Tom Sarver is an interdisciplinary artist and puppeteer interested in creating accessible, interactive arts experiences for children and adults. His puppet shows, created from everyday recycled materials, have explored a broad range of topics including Greek mythology, healthy eating habits, Middle Eastern folktales and Modern art.
Sarver’s installations and events include Art Olympic Theater, a game show event featuring teams competing to build sculptures out of junk, Sarver’s Bait & Tackle, a fishing-themed installation in Downtown Pittsburgh, and the Tom Museum, an installation at the Mattress Factory that invited viewers to participate in the art making.
Known as Mr. Tom by his students, Sarver has been conducting residency projects at schools since 2008. School projects have included making a giant, walk-in Earth globe installation, creating collages of Pittsburgh places for display at Children’s Hospital and creating a flock of sculptural birds for display in a school lobby. Recently, Sarver has been involved with education and programming at the Carnegie Museum of Art. His puppetry group, Puppet Happening performed for the opening of the museum’s Playground Project, and a collection of his puppets are on display in the Carnegie International.
“I’m interested in projects that help students of all ages develop a deeper connection to their world. I generally work with teachers to establish the scope and theme of a project, but I want the students to inform the projects as much as possible. Through brainstorming, collaboration, experimentation and a spirit of play, I want to enable the students to realize their ideas and for each to experience a sense of accomplishment within the classroom community.” –Tom Sarver, Teaching Artist