All The FAQ You Need


  1. 1. How much is tuition and what does it include?

    Tuition for the program is $16,500 and includes the following:
    • Books, supplies, and production related costs
    • Free access to equipment (cameras, lighting, sound, editing suites, etc.)
    • Public screening of advanced work
    • Optional apprenticeship program after graduation
    • Additional career support and development through networking events, interview coaching, portfolio review, serving as job reference
    • Referrals for internships and paid production work (as available)
    • One year full access membership to Pittsburgh Filmmakers after graduation
    • Free enrollment in limited number of additional, ongoing classes for up to 2 years after graduation

    2. Is financial aid available?

    Pittsburgh Filmmakers does not participate in Title IV financial aid programs. Students can take advantage of our interest-free payment plan or explore options private or personal loans. Please click on “Tuition and Payment Options” on The Filmmaking Intensive homepage at where you will find more information about our payment plan and also options through Dollar Bank for private loans and other ways to help with the program’s cost.

    3. Is the program accredited?

    The program is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

    4. How long will it take to get an admissions decision once I have completed my application and interviewed for the program?

    Typically, students will receive a decision within two weeks of their interview.

    5. When does the program begin and end?

    The program begins in September and ends in April.

    6. When are classes offered?

    Classes are offered Mondays – Thursdays from approximately 10am-5pm. Each class is three hours in length.

    7. Does the program offer an apprenticeship?

    Yes, all students who graduate are immediately eligible for an optional, no cost apprenticeship through which we will seek to place the student in an internship or paid production position (as available).

    8. What is the application deadline?

    Enrollment in the program is limited to 12 students each year. We continue to accept applications until the program is at capacity. If you are applying after June 15, please contact the admissions officer, Dory Perry ( or 412-681-5449 x221) to advise her.


  1. How much do classes cost?

    Non-college credit tuition for each full-semester course is $390, plus a course fee, or $350 if paid before the semester’s discount deadline. Course fees and expenses vary depending on what the course is; see Q. 4 below.

  2. What is required to apply for admission to Pittsburgh Filmmakers?

    The only requirement for entry-level classes is a high school diploma or GED. A high school senior may petition for admittance; see Q. 17 below.

  3. When do classes begin and how long do they last?

    There are three semesters per year. Fall and Winter/Spring semesters run for 14 weeks, September to December and January to April; Summer semesters run for 13 weeks, from May to early August.

  4. Is tuition all I have to pay?

    There are also course fees of either $35 or $70 attached to the majority of all full-length courses to cover in-class equipment use, materials, chemicals, facilities and rentals. In addition, a student must be prepared to pay for textbooks and other materials and processing charges not covered by course fees.

  5. Is financial aid available? Are scholarships or discounts offered?

    Pittsburgh Filmmakers does not participate in Title IV financial aid programs.  A limited number of scholarships are available to low-income students taking classes on a non-credit basis.  Tuition discounts are available for PF/PCA Associate and Access Members, and one course fee per semester is waived for PF/PCA Full Access Members and Pittsburgh Technology Council members.  See the Membership guidelines for details on Member discounts.

  6. What is an "independent" student?

    An independent student is a person who registers for classes directly with Pittsburgh Filmmakers and either pays his/her own tuition and fees or is paid for by an approved third party (please contact the Registrar for details)

  7. Does Pittsburgh Filmmakers grant degrees?

    Pittsburgh Filmmakers is a NASAD-accredited institution, but it does not grant degrees. but it does not grant degrees. The courses taught at Pittsburgh Filmmakers may be applied toward a degree if the student is registered in a participating college or university program, or, if taken on a credit transcript basis, as transfer credit to a non-participating school. Local universities participating with Pittsburgh Filmmakers include:

    University of Pittsburgh

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Point Park University

    La Roche College

    Duquesne University

    Robert Morris University

    Carlow University

    Seton Hill University.

  8. How do I register for classes at Pittsburgh Filmmakers if I am enrolled at a nearby university?

    A student attending a participating institution registers for classes at their home school. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the appropriate personnel at their school to assure proper registration. You may contact Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Registrar at 412.681.5449 x 202 to obtain contact information for your school.

