The Pittsburgh Glass Center already has glass classes for teens, but Play by the Fire will offer teens unique chances to try many different arts.

Looking for a free chance to make your own animated video? Blow glass? See pizzas flash-baked in a 2200-degree furnace?

If you’re a teen, Play by the Fire is the event of your dreams.

It’s the first teen evening at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, bringing together 11 of the city’s arts and maker places in one spot on Sept. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Teens will have the chance to:

  • Learn Photoshop basics and green screen photography with The Labs at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • Build and test games using programming language with Assemble
  • Document the event with retro Polaroid cameras from the Carnegie Museum of Art
  • Create a stop-motion animation with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • Try the potter’s wheel from the Union Project or Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, and print photos taken in MCG’s interactive Photobooth
  • Use a motor, battery, “cool trash” and markers to create art with the Mattress Factory
  • Explore 2D and 3D collages with Pittsburgh Filmmakers
  • Create an enameled jewelry pendant, earrings or key chain with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
  • Make a glass paperweight, flower or pendant with the Pittsburgh Glass Center
  • Do silk-screen printing and button making with the Warhol Museum

When the Glass Center’s youth education coordinator, Jason Forck, began planning this event, he told the staff: “Hey, we’ll make pizzas in the furnace, too! I think that will be awesome.”

At least that’s how Center spokesperson Paige Ilkhanipour remembers it. Of course, a full-throttle furnace puts out 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and no one at the Center had ever tried to cook in one before. Ilkhanipour admits the pizzas might turn out a little too crispy, so they may have to switch to the glass kilns, which can reach a mere 1,000 degrees.

“It’s going to be a quick-cooking pizza,” she says. And a unique event for the Center.

“We wanted to introduce more kids in the community to more glass opportunities,” she explains. “We said, let’s bring all our friends that we like to collaborate with all together in one place, get kids excited about art, let them try a bunch of new things and let them see what they like.”

And she thinks the Center could use some publicity, especially among young people: “Glass artists across the world know about the Glass Center,” she says, “but in Pittsburgh I think there are still a lot of people who don’t know we’re here.”

Glass blowing, bead making and other glass arts can be tough to learn and expensive—if  teens don’t use the Center. “But that’s what we’re here for,” she says. They can rent studios here and get help from staff to develop their art. The Center even offers scholarship to its classes.

“I hope that they get really fired up about art and all of these opportunities that are available in the city,” she says.

Besides pizzas (and s’mores), the event also features live performances from the Swag Monkeys, Tracksploitation and others.

Registration is required for the free event: click here.

Marty Levine

Marty Levine's journalism has appeared in Time, and throughout Pennsylvania and has won awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, The Press...