South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Academy of the South Side relocates to new home in Veronica's Veil


March 30, 2010

Emerging from the wreckage of the Brew House's troubles, The Academy of the South Side is gearing up for a busy Spring Term of painting and drawing classes in their new studio in Veronica's Veil on Pius Street on the South Side Slopes beginning April 10, with its second regular fund raising party entitled "Communion" occurring a week later on April 17. 

With a new instructor in Pat Lee, The Academy will offer several new classes, a new and enhanced website, and improved marketing efforts thanks to the help of a local marketing consultant.

After being hastily evacuated from their longtime home in the Brew House building in September, The Academy of the South Side quickly found a new studio in the historic St. Michael's girls' school building, home to the Veronica's Veil Players theater group, with the help of the South Side Local Development Company.

Further complicating the transition was this winter's record snowfall, but The Academy kept moving and held their previously scheduled class terms. With the Winter Term wrapping up and the arrival of spring, The Academy is holding its most comprehensive class term yet, with several additions. ##M:(Academy of the South Side)

Mr. Lee joins the cast as an instructor in a new "Figure Drawing" class, providing a level of drawing expertise formerly lacking from The Academy's curriculum.

"I have been painting and drawing at The Academy's various studios on and off for several years, and was always attracted to their environment and approach because they take the craft seriously," said Mr. Lee. "My goal is to bring a fresh approach to the subject of figure drawing, and really focus students on building a strong foundation for representational art."

In addition to the new instructor, The Academy will be introducing three other new courses in "Outside South Side," "Advanced Portrait Painting" and "The Transition from Drawing to Painting." Combined with returning courses "Portrait Painting" and "Intro to Oil," the Spring Term will provide for a comprehensive array of art instruction for students of any skill level.

"Outside South Side" will be a traveling class that will visit a different scenic or historic location around Pittsburgh every week, from drawing master copies at the Carnegie Museum of Art to plein air painting at the Allegheny Cemetery.

"Advanced Portrait Painting" will build upon the "Portrait Painting" class themes by offering multi-week poses, a more in-depth focus on the details of what makes a successful portrait, and the opportunity to take part in a big end-of-term exhibition.

Lastly, "The Transition from Drawing to Painting" will help students make the jump from pencils and charcoal to brushes and turpentine with confidence.

"I'm particularly excited to do the ‘Outside South Side' class," said Academy instructor Shervin Iranshahr. "Most artists don't get out in the field very much, and this is an opportunity to enjoy some of Pittsburgh's uniquely beautiful locations and cultural amenities in a new way."

In conjunction with the Spring Term, The Academy is also unveiling their new website at, designed in consultation with a marketing professional to enhance the art school's web presence. More attention is being paid to social networking sites and blogs, as well as the possibilities brought about by search engine optimization, the process by which a site can be found more easily through internet searches.

Mr. Lee's wife, Krista, works as a local marketing consultant, and has volunteered her efforts to help The Academy reach a wider audience.

"I was very impressed with what The Academy had to offer," Mrs. Lee says, "but there was a disconnect in getting their message to the right audience. Their philosophy seemed to be ‘if you build it, they will come,' whereas I am helping them to realize that it's more like ‘if they can find you on Google, they will come.'"

After a bitter winter and the growing pains of moving into a new studio, The Academy of the South Side is ready for the future. The public is welcome to check out the studio and enjoy live music, food and drink, and instructor paintings at the second "Communion" fund raising party, slated for Saturday, April 17. 

Classes are open to students of all skill levels, and registration is ongoing until the term starts. Information about all Academy activities can be found at

The Academy of the South Side is a community resource dedicated to realist oil painting and drawing. Founded in 2005, The Academy offers classes, open model sessions, and exhibition opportunities for local artists.


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