  9. What is the difference between taking a course non-credit or credit transcript?

    There is no difference in the content of the course whether taken on a non-credit or credit transcript basis. Courses taken on a non-credit basis are not acceptable for transfer to a post-secondary institution. (A student may decide to change the status of his/her courses from non-credit to credit transcript at a later date by paying the difference between the non-credit and current credit transcript tuition, plus a small processing fee.)

  10. What is Pittsburgh Filmmakers' tuition rate for transferable college credit?

    The cost is currently $1,090 for a 3 Credit / 42 classroom-hour course.

  11. How long will it take to complete a Certificate Program?

    The Certificate in Film or Digital Video takes a minimum of seven semesters to complete, depending on a student’s available time, resources and embarking semester; a Certificate in Photography will take a minimum of five semesters to complete. Completion of each Program requires a minimum of 12 courses, but there are no time constraints or minimum number of courses to be taken in any one semester. A student may progress through the Program at his/her own pace.

  12. Does a Certificate Program have to be taken for college credit?

    No, these Programs may be taken on either a non-credit or credit-transcript basis; most independent students opt for non-credit. Certificate Program students enrolled in college generally complete the Program with a mix of non-credit classes taken independently and for-credit classes taken through their home school.

  13. Does Pittsburgh Filmmakers have an internship program?

    Yes, Pittsburgh Filmmakers can assist in arranging internships with production companies, TV stations, feature films and TV series, freelance artists, and advertising agencies. Students generally apply for the position, and register for the internship if they are chosen by the company. Many internship positions are competitive, and advanced students are given priority over beginning students. For specific information, please contact the Internship Coordinator at 412.681.5449 x 219. .

  14. Does Pittsburgh Filmmakers have a job placement program?

    No, however, paid and unpaid artist opportunities are referred to advanced students and recent graduates who request such information. We also post job opportunities on our bulletin board.

  15. May foreign students take classes?

    Students who reside outside the United States may study at Pittsburgh Filmmakers; however, we are not able to assist such students in acquiring a student visa.

  16. Is housing available?

    There is a wealth of housing rental options near Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  Independent students must research local areas for housing possibilities, through online listings such as We can also supply a list of realtors and management companies.

  17. Can high school students take classes?

    High school students who have completed their junior year may petition to take entry level courses at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  Please download and submit a petition to the Registrar.  Students at all levels can take media courses with the Youth Media Program, located at our sister organization, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.


  1. Where are you located?

    The school building is located at 1047 Shady Ave., right off of 5th Avenue. If you are familiar with our gallery building (the big yellow one on the corner of 5th and Shady), we are right behind that building. The school building is a Tudor style mansion with orange trim.

  2. What's your parking situation?

    We have a metered lot around our building that is monitored by the city of Pittsburgh.

  3. Can I transfer to another class?

    Yes, but there is a $15 fee applied to all transfers. No transfers will be accepted once the second class begins. Transfers may only be made within the same term. A transfer may be made by calling the Registration Office.

  4. Can I register for a class that's already started?

    Students may register late for any class in which space is available. However, fees will not be prorated.

  5. How do your waiting lists work?

    Waiting lists are maintained for full classes. Students must request that their names be placed on a waiting list and will be contacted if space becomes available.

  6. What is your refund policy?

    Occasionally classes are cancelled due to low enrollment. In such cases, the Registration Office will notify you approximately 3 days before the class begins and the full class fee will be refunded by check or credit card, depending on your original payment method. No cash refunds are available. Students may withdraw from classes by calling the Registration Office. A $25 charge applies to all withdrawals, regardless of when the withdrawal occurs. If the withdrawal occurs after the first class has met, you will also be charged for that session regardless of your attendence. No refunds will be made once the second class begins and under no circumstances will tuition be transferred to another term. Membership fees and family workshop fees are non-refundable. No camps or one-day workshops will be refunded with less than one week's notice.

  7. What happens when a class is cancelled?

    Occasionally, classes are cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. In such cases, the Registration Office will notify you approximately 72 hours before the class begins and the full class fee will be refunded, either by check or credit card, depending on your form of registration.

