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.