Western Pennsylvania Wolf Trap

teacher with hands spread out, sitting on ground in front of a group of toddlers

Early Learning Through the Arts Program

Request a Wolf Trap Residency for your Early Childhood Classroom!

The Trust’s Western Pennsylvania Wolf Trap program, including Baby ArtsplayTM, provides innovative arts-in-education experiences for children ages birth - 6, their teachers and families. The objective is to encourage early childhood practitioners to integrate performing arts teaching techniques into their curriculum to support their children's learning. Drama, music and movement experiences not only support physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development, but they create active, joyful, child-centered learning environments.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is proud to be one of 25 regional affiliates of the internationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and the only site in Pennsylvania. Western Pennsylvania Wolf Trap includes professional development workshops for early childhood educators and seven-week classroom residencies.

Western Pennsylvania Wolf Trap program offers include:

  • Classroom Residencies — Participating teachers partner with the teaching artists in the classroom to develop, refine and assess experiences designed to foster children’s cognitive, socio-emotional, physical and creative development, drawing on the artist’s performing arts specialty and on the educators’ early childhood knowledge and experience. Sites located within Allegheny County and no farther than 25 miles from downtown Pittsburgh may choose a seven-week/14-day residency. One-week/five-day residencies are available for more distant locations.
  • Supplementary Wolf Trap Classroom Materials — Each participating classroom receives access to Wolf Trap Intitute Early Learning Through the Arts resources and an additional gift (picture book, musical instrument, etc.) Each child receives a “Take-home” booklet, which recaps the residency activities and provides prompts for arts interaction at home.

STEAM in the Early Childhood Classroom

With support from a 4-year research study showing positive results on students' math achievement from the Wolf Trap arts-integrated model, the Trust’s Wolf Trap STEAM residencies teach strategies on how to support your children's STEM learning through the arts! Learn more about the benefits of arts-integration through the Wolf Trap Program.

To receive information on how to enliven learning in your early childhood classroom with a Wolf Trap residency, please contact Julissa Bermea, Manager of Early Childhood Programs at 412-456-2695 or by e-mail.



Western PA Wolf Trap Teaching Artists

Betty Dell

Betty Dell

Betty Dell is a performer and Wolf Trap Teaching Artist specializing in Drama, Puppetry, and Storytelling. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from Point Park College/University, and has performed locally including at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, The Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, The Pittsburgh Playhouse, Taarifa Theater, and Gemini Children’s Theater. A Storyteller in the Western PA area for over 30 years, Betty and her puppets have performed at local schools, preschools, child care centers, churches, Family Support Centers, The Beginning with Books Storywalk and Storymobile, the Allegheny County Preschool Route Bookmobile, fairs, festivals, and libraries. Her interest in using the arts to further children’s social/emotional growth and emergent literacy led her to study child development, culminating in a M.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Applied Developmental Psychology.

Celeta Hickman

Celeta Hickman

Celeta Hickman is a dancer, masquerade, bead artist, and student of Africana Studies with an interest in the West African Art of leadership, functional art, and art societies. Celeta danced professionally with Nego Gato Capoeira Angola, Shades of Black Movement and Legacy Arts Project and is nationally recognized Wolf Trap Program for Early Learning Through the Arts teaching artist. She teaches children throughout southwestern Pennsylvania Africana and Afro-Caribbean history, art and dance traditions. Ms. Hickman is the lead arts educator for the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. She is an accessories and masquerade designer with a popular stationery line called New Village Daughter Papers. Celeta has proudly served as the Afro-Caribbean dance instructor at the Hill Dance Academy twelve years. In 2015 she was one of the local dancers selected to perform with Ronald K. Brown/ Evidence, A Dance Company in their critically acclaimed production “On Earth Together”.

Joanna Abel

Joanna Abel

Interdisciplinary Artist Joanna Abel is a dancer, drummer, and visual artist. She has been a teaching artist for 11 years with several organizations including Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Gateway to the Arts, and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Arts Education Center. Joanna uses movement, music, and visual art to create exciting and engaging learning experiences with Pre-K, K-12, and adult classes. She travels nationally teaching and performing dance and teaches weekly classes in her dance studio in Carnegie.