  8. What happens when a class is cancelled due to weather?

    We try to avoid canceling classes due to poor weather conditions whenever possible. In the event that a class is cancelled, we will email all students, post a notice on our Facebook page and change the greeting of our outgoing voicemail at least 2 hours prior to class. Whenever possible we call students to notify them of a closing, but that is not always possible due to the large number of students we serve.

  9. May students use the studios outside of class time?

    Ceramics and clay students may use the studio on Monday nights from 6-9pm for the duration of the class. If your class is scheduled on Monday nights, you may use the studio on Thursday nights, 6-9 pm. There is no open studio time for students in other disciplines.


  1. How can I provide my child’s medical information?

    Emergency Information and Authorization Form
    The information that you provide on this form will be used to ensure your child’s safe participation in programs at PCA. A completed form must be submitted before your child will be allowed to begin class or camp. This form can be found in our catalog, on our website and at the PCA School. A form should be submitted for every child one time during the semester.

    PCA Staff is not allowed to dispense non-emergency medication to students. If a student is unable to administer his/her own non-emergency medication, a designated adult must come to PCA to dispense it. Emergency medication must be labeled with the student’s full name and given to the Instructor at sign-in. Emergency medication will be stored in the child’s classroom and taken on any field trips.

    Special Needs
    PCA is committed to providing an enjoyable art-making experience for all students and strives to create an inclusive and welcoming artistic community. Please share information about your child’s allergies or other special needs on the Emergency Information and Authorization Form. Parents or guardians are encouraged to contact the Children’s Program Manager & Camp Supervisor to discuss any needs a student may have which would impact his/her participation or if a TSS will be accompanying the child to class or camp. The aid’s name and agency must also be included in the Emergency Information and Authorization Form. 

  2. What is the daily schedule?

    Students may be signed in with their camp or class 15 minutes before it begins. Parents will sign students in with the Instructor or Assistant on the front lawn or in their child’s classroom. On the first day of camp, parents will check in at the front desk and be directed to the appropriate sign-in location. Parents who wish for their 11 to 17 year old child to sign themselves in and out from camp must initial the authorization form. Students attending a high school camp may sign themselves in and out of camp without an adult. No students under the age of 11 may sign themselves in or out of camp without a parent or authorized adult.

    Lunch and Scheduled Breaks
    Students attending a full-day camp will have a 30 minute lunch/recess period from 12:00 PM-12:30 PM and two 10 minute breaks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Please provide your child with a non-perishable lunch and drink labeled with his/her first and last name. We suggest that campers also bring a snack for mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.

    Half-day camps end at 12:00 PM and full-day camps end at 3:30 PM. Campers will be waiting for pick up at the same location as their sign-in. If the student is not attending a high school camp, is under the age of 11 or does not have a signed authorization form, a parent or authorized adult must sign their child out with their child’s Instructor or Assistant. Children may not, under any circumstances, be left unattended at PCA School. Parents will be charged for a session of post-camp if their child is signed-out over 20 minutes late.

  3. Do you offer extended care?

    Extended care options are available before and after camp hours during the summer. To ensure that adequate staffing is available, arrangements for pre-camp and post-camp should be made at the time of registration. Fees are non-refundable and spaces are limited. Placement cannot be guaranteed for last-minute registrations. Pre-Camp is offered between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM at a rate of $7.00 per day and Post-Camp is offered at a rate of $12.00 per day. Extended care is not always offered for camps during the school year. Call PCA School at 412-361-0455 for more information.

  4. Can my child participate in a camp outside of his or her age range?

    PCA is dedicated to the best practices in arts education, including developing and implementing age-appropriate visual and media arts curriculum for our students. Each program is designed to meet the unique social and developmental needs of children in each age bracket. Students will not be allowed to attend a camp outside of their age. If you would like your child to be placed in the same camp section as another child, this preference must be indicated at the time of registration and the placement of the children must coincide with our age and group size requirements.

  5. How do I register?

    There are several ways to register for a class or camp, listed below. Please note that your registration will not be complete until we have received full payment
    ·      Online at
    ·      Over the phone by calling 412-361-0455
    ·      By fax: 412-362-4589
    ·      In person or by mail, using the form in the back of every catalog
    We are located at 1047 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15232

  6. Is financial aid available?

    A limited number of financial awards are available for students demonstrating financial need. An application is included in the back of every catalog. Families who have never applied for an award must fill out an application and submit proof of income. Families who have submitted the latest year’s proof of income need only submit the application. Proof of income must be updated every year and we must be notified if your income has changed.

