By Susan Constanse

There are several great options for art lovers in Pittsburgh during February. If you like a little variety in your art diet, step around town to take in a lecture, attend an opening, or just while away an afternoon.

(Photo: Stephen Tuomala)

Stephen Tuomala: The Word Made Flesh

Modern Formations
Opening reception: February 3, 7-10PM
Hours: Thursdays 7pm – 9pm; Saturdays 1pm – 4pm or by appointment
Cost: Free
4919 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA

Modern Formations will be presenting a solo exhibit of new works by Stephen Tuomala: The Word Made Flesh. In The Word Made Flesh, Mr. Tuomala will examine the metaphysical made physical, through the depiction of medical dissections and cross-sections. Mr. Tuomala has produced bodies of work on book pages in the past; he will be using pages from several eighteenth-century Bibles for this exhibit. The Bibles Mr. Tuomala uses are printed on a heaver paper than the typical onion skin weight, which provides a strong substrate for the ink wash that is his chosen medium. He achieves the large scale of his work, up to 10’ x 9’, by joining the pages into a continuous whole. The works have a powerful and expressive presence.

Along with Modern Formations, the galleries, shops and performance spaces along the Penn Avenue Arts Corridor are open for its First Friday Unblurred event. A full schedule of events is available on their website. Check out the great art happening on Penn Ave in Friendship, and especially at Modern Formations.

(Photo: Susan Constanse)

Overlapping Memories

Guest curator: Carolina Loyola Garcia
Dates: February 10 – April 1, 2012
Hours: WE-TH 11am-6pm; FR-SA 11am-8pm; SU 11am-5pm
Cost: Free
812 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Working with her counterparts in Valencia, Ima Picó and Christina Ghetti, Carolina Loyola Garcia has assembled Pittsburgh-based artists for a cross-cultural exhibit. Dealing with themes of memory and retrospection, Overlapping Memories is an art exchange between artists based in Spain and the U.S. working with contemporary collage. The sister exhibit will take place in Quart Jove, Quart de Poblet.

Ms. Garcia has a strong contingent of Pittsburgh artists for the exhibit. Brooke Schooles, Delanie Jenkins, David Pohl and Teresa Foley, among others, will be producing collages especially for Overlapping Memories. The artists come from diverse disciplines, creating installation, sound and multi-media works. It will be interesting to see their interpretations of collage.

Draw Me a Story: A Century of Children’s Book Illustration

Where: Frick Art & Historical Center
Dates: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free
7227 Reynolds Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

I can think of a lot of good reasons to visit the Frick. The building itself is a gem, with its detailed interior. And the grounds are beautiful even in the deeps of winter. Their permanent collection has fine examples of eighteenth-century art and collectibles. But special exhibits, like Draw Me a Story, warrant the special effort to brave winter weather for a visit.

Draw Me a Story is an exhibition of illustrations from children’s books, spanning a century. The survey covers illustration techniques that include drawing, watercolor and experimental combinations, all geared to expressing a narrative in picture form. The exhibit is comprised of over forty original works from such familiar names as Ernest Shepard, Maurice Sendak, Tomi diPaolo, and Jules Feiffer. Included in the exhibit will be some fine examples of illustrated children’s books. The exhibit will supplemented with selections from the Frick collection of family toys, books, games and period clothing.

The exhibit encourages attendance by children, with the works hung lower than usual and reading nooks available for hands-on (and eyes!) enjoyment. The Frick also offers tours and special Friday afternoon lectures for their exhibits. Being housebound by winter is no fun, and the Frick is a perfect place to while away a winter afternoon with your family.

The Handmade Valentine

Where: Trust Arts Education Center
Dates: February 11, 2012, 11 am – 2 pm
Cost: $25 Workshop Fee
805/807 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Register on

The Trust Arts Education Center offers workshops the second Saturday each month; a great way to exercise your creative muscles. In February, The Trust has put together a workshop with artists from the “I Made It!” Market, just days before that sweetheart of a holiday, Valentine’s Day.

This is a great opportunity to create a really unique gift for a special someone. The I Made It! Artists have consistently put together great little workshops that encourage unconventional usage of materials. Unlike the mini project tables that I Made It! Supplies during special events, this full-on workshop will accommodate a more complete project.

Bricolage Urban Scrawl

Dates: Fri, February 24, 2012, 7pm – VIP Behind the scenes
Sat, February 25, 2012, 7pm – Play night
Where: Bricolage
937 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

It’s the 7th Annual Bricolage Urban Scrawl! Every year, six playwrights are sent out for a short bus ride. On their return, they go into overdrive, producing a 10 minute play that goes into rehearsal in twelve short hours. The directors and actors have another 12 hours to polish their performance, and the series of six short plays are presented the second night.

The Urban Scrawl starts out with a behind-the-scenes VIP event, where you can mingle with the writers, directors and actors that will be involved in the creation of the short works. It’s a fun evening of food, drink and conversation, with the wonderful folks at Bricolage.

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Monday Night Lecture Series: Sebastian Junger

When: February 27 – 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Where: Carnegie Music Hall
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh PA 15213
Cost: $15.00 | Ticketing

The Monday Night lecture series will host an evening with Sebastian Junger, award-winning journalist and best-selling author of The Perfect Storm. Mr. Junger has covered everything from war crimes in Kosovo to wildfires in the American West, taking chances in some very extreme situations. Mr. Junger will be discussing his most recent book, War, an account of his time with American troops in Afghanistan.

Witnessing heroic, disturbing and life-affirming events that represent the conflicted nature of war, Mr. Junger explores the emotional experience of combat and the impact of war on our everyday lives. A most extreme circumstance, War concentrates less on policy and politics, instead examining the pressures of combat on one platoon.

The author’s books will be available for purchase and you can even have your book signed by Mr. Junger at the lecture.

Susan Constanse is a painter, living and working in Pittsburgh. Examples of her work can be viewed on her website.