It’s important that students get off campus and into our community art organizations, so they can see what’s really out there.
Nicole Dezelon is Carlow University’s “Warhol Connection.”
In addition to her role as adjunct professor of education at
Carlow, Dezelon is also associate curator for The Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Students in her courses get “backstage access” to the Warhol.
“I bring small groups of Carlow students to the museum after hours,” says Dezelon. “It’s more intimate than looking at slides in a dark auditorium. Here, students stand in front of actual artwork—and sometimes the actual source material.”
Dezelon also introduces students to the museum’s art studio, familiarizing them with the same materials and processes—like silk screening—that Andy Warhol used.
“It’s important to get future educators on board, right
away,” she says. “A lot of teachers don’t know how to access community
resources—museums or places like Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Pittsburgh has
so many of them.”
It’s also important for future art educators to be flexible when seeking their first jobs, and museum exposure is a huge plus.
“Students need to be prepared that one of their first jobs might be in an arts organization,” she says, “maybe a museum or an arts center, instead of a school.”
A native of Johnstown, Pa., Dezelon spent time as a ceramics studio artist in London and Italy before returning to the United States to teach. She was an instructor at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild and a middle and high school art teacher at North Side Urban Pathways Charter School and then “fell into” museum education. She decided that a master’s degree in arts education—which she earned at Carlow—would be a great complement to her experience.
Today, Dezelon manages the museum’s online curriculum, technology-mediated instruction, and school and teacher programs. She’s also facilitated after-school outreach programs, including work with local teens to create Urban Interview, a magazine styled after Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine.
“There is a misconception that the Warhol is not for kids,” she says. “But kids come to life here. It’s a great testing ground to teach about object based learning.”
Dezelon’s students are invited to Teacher Open House events at both the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art, where they join educators from all over Western Pennsylvania for a night of networking and socializing.
“Pittsburgh has all these cultural gems,” she emphasizes. “It’s important that students get off campus and into our community art organizations, so they can see what’s really out there.”
Find out more about Carlow University's Art program.