  7. What is process over product?

    All projects are process-based, which affords children the opportunity to engage in critical thought, collaborative learning, and creative experimentation under the guidance of an experienced professional artist and educator. PCA places emphasis on the skills acquired during the process of creation, rather than the importance of the final product. To that end, students will often work collaboratively, and may create temporary installations that will not go home with them at the end of camp. While most students will end their class or camp with a final artwork to take home, this cannot be guaranteed.

  8. Who teaches at PCA?

    PCA Instructors are talented artists, devoted educators and responsible caregivers. Our instructors are passionate about designing a class curriculum that reflects their skills and expertise, while upholding the commitment to best practices in arts learning. Our instructors are highly educated working artists with multiple years experience in arts education. Every instructor, staff member and assistant are required to hold Act 33/34 Clearances.

  9. What you should bring/keep at home

    All supplies are provided for class and camps. Students in studio arts camps often use messy materials; you may send your child with a labeled apron or smock to wear while engaged in art making. For a full-day camp, send your child with a non-perishable lunch and two snacks, labeled with first and last name. For a half-day camp, send your child with one snack. You may send sunscreen and/or a hat with your child as many camps spend time outdoors. Please leave toys, MP3s and other valuables at home. Cell phones may be used in emergencies but must be kept on silent during camps. Please send an extra change of clothes for students 4-7 years old.

  10. Are there any other details I need to know?

    Student Artwork
    Personal belongings and artwork left behind at the conclusion of camp or class are collected and kept in the lost and found located in the Registration Office. Pittsburgh Center for the Arts reserves the right to discard artwork and other personal belongings two weeks after the conclusion of class or camp. Students may be asked to provide artwork to be displayed at a student exhibition. Parents will be notified when the work can be picked up. Due to kiln firing schedules, some artwork from clay and ceramics camps may not be ready for pick up until approximately two weeks after the camp ends.

    Photo Consent
    Your child’s image may be photographed or reproduced on PF/PCA promotional materials. You can indicate whether you do or do not authorize the use of your child’s image on the Emergency Information and Authorization Form.



How do I get to Filmmakers by car or public transportation?

Please see our Directions page.

Does Filmmakers have a parking lot?

Yes, we have a visitors parking lot adjacent to the building. The parking lot across the street from Pittsburgh Filmmakers is University of Pittsburgh lot “PF,” a permit-only lot patrolled by University of Pittsburgh police. Visitors may obtain a Visitor Parking Pass from the receptionist. Any Filmmakers’ student may purchase a parking permit for daytime parking from the Parking Office on the Pitt campus (412-624-4034).

Is there street parking at Filmmakers?

Yes, along Melwood Avenue. Please see our Directions page.

Are there bike racks?

Yes, bike racks are by the Member and Student Access entrance.


When are the Melwood galleries @ Filmmakers open?

Tuesday – Thursday 2 – 7 pm; and when films are shown in the Melwood Screening Room

How much is admission to the Melwood galleries?

Admission is to the galleries at Filmmakers is free.


Is there a coat check?

We provide a coat rack near the galleries.

Are baby strollers permitted in the galleries?

Yes, baby strollers are permitted. While we love encourage children to experience the art in the galleries, they must be supervised at all times.

Are all exhibitions appropriate for children to view?

At times, some of the exhibitions at the Melwood galleries are directed for adult audiences. Parents and teachers are advised to preview exhibitions or check with the staff at our Receptionist Desk.

Is there a place to eat?

Dave's Cafe Obscura is located in front of the Receptionist desk and is open on days when classes are held, generally Monday through Thursday. Dave prepares fresh vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and offers a wide selection of delicious beverages.

Are there other restaurants in the area?

There are many restaurants nearby in Oakland and Bloomfield.


Is Filmmakers wheelchair accessible?

Yes, please inquire at the Recptionist desk for any assistance you may require.


Do I have to have a reservation to check out equipment?

