Greater Allegheny honors students explore community, identity and art

Building that has two big pieces of art on either side of bay windows.

“Larimer Caryatids,” an art installation at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh’s East End was created by artist Lori Hepner of Brighton Heights.

Credit: Morton Brown

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Penn State Greater Allegheny Professor of Integrative Arts Lori Hepner met with students in the campus honors program on Monday, Feb. 14. Hepner will present “Drawing with Light: New Media Portraits in the Making,” discussing her community centered public art projects. Hepner will also lead a hands-on art making workshop with the students.

Over the past year, Hepner has worked on numerous public art projects including augmented reality installations at Carrie Furnace with the Braddock Carnegie Library, and light-painting with Hālau Makana Aloha O Ka Lauaʻe in Wailuku, Hawaii. 

A third installation, Larimer Caryatids, at Bakery Square in Pittsburgh, features silhouettes of students from Lincoln K-5 Elementary and Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh in Larimer. Hepner was one of two artists selected from 85 local and national applicants to create an installation at Bakery Square. The Bakery Square public art project is supported by the Walnut Capital "Grow with Walnut" initiative.  

During Hepner’s hands-on workshop, the honors students will create silhouette portraits and LED light drawings for a new Penn State-themed public art project, "WE ARE: NOW." Hepner is piloting the collaborative art making project with Greater Allegheny students to rebuild community connection and highlight what makes them unique as Penn Staters who have experienced these strange past two years.

Greater Allegheny Honors Program Coordinator Megan Nagel worked with Hepner to schedule this talk.

“I am excited for Professor Hepner to share her experiences and work with our honors students,” said Nagel, who also serves as the associate chief academic officer and is an associate professor of chemistry. “Opportunities to interact closely with faculty and understand their areas of expertise is an important aspect of our honors program. This presentation will provide a unique experience to not only be part of the art-making process, but to also introduce students to the intersection of art and technology.”   

To learn more about Greater Allegheny’s honors program, visit the website. To view additional projects and public art created by Hepner, visit her website.