PITA - the history

Aesthetic denotes a mode of response inherent in human life which operates through the senses and the feelings and constitutes a form of intelligence comparable to, though different from, other forms of intelligence, such as the mode of logical deduction. (Peter Abbs, 1989:4)

PITA – Parents In The Arts
gatherings and forums

Artist and child sharing an aesthetic world.
Our children remind us of what it is to truly exist in a sensory world.
They inform our work and we affirm their play and discovery and in turn we validate their way of being and they ours.

PITA began in 2008 when my son was about 6 months old.  A number of my contemporaries in the Arts also had young babies.  We all felt a great need to reconnect with our artistic identity, in whatever form that took.  Within a month we had over 20 artists and arts workers gathering with our babies on a fortnightly and then monthly basis at ArtPlay in Melbourne.  For most of us it was a chance to engage with other creative parents about the very new, very intense, incredibly inspiring and almost completely consuming world of parenthood… and how all this impacted on our artistic selves.

In 2010 my little family relocated to regional Victoria.  We now live in a tiny gold town called Clunes.  In July 2010 I established PITA Hepburn as a sister to Melbourne PITA.  In partnership with the Neighbourhood House Network PITA Hepburn gathered across the Shire in Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford and Trentham.

Currently there are no formal PITA gatherings.  The original PITA members have moved into the next stage of life with little children, (at the time of writing most of our PITA babies are now around four years old.)  Many of the PITA Hepburn members still gather at the playscape that grew out of our PITA network.  My focus for the moment has been on developing pita-pata an off-shoot of PITA which extends to the wider community.

Plans are afoot for future PITA gatherings in both the Hepburn shire and Melbourne.  Stay tuned and let me know if you're interested, I'll keep you posted.

read on...

PITA is designed primarily as a creative space for artists and their very young children to gather, connect and play.  A space that is inspiring for us and for our children and a place that allows time and room for creative exchange with our young children AND space for some good conversation!

As artists we don’t stop working when we have children.  We are still observing, still listening, still thinking, challenging, questioning and here before us, our babies provide a whole new palette, which may or may not directly be part of our practice but our lives are inevitably part of the process.

In the early PITA gatherings we discussed the lack of sensitive creative experiences we could share with our babies publicly.  While some beautiful things happen at home and incidentally out and about, it’s also nice to go out into the world and connect with other people. We decided that we should do something ourselves.  And of course there was a room full of diverse and talented individuals!  

PITA parents have expertise in theatre directing, dance, music, puppetry, sound, design, stage management, production management and arts management and come from some of Melbourne’s leading arts organisations including Circus Oz, Polyglot Theatre, Peepshow Inc., National Gallery of Victoria, Arts Victoria and Strange Fruit.

In the process of putting together a funding application with a steering committee of 4 and a core group of 8 artists, (quite a line up I might add!), we discussed many inspiring, rich and dynamic ideas about parents and very young children exploring our aesthetic world together.  The application was unsuccessful but the ideas and concepts have continued to bubble and evolve.

The questions that continue to interest me are:

What are the things that we, as artists, do with our children?
What are the little moments of creative exchange where we wonder together at the world around us?
What happens when we tune into our young children and the world we inhabit together?

As artists we do this all the time anyway, it’s what we do.  Stop and see a shadow or hear a conversation.  

What things do we tune into that are perhaps considered daydreaming and are in fact very child like?

and finally...

How do our very young children inform our work?