No. Reservations are not necessary for equipment rental, but they are encouraged. I f you do not have a reservation there is no guarantee that the equipment you wish to use will be available.

If I am unable to return equipment myself can someone else return my equipment for me?

Yes. However, keep in mind that if the person who is retuning your equipment is late or damages equipment, you are held responsible.

Can someone else pick up my equipment for me?

No. Only you can pick up equipment in your name. Also you cannot check out equipment without your valid student or member I.D. card.

What happens if I lose my I.D. card?

A replacement can be made for a $5 processing fee during our Administrative Office hours (generally Monday through Friday 9-5).

Can I return my equipment early?


What if I am unable to return my equipment on time?

Please be respectful of our check in and check out times. Filmmakers is a community organization and if equipment is to be shared fairly between its members and students then it must be returned on time. Returning your equipment late can result in another student or member left without their reserved equipment. For this reason late fines are necessary. If you know you are going to be late please call so other arrangements can be made for the person with the next reservation.

Is there anyway to get an extension on the return deadline?

Yes. If you know ahead of time that you may not be able to return equipment on time you may ask for an extension when taking the equipment out. No extensions will be granted after the equipment has left the facility.

Can I have a guests stay with me After Hours?

Yes. Keep in mind that you are responsible for them. Make sure they know and follow all rules (including signing out) or you will be fined accordingly.

As a member, how do I gain access to equipment?

Members should already know how to use the equipment they wish to access. Access is granted either by having completed a corresponding class with a C grade or above, or through a test out. Testing out on equipment is simply showing an Equipment Office staff member proficiency. Test outs can be scheduled with the Equipment Office in person or over the phone.

If I sell my work in a gallery or it is picked up at a film festival does it still qualify as non-commercial work?

Yes. As long as you are not being commissioned to create work and you are not creating your work for the purpose of making a profit, if someone wishes to purchase your work as art after it's creation then it is considered non-commercial. If you are unsure of the status of your work, contact Christopher Smalley csmalley[a] for approval. Doing commercial work without approval will result in termination of access.



How do I get to the Center by car or public transportation?

Please see our Directions page.

Does PCA have a parking lot?

Yes, we have a metered parking lot that is enforced by the City of Pittsburgh. Please see our Directions page for more information.

Is there street parking at the PCA?

Yes, along Shady Avenue or Beechwood Boulevard Please see our Directions page.

Are there bike racks?

Yes, bike racks are in front of the Marshall building and along Shady Avenue.


When are the galleries and Shop @ PCA open?

Tuesday – Wednesday 10 – 5
Thursday – 10 – 7
Friday & Saturday 10 – 5
Sundays 12 – 5
Please see our Directions page to check for special holiday hours

How much is admission to the galleries?

Admission prices are $5 for adults; Seniors (62+) $4 and $3 for students. Admission is free for children 12 & under and to members of PF/PCA and Pgh Glass Center. Please see our Become a Member Page.

Can I come to PCA just to visit the Shop? If so, do I have to pay the admission fee?

You do not have to pay the fee, but all visitors must sign in at the front desk.


Is there a coat check?

During the winter months, we provide coat racks, hot tea and cocoa for guests in our front lobby. During the warmer months however, we do not provide this service. Please leave oversized items at home so you may comfortably enjoy your visit.

Are baby strollers permitted in the galleries?

Yes, baby strollers are permitted. While we encourage children to experience the art in the galleries, they must be supervised at all times.

Are all exhibitions appropriate for children to view?

At times, some of the exhibitions at the PCA are directed to for adult audiences. Parents and teachers are advised to preview exhibitions or check with the staff at our Front Desk.

Is there a place to eat?

At our PCA location, we do not have a café. During the winter months, we provide complimentary hot tea and cocoa for guests in our front lobby. Outside food is not permitted in the shop or galleries.

Are there other restaurants in the area?

There are many restaurants nearby in Shadyside, Penn Circle, and Squirrel Hill.


Is the Center wheelchair accessible?

Yes, please inquire at the front desk for any assistance you may require.

Does the Center offer special programs or tours for visitors with visual or hearing impairments?

PCA offers a variety of programs for visitors with diverse needs. Please call the Assistant to the Director at 412.361.0873x307 for more information or email at rcooper [a]


How do I arrange a visit for a school group or group of adults?

