Carolyn Speranza has been working in digital media, site-specific art installation, and community-based public art for over two decades. She has created and led teams since 2000; coached community-project leadership programs (2008 –10); and run a citywide volunteer program (2004-05). Specializing in arts-based civic engagement since 2003, Speranza is highly motivated to make a difference in the world that is more than aesthetic in its impact.
Speranza's latest project, "All Eyes on Art" aligns with regional and national trends in the arts and civic engagement. Examples of art criticism that provide an in-depth context for "All Eyes on Art" include "Outside the Citadel, Social Practice Art Is Intended to Nurture" (NYT/March 20,1013) and "The Social Function of Art" by Sara Reisman (Director of New York City’s Percent for Art Program) and by Saul Ostrow (Art Editor-At-Large for Bomb magazine), published June 27, 2013 by artsinachangingamerica.net. "Animating Democracy," a program of the American Federation of the Arts, has given the "All Eyes On Art" project, the designation, "What We're Watching."
21st Century Skills for living in the world are emphasized in Carolyn Speranza's artist in education and in the community projects. These are the skills of citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility. In particular, Speranza is focusing on project participants' relationship to the environment as individuals, and on community/neighborhood, city/regional, and global levels. Tools that are learned and used in these projects are a combination of digital, information/communications technologies; and the more physical and sensory tools of art-making. Building a profile of participants' immediate group, neighborhood, and district through maps, interviews, and questionnaires develops information literacy. Emphasized ways of working in a group or as a team include frequent and open communication, and development of leadership skills that include an expanded sense of personal responsibility. As each project is particular to the environmental issues being dealt with, on-the-spot creative and critical thinking as well as problem-solving will be called for.
Speranza's projects demonstrate her commitment to interdisciplinary, collective, and community-based art processes. In addition to "All Eyes on Art," "Too Shallow for Diving: the 21st Century is Treading Water," "Sight of Stillness: What do you see when you meditate?" and "End of the Line: Building Bridges with Pittsburgh's Busways" are good examples. With "All Eyes on Art," Speranza worked with both students from CAPA High School, and with community members from the Hill District. As a career specialist for AIU3 in the Mon Valley, Speranza worked with Clairton High School students, mapping job shadows to their senior projects and career plans. Speranza has taught digital media classes at many of Pittsburgh's regional colleges and universities. She was one of the three founding teachers at the Warhol museum who designed and implemented the museum's first programs for middle and high school students.