Meet the 2022 Tough Artists and see the work they created during their residency, now on display

Guarav Petakar


Walk up to this installation in the Museum’s Art Studio where you can dispense (and later plant) native wildflower seeds to improve the environment.

As you place an envelope under a dispenser, kinetic flowers bloom up above.

Gaurav is a Boston-based Indian artist makes kinetic sculptures and interactive installations. He works with climate data to create sculptures about the ecological crisis. He has a graduate degree in media art from MIT Media Lab and has studied engineering and design in India. Gaurav’s experience in engineering and design plays an important part in his work, which often has many technological elements.

Learn more about Guarav:


Instagram: @patekargaurav

Max Spitzer

The Bagel

Located in the Garage

Experiment and explore how objects move across a handmade table, animated by pressurized air that blows out from thousands of tiny holes on the surface.  Why do some objects glide and others sink?

Max is a sculptor and educator based out of Pittsburgh, PA, where he teaches at The Environmental Charter School. He received his BFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, he taught kindergarten through ninth grade art at Berkshire Country Day School in Stockbridge, MA, and worked as the Education Program Manager at Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY.  Max’s work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and classrooms throughout the country. He has also participated in fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center, Massachusetts Museum for Contemporary Art and the School of the Alternative in Black Mountain, NC. Max is fascinated by the relationships between art objects and language. He wants to hear about your experiences in crit. He will talk about art with anyone, for as long as they want.

Learn more about Max:

Instagram: @maxspitzer_

Sarah Bowling

Slime Time

Located across from the Kindness Gallery

Turn the crank and watch Day-Glo slime as it travels through a course in this Archimedes screw style design. Slime drips back down so you can start the cycle again.

Sarah is a sculptor and painter from Denver, CO, who currently works and lives in Pittsburgh, PA. She is pursuing an MFA at Carnegie Mellon University and was awarded the Lea Simonds Fellowship. Sarah received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016, and her work has been exhibited nationally including at LVL3 (Chicago, IL), RULE (Marfa, TX & Denver, CO), and Aggregate Space (Oakland, CA). Sarah has participated in numerous residencies including ACRE (Steuben, WI) and a two-year residency at RedLine Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO).

Learn more about Sarah:

Instagram: @ _sarahbowling_

past tough art

See the previous year’s Tough Artists at pittsburghkids.org/exhibit/tough-art

tough art residency

The Tough Art summer residency is offered every year.

Learn more here.