Impacting the Art Scene

Carolyn Pierotti, kneeling, with artist featured in the DIGS: Sexism in the Arts exhibit.

Carolyn, kneeling, with the artists featured in her curated show "DIGS: Sexism in the Arts." Photo by Nathan Shaulis / Porter Loves Creative. 

Artist Carolyn Pierotti '14 enrolled in one of the bigger universities in Pittsburgh and walked out after the first day. She felt like a number, not like a person. She found a home at Carlow.

“Carlow is different. It’s a community. The faculty know you. I’m still friends with them,” says Carolyn.

Pierotti earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art degree and credits professors Bill DeBernardi, Dale Huffman and others with helping her get where she is today.

“If Bill and Dale hadn’t pushed me as hard as they did, I wouldn’t be here. They gave me the tools that I needed to make things happen for myself,” she says. 

As a working painter, consultant for artists through Purple Room Fine Art, and vice president of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Pierotti has seen every side of the art world. There’s also a side that she didn’t expect to see in a progressive and culturally inclusive world of the arts: sexism.

“I had people saying things about how my family was getting in the way of my career, even comments about how I dressed. I had another artist make a comment about my heels! ‘Does she think her shoes are going to make her more noticeable?’ I talked to other women who told me I wasn’t alone,” she says.

So Pierotti did what came naturally: she curated a show about it.

"DIGS: Sexism in the Arts" ran for the month of May at Artists Image Resource, a local nonprofit gallery space on the North Side. The work ran the gamut from illustration to sculpture to photography. Each artist was free to interpret the subject any way they liked, and Pierotti wouldn’t see the final works until the day of installation.

Pierotti isn’t stopping there. In January, she took over Percolate Art Space & Gallery in Wilkinsburg and hopes to continue giving space for women and other marginalized groups to have their art seen and their voices heard.

“It wasn’t easy to walk out of that big university, because I wanted to learn how to become a curator. But look at me now. I’m curating!” she says.

A world of art awaits. Carlow's Art Department offers a major and a minor in art, plus the opportunity to concentrate in painting and drawing, ceramics, photography, graphic design, interactive media, media arts and animation, art history, art therapy preparation, or art education. Learn more.

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