Student Programs in the Arts

Graffiti & Style-Writing

Workshops and Residencies

Grades: 6-12 | Program Length: 45 minute sessions | Cost: Variable by number of visits and classrooms

Availability: September – May

From its uniquely urban inception to its current place in modern museum collections and massive street art exhibitions, the culture and style of graffiti has revolutionized the art world and been adopted / co-opted by pop culture and marketing campaigns worldwide.  Teaching artist Shane Pilster will work with classroom educators to customize an outreach program for your students.  From single day workshops to multi-visit residencies, the program focuses the visual language of graffiti style-writing, from the basics of techniques, caps, colors, kinds of paint, and general styles of lettering to advanced fill-ins, mural-esque backgrounds, and discussion on (in)famous contemporary artists and connections to hip-hop and pop culture.  Contact Rivers of Steel for syllabus options and artist bio and CV.

students work on designs during the graffit art and style writing workshops

Supplemental Graffiti Arts Curriculum

View and download printable worksheets including step-by-step tutorials on alphabet design, lettering, word composition, fillins and more.

View Curriculum


Workshops or Residencies

Grades: 6–12 | Program Length: two modules minimum | Cost: Variable

Module 1: Three-hour riverboat excursion (departs from Pittsburgh’s North Shore)
Module 2: Two-hour casting experience (@ the Carrie Blast Furnaces in Rankin/Swissvale)

Combining two of Rivers of Steel’s most exciting assets, the Explorer riverboat and the Metal Arts program, this STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) workshop examines Pittsburgh’s river biology through the lens of the industrial arts. Students begin the program by embarking on a 3-hour field excursion aboard the Explorer riverboat, during which time they investigate microscopic creatures living in our waterways using microscopes and dredges. Armed with this knowledge, students will spend the remainder of the river excursion creating unique scratch mold designs inspired by micro and macroscopic organisms viewed under microscope. Module two takes place on a separate date at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, during which time these scratch mold designs are cast in solid aluminum.  Module 2 includes the metal casting experience as well as an educational mini tour of the industrial landmark. Final castings can be taken home at the end of Module two.

The metal casting experience (module 2) can also take place at the school, rather than the Carrie Blast Furnaces provided the necessary space is available. Additional fees may apply

Book early! Contact us to schedule

a learning experience for your students with Rivers of Steel.