All guided and self-guided groups , should make arrangements in advance. Arrangements for groups just visiting the galleries and shop can be made with the Assistant to the Director at 412.361.0873x307. Groups that would like to have a hands on art activity with their visit may can contact our Director of Education 412.3361.0455x302. Please see more about our Group Visits.



How large are the galleries at PCA?

With over 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Center’s ten galleries are dedicated to presenting exhibitions of both the region’s prominent and emerging visual artists, as well as artists working nationally and internationally.

What are the current exhibitions at PF/PCA?

Please see our Current Exhibitions page.

How do I let PF/PCA know about my work?

Annually, PF/PCA accepts applications from artists living within a 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh for solo and collaborative exhibitions during the calendar year. This opportunity is open to artists working in any visual discipline including 2D, 3D, installation, and time based work. To get a copy of the application, please see our Calls for Artists page.

Is artwork in the galleries for sale?

Artwork for sale varies with each exhibition. We provide a gallery guide with pricing information at the front desk and throughout the galleries. To purchase work, please contact a sales associate from the shop for more information. 412.361.0873x303.

Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

PF/PCA does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

Can I volunteer at the galleries?

PCA offers a variety of volunteer opportunities and internships. Please visit our Volunteer & Internships page for more information.


Gallery Tours

Presently PF/PCA does not have any regularly scheduled tours, but arrangements for groups visiting the galleries and shop can be made with the Assistant to the Director at 412.361.0873 x307. Groups that would like to have a hands on art activity with their visit may can contact our Director of Education 412.3361.0455x302. Please see more about our Group Visits.

Gallery Talks

Talks are based on current exhibitions or popular art topics. Consult the events pagefor specific dates, times, and topics.

What programs does PCA offer for children?

For over 30 years, the Center has been offering Summer Art Camps for children ages 4-17. In addition we offer evening an weekend classes for children and adults in a number of different media including: ceramics, creative writing, drawing, fiber arts, jewelry, media arts, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Please visit the School Page for more information and current listings.


Are visitors permitted to sketch in the galleries?

Yes. Sketching in graphite pencil is permitted in the galleries during regular gallery hours. The use of charcoal, ink, watercolor and paint, fountain, felt tip, or ballpoint pen is not permitted. Visitors should inquire at the front desk for further details.

Is photography or videography permitted in the galleries?

Photography and videography are allowed in the galleries. Images taken must use existing light (no flash) and must be for personal, non-commercial use only.


How do I know what kind of membership to get?

If your main interests are supporting the organization and receiving discounts for our various programs, the Associate Membership would most likely benefit you most.  If you are interested in artist services, would like to participate in our governance, or intend to use the equipment at PF/PCA, an Access Membership would be most beneficial to you.

How do I become a member?

To become a member, visit our Become a Member page for more information; or call 412.681.5449x246 during regular business hours.

What are the benefits of becoming a member?

Benefits vary depending on the level of membership. See a complete list of Membership Benefits.

How do I make a donation to the galleries?

You may make a secure, fully tax-deductible donation online; using your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card; or by mailing a check made payable to the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

I am a current member and/or donor. How can I change my name and/or address and continue to receive mail from PF/PCA?

Send your new name and/or address to Membership Services, jasdeep[at], or call 412.681.5449x246.

Can I give a membership as a gift?

Absolutely! A membership to PF/PCA makes any occasion special. Memberships make great birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, or holiday gifts for family, friends, and/or business associates. Please visit our Membership page for more information; or call 412.681.5449 during regular business hours.

How do I receive my members discount at the PCA Shop?

Simply by presenting your membership card to any associate in the shop upon payment. Your 10% discount will be deducted from the full retail price of items in the shop. The discount doesn't apply to the artwork in the exhibitions.


What is "pay-as-you-go" access?

Pay-as-you-go access is exactly what it sounds like.  You can pay for equipment access as you use it, on an hourly or daily basis.  Pay-as-you-go access is granted to all Access Members who have paid the basic membership dues upon equipment test-out (see below).  Members who plan to use the equipment a lot should consider purchasing an Access Package

What is an equipment test-out?

