How to Inspire Creativity in Your Child

written by Georgia Schumacher 22 April 2014

Creativity at a Young AgeWhile all children are naturally creative, it’s important to nurture these tendencies so they’ll strengthen and contunie as the child grows. Not only will creative experiences help children deal with the myriad of feelings they’re just beginning to express--creative parenting techniques can also help foster your children’s mental growth, encouraging them to try out new ideas, ways of thinking, and even problem solving.

Artists Raising Artists

If you have a job where your creativity is expressed daily, nurturing this aspect of your child’s personality can start with sharing your artistic space with your child or including them in your creative process, whether that involves painting, fashion design, film making or other similar actions.

If your daily activities are a bit complex or hard to share with your children, never fear! Here are some tips on how to encourage your child’s creativity:

Ask questions: When out on a walk in the park or at the grocery store, children will naturally ask questions, but you can inspire their imagination by keeping the conversation going throughout the day. The best questions are open-ended ones like “What if?”

Be ready for creativity anywhere: Be prepared by toting crayons and paper with you so you can take advantage of down time at a restaurant or while waiting at the doctor’s office. Weave creativity into common everyday experiences.

Let them take the lead sometimes: See what they’ll whip up in the kitchen for dinner (with adult supervision, of course!).

Art starts conversations: Ask questions about the art they create, but also about the art they see in museums, the movies they watch, and the outfits they choose to wear. Ask them what they think is going on in a painting, how a show might have ended differently, or what they were thinking as they drew a picture.

Set the Stage

Make sure your child has a space at home to create all types of art. This space should be filled with plenty of raw materials so they can experiment with creative endeavors that go beyond just drawing or painting. Give them a chance to dabble with music, photography, clay, wood, and anything else you can think of. This way, they can explore what medium allows them to be the most creative. The goal is for them to express themselves, and this can manifest itself in any number of ways. Maybe you can paint one of the walls with chalkboard paint so she can create and recreate all in one afternoon. Or, put up squares of cork on a large section of a wall so he will have gallery space to hang his newest creations.

The Value of Creativity

As Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day approaches, many of us start thinking about the future careers our children may pursue. Remember, creativity is important across all careers and all aspects of life. Arranging opportunities now for your child to experience creative activities will help celebrate their uniqueness, offer wonderful opportunities for you to connect with your child, and prepare them for a future of creative thinking and problem solving.

Take Command of Your Financial Future

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 April 2014

iGrad logoAt The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we understand that attending art school is a significant investment in your future. That’s why we’re so excited to introduce iGrad, your personalized site for important financial literacy information, available anytime you need it!

In just 30 seconds, you can create a profile and start seeing content customized to fit your needs. Utilize iGrad's full library of resources including short video presentations, webinars, educational games, calculators, a job and internship search tool, and current, relevant articles on a wide array of financial topics.

Using these resources, you can learn valuable tips and lessons for understanding financial aid and managing your finances wisely as you work your way toward completing your art school program. Some of the topics covered include:

• Financial aid processes and awards
• Paying for college
• Time management
• Credit management
• Preparing for life after college
• Personal finance tips for students

You can access these resources at any time, and be sure to stop by regularly for new information as it becomes available. Check out iGrad today!

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Divison is not responsible for the content or accuracy of any web site linked to this site. The links are provided for your information and convenience only. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division does not endorse, support or sponsor the content of any linked Web sites. If you access or use any third party Web sites linked to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Divion Web site, you do so at your own risk. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division makes no representation or warranty that any other Web site is free from viruses, worms or other software that may have a destructive nature.

Going Green with Sustainable Building & Interior Design Practices

written by Georgia Schumacher 16 April 2014

Green Building and Design PracticesSustainable design is in. It’s being practiced throughout residential and commercial building design. It’s being talked about at interior design schools across the country. So what’s all the buzz about?

What's Important in Sustainable Design

The goal of sustainable design is to mitigate negative impact on the environment of residential and commercial development—and to reduce the effects of such development on those who will live and work there. In fact, current regulations require new federal facilities to be constructed following rigorous environmental design standards. It is likely that more regulations governing the construction and interior design of residential and commercial structures will emerge as the need for a truly sustainable future becomes ever more urgent.

Several aspects of environmental design must be considered when executing sustainable design projects, including:

• Alternative energy components
• Natural, functional landscaping and gardening
• Passive solar heating
• Residential resources and materials
• Environmentally compatible building practices
• Responsible waste management

Existing Pilot Programs & Sustainable Materials

New York City recently initiated a pilot program where municipal organic waste from city restaurants and residents will be collected and converted in to methane gas which will be used, in turn, to provide power to Manhattan facilities—thus offsetting reliance on carbon-based fuels. City officials involved with this project, such as Ron Gonen, NYC’s deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability (1), foresee many important advantages:

• Reduction of odors from organic materials at waste management facilities
• Reduction in the population of potentially disease-carrying vermin
• A 20% reduction in landfill waste
• A savings of $100 million in taxpayer money per year

As this and similar programs (like one already underway in San Francisco) take root, those involved with residential design, interior design, environmental design, etc. can expect demand for creative, innovative ways of reconfiguring existing structures or executing entirely new developments. This will likely involve the use of sustainable building materials, including some of the items listed below (2):

Wool Bricks—Developed in Spain and Scotland, these innovative bricks are non toxic, sustainable, and locally sourceable. They are even as much as 37% stronger than standard bricks.

