We are pleased to reinstate the summer in-person Tough Art Residency Program for its 14th installment after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

2022 Artists

head shot of artist Guarav Patekar, male of Indian descent with beard in blue shirt


Candid photo of artist Max Spitzer, white male with beard and glasses in collared shirt, in room crowded with art supplies











professional photo of artist Sarah Bowling, white woman in overalls and tank top


Gaurav Patekar

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 Gaurav:

Instagram: @patekargaurav


Max Spitzer

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

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_



residency goals


  • Produce artwork that is tough enough to withstand public interaction, especially that of children

  • Work collaboratively with Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh staff to create and develop an engaging work of art to be exhibited in the museum

  • Give artists a platform to display their work and reach a potentially new audience, which in turn, provides new avenues of art exploration for the museum


The residency program invites artists to be in residence June through mid-September. During this time, they work in the museum to develop and create new works to be exhibited in the Fall and Winter.

Artists may apply as individuals or as a team. Three artists/teams will be chosen to participate.

Each residency artist/team receives an honorarium and materials budget.

*Transportation to and from Pittsburgh, along with housing, may be allotted for out-of-town artists.




Artists with demonstrated capabilities in their medium will be considered for the residency. The program is intended to support emerging artists and give opportunities for established artists to the share their work with a wider audience.

Emerging artists with demonstrated capabilities for creating interactive, immersive, sculptural or media-based projects are encouraged to apply.

Artists from any location (local, national, international) are eligible.

You must be 18 years or older to apply.

Health & Safety

Our commitment to health and safety for the residency includes the requirement that all artists-in-residence be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus, unless an exemption has been granted.  Artists must be in compliance with our Mandatory Vaccination Policy for the COVID-19 virus.


We accept Tough Art Application during the Spring of each year.  Applications typically require:

  • Letter of Application (1 page limit)
  • Résumé/CV (2 page limit)
  • Short biography (150 words or less)
  • Artwork Portfolio (please choose ONE of the following options):
  1. A maximum of 10 images
  2. Video, sound and/or animation; a maximum of five minutes of material will be reviewed
  3. Combination of up to 5 images and up to 2 minutes of video, sound and/or animation

More Info & Questions

For additional information on the Tough Art residency, including information on benefits, expectations, ownership and the application process, please see the PDF below.

Send any questions about the Tough Art residency to [email protected]