By Erika Johnson
Arts Excursions Unlimited is fueled by the dedication and interests of its members and participants, ensuring cultural enrichment and engagement in the arts for the greater Hazelwood residents.
This organization, co-founded by artist Edith Abeyta and Hazelwood community members has a mission that is deeply rooted in the belief that arts and cultural experiences have the power to transform lives and communities.
Past outings have included local art galleries and museums, theater performances and hands-on workshops.
Arts Excursions Unlimited holds general community meetings on the last Monday of each month where community members come together to shape the organization’s programming, ensuring that it aligns with the interests and needs of the community. These meetings provide a platform for updates, discussions, excursions and upcoming community events. They also provide equitable job opportunities for members. Attendance at these meetings is required for members to attend excursions.
New year, faces and places in 2024
In the past, meetings were held at the Three Rivers Village School (4713 Chatsworth Ave.). But the organization will be occupying a new space in Hazelwood this year, 5125 Second Ave., known as “The Bunker.”
As exciting new plans roll out, we have wrapped up a beautiful year and holiday season by holding a festive community lunch and providing a travel opportunity for 40 Hazelwood residents to Chicago. This five-day excursion provided cultural experiences at multiple locations including the Chicago Cultural Center, Shedd Aquarium, Farm on Ogden and the Chicago Architectural Biennial.
The group welcomes its new outreach coordinator Tameeka Jones-Cuff and excursion planner Tevin Jordan-Blair with hopes to continue to be a resource for equitable job opportunities for the Hazelwood community.
Although it is cold and gray now, plans are in the works for the spring as the group continues to explore excursions in partnership with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. At the December monthly planning meeting, Kathryn Hunninen, who works with the conservancy, mentioned Hays Woods’ 660 acres of undeveloped forest, valleys and springs. She said members can participate in native tree-planting sessions and other family-friendly activities like bird walks and plant identification hikes.
In January we will continue to offer a diverse array of small excursions and events throughout the month, catering to a wide range of interests including community shopping and monthly bingo, where you can purchase groceries or enjoy a fun evening and possibly win some cash! Transportation is provided for both excursions and is available for nine people.
Arts Excursions Unlimited will also continue to offer “Art of Sound,” a workshop I facilitate with CMU intern Will Scott. These workshops explore the creative potential of sound and art, using the sciences to create interactive, touch-sensitive artwork that creates music. This is recommended for ages 11-18, but all ages are welcome. For more information on the next workshop please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that your new year has gotten off to a wonderful start. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and supporters for their continued dedication. Your generosity and enthusiasm make it possible for us to continue serving the community.
Here’s to a happy and arts-filled 2024!
Erika Johnson is the music arts director for Arts Excursions Unlimited, and a Hazelwood-based writer and artist.