, etc.) to create a print inventory and educational archive. The fundamental structure of the organization consists of these three elements: production, education and archive/exhibition.
As we have integrated all of these activities into a dynamic whole, we have expanded the nature of how we initiate artists’ projects, how we allow general access to the shop and how we allow our apprenticeship program to expand. We have also developed a more formal collaborative educational program structure that engages high school students and youth into the shop dynamic. We have further expanded the exhibition opportunities that we provide through the studio, allowing more and more diverse work to be presented and discussed.
ALISON OEHLER, Co- Chair, Executive Committee Member, holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. Ms. Oehler has been the Gallery Director at Concept Art Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA, since 2003 and is an Auctioneer and certified appraiser of Fine Art through the Appraisers Association of America.
MELINDA WILSON PIETRUSZA, Co-Chair, Executive Committee Member, has over 15 years of experience working for non-profit arts organizations, primarily in membership, development, and event coordination. She has volunteered her administrative and marketing services to AIR for many years. She currently serves as the Community Development Coordinator for the Borough of Etna.
ROBERT BECKMAN, Co-Founder, Board Member, Executive Committee Member. Mr. Beckman is an artist and educator with over 30 years of experience exhibiting work and teaching (Carnegie Mellon University and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania). Mr. Beckman is an accomplished printmaker and has over 15 years of experience running a small business. He is a Co-Founders of Artists Image Resource and currently serves as the organization’s Director.
MICHAEL HEGEDUS, Board Member, Executive Committee Member, is an artist and accomplished printmaker. Michael has a BFA from The University of Pittsburgh.
YU-SAN CHENG, Board Member, Executive Committee Member, is the Finance Director at Contemporary Craft and holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School of Public Policy and Management. She also serves on the board of directors for the Brew House Association.
RACHEL SAUL REARICK , Board Member, Executive Committee Member, is the Arts and Culture Manager for Allegheny County Airport Authority. She holds a BFA in Printmaking with a minor in Art History from Edinboro University and a Masters in Public Administration from Gannon University.
SARA RADELET, Founding Board Member, is the former Executive Director of the New Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Ms. Radelet also operates a freelance consulting business for non-profit organizations, offering grant writing, fundraising, and strategic planning services.
JOSEPH LUPO, Board Member, is Professor of Art at West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia. Mr. Lupo is an accomplished printmaker and has held leadership positions with a number of academic and print related organizations including SGC International.
DEREK REESE joined the Board of Artists Image Resource in 2018. Mr. Reese is the Project Manager at the Office of Public Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the Founder and Director of Arts Out Loud and has worked with a number of Pittsburgh Arts and Culture organizations including the Mattress Factory Museum and MGR Youth Empowerment.
PARADISE GRAY joined the Board of Artists Image Resource in 2018. Paradise is a community organizer, author, artist, music producer, historian, and a founding member of 1Hood. Before moving to Pittsburgh in 1992 from the Bronx, Gray’s career in hip hop is legendary as a member of the group X Clan and as the manager and promoter for the hip-hop club “The Latin Quarter” in New York City in the 1980s.
STAFF AND CREW:
Robert Beckman: Co- Founder — Executive / Artistic Director, (full time) (Duties include administrative oversight, printing, teaching, project and exhibition design and management). Mr. Beckman holds an MFA degree in Printmaking from Kent State University in Ohio and is a working artist and educator with years of experience operating a small business and years of experience teaching on the university level (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University).
Ian Short: Co-Founder (Honorary) Resident Printmaker, (Project execution, printing and instruction). Mr. Short has been responsible for overseeing all printing activities undertaken by AIR. Mr. Short spent 30 years teaching printmaking and photography, 20 years at Edinboro University where he served as the chairman of the Art Department from 1993 to 1996.
Amy Hume: Bookkeeping and Administrative Support (part time). Duties include posting all payables, receivables, organizing and maintaining financials for day to day operations and oversight. Amy has worked in the non-profit and Arts and Culture sector in Pittsburgh for over a decade.
Ben Page: Facilities and Project Management (part time) – Duties include weekly shop maintenance and supplies inventory control, printing and education. Assists senior staff with all printing and instructional activities including education and community access. Ben is a photographer living and working on Pittsburgh’s Northside.
Matt George: Staff printmaker, project management (part time). Duties include printing and education. Assists senior staff with all printing and instructional activities including education and community access. Matt has a BFA in ceramics and printmaking from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and is living and working in Pittsburgh.
Quaishawn Whitlock: Artist/Educator, outreach and education project management (contract). Duties include printing and education. Assists staff with all education and community access activities.
Oreen Cohen: Artist/Educator, education, outreach and project management. Ms. Cohen holds and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and is an accomplished sculptor and organizer.
Michael Hegedus, Printmaker. Michael has been assisting with production, education and community access projects with Artists Image Resource since 2010. Michael has a BFA from The University of Pittsburgh and is a working artist living in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Michael Budai: Printmaker. Michael has been assisting with production, education and community access projects with Artists Image Resource since 2010. Michael has a BFA from Edinboro University f Pennsylvania and is a working artist living in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Paul Roden: Printmaker. Mr. Roden is an accomplished printmaker and holds degrees in printmaking and fine art from Washington University and the University of South Dakota. Paul and has shown his work throughout the country at fairs, galleries, and exhibitions.
A special thanks to our current and past funders
The Heinz Endowments
The Pittsburgh Foundation
The Laurel Foundation
Intellectual Property Services
The Pennsylvania Council On The Arts
The Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD)
The PNC Charitable Trust
The Grable Foundation