PF/PCA requires in-person demonstrations for equipment access and facility use because we need to ensure that members know how to use the equipment before access is granted.  A test-out can be scheduled by calling the Pittsburgh Filmmakers equipment office at 412-681-9500 or the PCA School at 412-361-0455.  If you fail an equipment test-out, you may be asked to take a PF/PCA class in order to learn how to use the equipment.

Can you test-out in more than one discipline?

Yes.  You can test out in as many disciplines as you can handle.  If you purchase more than one access packages, additional packages will be ½ price.

What are the access hours for PF/PCA?

Access hours and policies are different for PF and PCA, so be sure to read the policies closely. One major difference is that Pittsburgh Filmmakers has after-hours access. That's right, if you show up to access our labs before closing, you can stay as late as you want so long as you observe the rules! Please check here for our current hours of operation. Access hours for the PCA change according to staffing and availability. Please check here for our current hours of operation. 

Can I upgrade my membership from Associate to Access?

Yes, contact the Director of Artist & Member Services at 412-681-5449 x 246.


  1. What is an Artist Residency Project?

    Artist Residency Projects place professional artists into school and community settings where they can share the myriad benefits of their creative processes. Each Artist Residency Project is a custom-designed collaboration between the host site and the Resident Artist. The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts' Artist Residency Program was founded in 2001 through our partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Arts in Education Division.

  2. Who is eligible for an Artist Residency Project?

    Schools, nonprofit agencies, and community organizations working with both children and adults in Allegheny, Beaver, sw Butler, Greene, and Washington Counties are eligible for an Artist Residency Project. School-based projects include public, private, parochial, and charter schools serving elementary, middle, and high-school students. Artist Residency Projects can also be designed at the collegiate level. Community-based projects in social and human service agencies include social rehabilitation sites for adults, special needs children in an inclusion-oriented program, senior-care facilities, as well as projects at many other types of community and cultural organizations.

  3. What are the benefits of an Artist Residency Project?

    Studies have shown a significant correlation between arts education and skills development resulting in improved levels of achievement. Skills developed through the arts are recognized as being essential elements for success in today's society. These skills, as noted by Robert Root-Bernstein, Professor of Physiology at Michigan State University, include the ability to:
    • Observe acutely
    • Think spatially and kinesthetically
    • Identify the essential components of a complex whole
    • Recognize and invent patterns
    • Gain empathy with objects of study
    • Synthesize and communicate the results of one's thinking, visually, verbally, or mathematically.

    The arts are proven to stimulate and enhance student performance in all curriculum areas and to encourage the development of improved self-image and empowerment. The arts provide opportunities for:
    • Imagination and creativity to flow
    • Communication and problem-solving skills to grow
    • Self-directed intrinsic motivation to be engendered
    • Teamwork to be encouraged and appreciated
    • Diverse thinking to take place
    • Individuality to excel
    • Positive self-expression to evolve

  4. How many days constitute and Artist Residency Project?

    Residencies can last anywhere from 10 to 180 days for individual artists and groups/ensembles. The days don’t need to be consecutive. A Resident Artist can work at a site one day a week for eighteen weeks, twice a week for five weeks or twice a month for the whole school year. Artists may work directly with core group participants up to four hours per day. If pre-determined during the planning meeting, they may also work with or present to other classrooms or conduct workshops for teachers, administrators, and/or parents.

  5. What is a core group?

    An Artist Residency Project is designed as an in-depth media-specific experience for up to three core groups of students, not to exceed 30 students per group. The program is described as allowing a full embrace for a smaller number of participants rather than providing just a handshake for every student in the school. The artist may be introduced at an assembly, may do a whole school performance or slide show, may visit classrooms to talk with other students, and may provide workshops for teachers to take specific techniques and creative ideas back to their classrooms. Please welcome the Resident Artist to your site with the idea of positively impacting everyone in the building, but giving the core group students and teachers a fuller, richer, in-depth experience.

