AP Art History Admires Altoona Art and Architecture
AP Art History students accompanied their teacher Ms.Julie Piotti on a tour of the gallery and local art restoration highlights of artist John Rita.
Figurative painter, John Rita of Albert Michaels Conservation in Altoona, Pennsylvania, met with the Grier group and kindly guided them through the enormous art conservation facility. Here, students saw restored works of art as well as restorations in progress, a woodshop, a laboratory, and an art studio. Rita, who received specialized training in art conservation and studied abroad in Europe for years, is known for his high-quality art and restoration work. He has restored murals and frescoes in institutions including the Mishler Theater in Altoona, the Lincoln Fresco in the Lobby of Old Main on Penn State’s University Park Campus, and even the State Capital Building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is also a marble sculptor and the students were astonished to see him bringing a chunk of marble to life like the famous Michelangelo!
Ms. Piotti said the girls were surprised at the enormous size of the Albert Michaels space, especially the Egyptian Room which can be rented for special events. The students had expected a small gallery with a few paintings punctuating plain white walls, but this was not at all the case. It was a delight to see working artists and their work displayed in highly public locations like the Mishler Theater and the Church in the Middle of the Block. Ms. Piotti has brought students to meet John Rita in the past and is so grateful to him for his hospitality and for sharing some of his expert knowledge with the Grier students.