Margaret Hooton

Margaret Hooton

Early Childhood Music Specialist Margaret Hooton has been singing and dancing with children and those who love them for more than 40 years. At Duquesne University’s school of education, she taught courses on integrating the arts into the curriculum. As a continuing education trainer for teachers, Margaret has presented workshops at national and regional conferences.

Taylor Couch

Taylor Couch

Taylor Couch is a performer, Teaching Artist, and Pittsburgh native who believes in the power of artful education and play-based learning. With a BA in Developmental Studies (specializing in Early Childhood Education and Literacy Acquisition) and a Masters in Drama and Performance Studies, Taylor's methods have a foundation in best practices from both the arts and education. Some of Taylor's favorite topics to address in programming are trauma-informed education and developmentally appropriate coping skills, body awareness, large and fine motor skills scaffolding, and creating safe opportunities for free expression.

Liza Barley

Liza Barley - Headshot 2019

Liza Barley is a musician, sound artist, and composer whose work is centered around collective creation, installation, and performance. She is an educationalist who believes in using the arts to bring people together from all walks of life, to challenge each other to think creatively and make collectively in all types of contexts. She has lived and worked all over the world, primarily in Tanzania, London (UK), Portugal, and the United States. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Karen Merritt

Karen Merritt - Headshot 2023

Karen Merritt is a teaching artist, actress, and audiobook narrator whose artistic discipline is theater. She teaches children to create characters using their bodies, voices, and imaginations. Karen has taught at Pittsburgh Public Theater, Gateway to the Arts, Heinz History Center, Saltworks Theatre Company, Pittsburgh Project, and The Hazelwood Library. Karen holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Penn State University, an M.F.A. in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University and The Moscow Art Theatre School (a joint program) and has received training through Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.

David Minniefield

David Minniefield - Headshot 2022

David Minniefield has been acting, directing, and teaching for over twenty years. He has been a teaching artist with the Trust since 2019, starting with the Disney Musicals in School program. His humor and thorough knowledge of the Arts makes him top of the line when it comes to teaching 1st through 12th graders in the realm of theatre. David enjoys instilling a love of theater and performing to children of all ages.

Katalina Salcedo

Katalina Saucedo - Headshot 2022

Katalina has been with the Trust Arts team since January 2022, working as a dance teaching artist. Her career as an artist expands over 3 decades. She began her career as a professional ballerina and since then she has devoted her gifts towards teaching, training, and choreographing. Her passion is to pass on her wealth of knowledge and experience to the next generation. Katalina's body of work is founded on establishing a solid foundation in ballet and instilling a love for dance.

Diarra Imani

Diarra Imani

Diarra Imani is an Emmy-nominated spoken word artist, awarded educator, and transformative breath coach for creative executives. Her career began in 2018 with The Youniversity, a creative wellness consultancy that developed from academics and research into holistic wellness and now envelops the full spectrum of her creative modalities as tools to attain wellness. Diarra Imani has led nearly 1,000 students and over 500 educators, community members and families through programs like The Dropout Kidz, CurioCity Workshops, and The Basquiat Project: Where Have All the Wildflowers Gone? Her curricula emboldens artists, connects the outcasted learners and inner-city youth, corporate professionals and creative professionals alike. Diarra Imani utilizes breath as a tool to deepen self-love practices in a practical and strategic manner with one goal in mind: to help her intergenerational listeners to find and create harmony within their manifested lives.

As a yogi, educator and professional creative, she has traveled the globe to facilitate workshops centering healing, holistic plant medicines and facilitate untraditional dialogue as anti-racist tools for community building and is certified as a Resonate Raja Yogi through YogaRoots on Location, Pittsburgh’s first and only anti-racist raja yoga 200HR training founded by a Black woman. Diarra Imani attended Hampton University in Virginia for a short term and transferred home to later graduate from Chatham University with a self-authored major: Women’s Entrepreneurship & Institutional Culture. Find out more about her outcomes and studies, practices, and expertise at her website www.DiarraImani.com a hub centered around human development, energy and healing work, as well as community bridging through the arts.

Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts is a program of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.