  6. What kinds of artists are in the program?

    We currently have approximately 45 Resident Artists in our program, including media artists, dancers, folk artists, inter and multi-disciplinary artists, fiber artists, jewelers,, musicians, visual artists, clown artists, and writers! These artists are professionals who are exhibiting, performing, and publishing regularly. If you open up a regional, or sometimes a national, newspaper, you are likely to see positive reviews of their works each week. Part of the skill set of a Resident Artist is his/her ability to communicate both the creative process and the techniques of his/her medium. Artist applying to the program undergo an independent panel review process. Qualifying artists are chosen based on the quality of their artwork, their ability to articulate their artform and residency project plans to an independent review panel of artists, educators, and administrators, and on their proven ability to fully implement a successful residency plan. The panel sends its recommendations to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which makes the final decision regarding approval. Once approved, the Resident Artists are placed on our roster but are not employees of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. They maintain their own studio spaces and often work for other non-profit arts organizations as well as the Center.

  7. How do the Resident Artists get paid?

    Artist Residencies are funded by the host site with matching funds provided by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts through our partnership with the PA Council on the Arts’ Arts in Education Division. The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts pays the artist in full and invoices the host site for its match.

  8. Is it difficult/competitive to receive matching funds for an Artist Residency Project?

    It is not at all difficult, although artists' schedules fill up quickly so make your requests in a timely fashion! The program is designed to operate on an on-demand basis, but funding is limited.

  9. How much does an Artist Residency Project cost to implement?

    Most individual Resident Artists are paid $200 per day. Some artists have slightly higher fees. Companies’ and ensembles’ daily rates vary depending on the size of the group. There is a sliding rate scale for host sites based on the number of days of a residency project as required by the PA Council on the Arts. This information can be found on the back of the Artist Residency Request Form, page 2. The host site is solely responsible for the cost of materials and for any compensation to the artist associated with travel expenses. Resident Artists excel at making the cost of materials for their projects affordable to the host sites.

  10. How will the Artist Residency Project fit in with existing programs/curriculum?

    Since the Resident Artist, representatives from the host site, and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts plan the residency project together, much care is taken to address Pennsylvania’s Arts & Humanities Standards in all art forms and to clearly articulate the goal of having the Resident Artist at the site. Artists and teachers regularly communicate regarding the intent of the project and how to tie the art form into a specific program and/or extend it throughout the curriculum. Often it is not the Arts Educators who are working with the Resident Artist but, rather the Classroom Teacher who recognizes how an artform brought to life by a practicing artist can fully illuminate a concept for students.

  11. OK, I've decided that I want to participate in the program! What are the next steps?

    Step 1: Think about specific areas of your curriculum or program that could benefit by having a Resident Artist with whom to work. Review the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts’ Artist Residency Directory to see which artist(s) might provide insight into or illumination of that area. You may call Mary Brenholts, Director of School & Community Programs at 412-361-0455, ex 368 to discuss which artist(s) might be most suitable to meet the needs of your host site. Read through the supporting materials included in this packet in order to get a better understanding if how the program works and how it is intended to improve host sites, now and into the future.

    Step 2: Contact the Resident Artist(s) to discuss your ideas. Check on availability, daily rate, the potential cost of materials, and other items particular to each artist/artform.

    Step 3: Complete the enclosed Artist Residency Request Form making sure to provide us with as many details as possible. If you are uncertain at this point about the source or confirmation of your matching funds simply write “pending” or “awaiting approval.” You may have funds provided by a school budget, district budget, a PTA, PTO, or PTG, or from a foundation or local business. Some sites hold fundraisers in their communities. The request form is not a binding document, it simply allows us to determine demand for the program and how to best allocate our funds. If you are unsure of how to complete the budget section, call us for assistance. Make certain to get signatures from principals or other appropriate administrators. Submit your request form as soon as possible to ensure having a good chance to receive matching funds from the Center.

    Step 4: Meet with the Resident Artist(s) to review and complete the Artist Residency Planning Form. Use the questions as tools to help develop a comprehensive plan designed to have lasting impact. Set dates with the Resident Artist(s) as soon as possible! Submit your planning form upon completion.

    Step 5: Once we have received your Artist Residency Request Form and we receive our funding confirmation from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, we will generate a paperwork package designed to keep the process moving forward cleanly and clearly. We are just a phone call or e-mail away at all times and love hearing from potential host sites to answer questions or share ideas.