Solar Tiles—These roofing tiles are entirely integrated with the building structure thus enabling them to provide protection from the elements while also providing solar electricity to serve the electricity needs of the building occupants.

Paper Insulation—This sustainable design material boasts fire-retardant and insect resistant characteristics. The components are simply recycled paper and cardboard and chemicals such as boric acid, borax, and calcium carbonate to provide safety from fire. These chemicals are not associated in any way with deleterious health issues.

Continuing the Conversation

Interior design school students or professionals with relevant roles in this area may wish to incorporate their expertise in various Earth Day celebrations held in municipalities across the U.S. Such events provide valuable opportunities for those who live in affected communities to learn about what sustainable design elements are available to them. These conversations can also provide designers with insight into current market trends and conditions that will impact their projects moving forward.

Interested in building your knowledge and skills in interior design? Schools such as The Art Institute offer online and ground campus programs that can prepare you for careers in interior design and more.

Read More

(1) Composting On The Way Up In New York City High-Rises
(2) 5 Sustainable Building Materials that Could Transform Construction

5 Ways the Online Library Can Help You Succeed

written by Editor Georgia Schumacher 14 April 2014

Library Book

Written By Guest Blogger
Audra Deemer, Manager of Library Services

1. Find reputable and scholarly resources. Though you and your your art school colleagues can quickly find many resources on the web by using popular search engines like Google, you will often find an overwhelming number of results with no easy way to narrow them down. Most information on the web is not evaluated for accuracy and some sites may even ask you to pay to view the content. The library databases have done the hard part of the research process for you. Only credible sources from trusted publishers are included in the library databases and most are available in full text—all at no charge to you!

2. Receive help from librarians 7 days a week. You can get in contact with the librarians through email, phone, and the Ask Us service. You’ll find the Ask Us tab on the Online Library homepage. Use this service to find answers to frequently asked questions even during the hours librarians are not available. You can also submit your question to be answered by email. We have extended hours to help meet your research needs.

Sunday: 12 PM-2 AM ET
Monday-Thursday: 8 AM-2 AM ET
Friday: 8 AM-11 PM ET
Saturday: 10 AM-11 PM ET

3. Attend live online workshops and set up research consultations. Webinars are held monthly and include information on how to use specific databases, tours of the online library, and research-related topics specific to art school students. If you can’t attend, you can watch the recordings on your own time by going to the Help & Tutorials page of the Online Library. If you need one-on-one time with a librarian, you can find and sign up for open research consultations on the calendar found on the Online Library homepage. You can also contact the librarians directly by email or phone to set up an appointment that fits your schedule. We even use a web conferencing tool to share our screens so you can better see how to use the resources.

4. Access more than just articles and eBooks. Though we have thousands of articles from journals, magazines and newspapers and full text eBooks on a vast number of subjects covered in art schools like ours, we also have resources for software tutorials, career information, videos, fashion reports and trends, company and industry reports, data and specs on materials, and market research! Find databases like Digital Tutors, Stylesight, Learning Express Library, Material ConneXion, and much more on the Industry Info page of the Online Library.

5. Get Modern Language Association (MLA) formatted references. Many library databases provide a citation tool that generates the MLA reference for you. Look for a Cite tool when accessing the databases. Be sure to verify the accuracy of the reference with your MLA guide. If you need help, contact the library!

Contact our Online Librarians at and 888-318-3440.

5 Things Store Owners & Entrepreneurial Fashion Designers Should Know about Visual Merchandising

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 April 2014


You pored over the clothing and accessory inventory selection for your store, but it's not flying off the shelves like you expected. Visual merchandising is the art and science of displaying your products, from the window displays that get people into your store to the floor plan that keeps them moving around.

Your potential customers quickly form their first impressions of your store primarily based on the visual input they receive. Effective visual merchandising is just as important to your store's success as the inventory itself. Here are a few visual merchandising tips to help your fashion design sensibilities get a business minded focus.

1. Start with a store-wide view

You want a cohesive theme among all of your store displays, so starting with an overall view of your retail floor space helps bring together. In addition, starting with the floor plan allows you to avoid creating displays that are too big for the available space or detract from the store atmosphere.

2. Show an accurate representation

In fashion design, you want your clothes to look as good as they possibly can when the model wears them on the cat walk. The same concept carries over to your store. Select displays that help your customers visualize what the clothes look like on them before they head to the dressing room.

3. Consider ease of access

Balance your floor plan between getting as much merchandise as possible on the floor and making it easy to access everything. You don't want any clothing to be difficult to see or reach, as this drives the customers away from a purchase. When you overload your store with merchandise, you run the risk of your displays being too busy and pulling the customer's attention in too many different directions, resulting in an overwhelming amount of choices.

4. Make sure your store windows impress

Your window displays are the first impression the customer has of you. You want a range of products that shows off exactly what you have to offer. You're not simply putting your best-selling clothes on mannequins and calling it good. You want to tell a story and show the style and theme of your store.

5. Optimize lighting

Your lighting sets the mood and atmosphere of the store. The overall lighting level should be bright enough to clearly see the products, pricing, signs, floor path and other aspects of your store. Use spotlights and track lights to add emphasis to specific products and product displays. Good lighting does more than simply illuminate. It plays off of the texture and features of your clothing, bringing out their best attributes for the customers' eyes.

Interested in a career in fashion design or retail management? Explore our programs today!

Read More

- Silent Selling: Visual Merchandising for Small Retailers
- Visual Merchandising: Back to the Basics with Best Practices 
- The Effect of Visual Merchandising on Fashion Stores