Past Fellows

2015 Flight School Fellows:





If art academies teach you how to be creative and nothing more, Flight School picks up the slack. Modern artists must bolster their training with savvy business practices and intelligent goals. You already have wings, an airstrip, an engine and clear skies. Flight School teaches you how to start the engine, and keep the propeller spinning. The altitude and direction, you learn, are up to you."

- Robert Isenberg, freelance writer, playwright, photographer and stage performer.

Flight School helped me see that my goals are attainable as an artist, no matter how big they may be. It comes down to knowing the steps to achieve them, and Flight School gives you these tools and more. It's an important and transformative experience on the journey of being an artist. It gives you a community of other ambitious and talented artists of all stripes, and this becomes your family as you travel through the process of being given a set of tools that will be used for the rest of your life. It's as important as my graduate school experience, because it showed me the "how" instead of just musing on the "why" of the life of the artist.

- Jennifer Meridian, interdisciplinary visual artist.

Since there really aren't many good textbooks when it comes to having a career in the arts, I've always operated intuitively, without much of a plan or thoughts about the future. In real time, while participating in the program, Flight School has helped me identify some sticking points, curb certain bad habits, and generate a precision to my focus which has bolstered my efficiency and creativity.

- Ed Piskor, comic artist.


Flight School Fellows 2011: What they're saying

Flight School helped me - a recent returnee to Pittsburgh - get oriented to the art scene here. It was like my VIP ticket to the art world. I am now part of a community of folks who help each other out and cheer each other on.

- Elizabeth Hoover, poet. New post-Flight School book forthcoming, 2012.

Flight School is aptly named. In Flight School you work with fellow artists to pave a communal runway with a safety nets and rubber mats -- so that you can practice your flights of fancy with safety and support. It's perhaps the one place in the arts where you don't always have to learn by your bruises. Flight School also offers incredibly practical support on the business of being a working artist. From LLCs, to tax IDs Flight School helped to lay out the alphabet for a professional and sustainable career in the arts. Flight School is also a wonderful connector for any artist looking for collaborators across all disciplines.

- Anya Martin, theater artist. Post-Flight School organization Hiawatha Project debuted its first original piece in fall, 2011.

My experience with Flight School caused me to re-evaluate and adjust my work, my process, and my goals. This change in thinking has resulted in new creative directions and new opportunities I would not have pursued otherwise. It very well could be a turning point in my career and life, though I think it's too early to objectively make that statement.

- Jim Rugg, comics artist. Numerous post-Flight School collaborations, publications, and professional appearances.

One of the things that people might forget is that being an artist is to bathe oneself in constant critique and rejection. It always seems so glamorous from a distance, but you don't see the 13 refused grant proposals that came before the one that got accepted. But Flight School was so completely different. You're surrounded by support. You've got this whole crew of people working like mad to help you achieve your goals. It is an amazing environment to be a part of.

Maybe most exciting was the networking component. In the months since the program ended I've worked with or for several of the other fellows and that's been fantastic. And the opportunity to share what you do with the guests and speakers was wonderful. You are presented to them, so it's organic. It's not like barging into somebody's office or pestering them at a party and guilting them into looking at your work. You're part of this amazing group of artists and so they see you in that way. And it's hard to stress how rare that can be, how hard it can be to get noticed by a curator who's used to dealing with people who've won prestigious international awards and gets glowing write ups in Art Forum.

- Ben Hernstrom, photographer and videographer. Post-Flight School exhibitions include the Pittsburgh Biennial, plus numerous collaborative works.