Registration begins Now!!
Registration begins Now!!
Friday, March 17th - Saturday, July 29th
12:00 AM

Join us for summer camp. Check out our full schedule and listings! Please look at the under the heading “Summer Camp Data Base”  Also check out our new online camp store! We have registration & scholarships forms here! We will be adding lots of fun stuff. Keep a look out!

Happy Campers Quotes from Summer of 2016!

“IF is a beautiful place where children bond and learn over amazing art projects!”-camper parent

“Extraordinary creativity and lovely instructors” – Jamie Miller, camper parent

“Super awesome!!!” – Charles, camper, age 7

“I appreciate the friendly staff, fun activities and convenient “pick-up & drop-off” times.

“The children really enjoyed themselves and made new friends, as well as re-connecting with old. We look forward to the Dance, Acro and Art classes the most. Irma Freeman IS a Center for Imagination!” -camper parent

“There are so many beautiful reason to be Happy, and I love the way The Irma Freeman Center has helped Dominique express herself in a more loving and positive manner through the arts and dance. I do not have the words to express my gratitude and appreciation I have for everyone that has brought this wonderful center to our neighborhood. Thank you all so very much. –Dhana Jetter, camper parent

“My daughter refused to attend any other camp. We love that she can show her artistic side!” Ramuka Chambers-Ray, camper parent

“It’s a fun summer camp and you meet new friends everyday!” Hannah, camper, age 9

summer camp slide

Three Rivers Clinic
Three Rivers Clinic
Wednesday, May 3rd - Wednesday, December 6th
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

We are excited to announce the dates that we will be hosting the Three Rivers Clinic for the rest of 2017!

The first Wednesday of each of the following months:

May 3 – 12-6m
July 5 – 12-6pm
November 1 – 12-6pm
December 6 – 12-6pm


Three Rivers Free Clinic for the People is a community based service reaching out to individuals who are unable to afford or who do not have easy access to holistic healthcare. This clinic is open to all who want to receive offerings from holistic practitioners.


Imaginarium- Closing
Imaginarium- Closing
Friday, May 5th
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Imaginarium is a group show assembled by local musician and longtime Pittsburgh Filmmakers employee Mike Bonello. All of the artists joining him in this exhibition are former co-workers, over ten photographers and filmmakers. The April 7 opening event will feature film and video projections accompanying Tricky Powers dance party sets and live music from Terry & the Cops, and The 2nd Ladeez.

Photography by Sue Abramson, Aaron Blum, Andrew Jason Coleman, Julie Gonzalez, Athena Frances Harden and Dan Wetmore.

Film & video by Mike Bonello, Andrew Jason Coleman, Ross Nugent, Christopher Smalley, Meagan Koleck and Matthew R. Day.

Mike Bonello

Still from Something in the water supply

 Mike Bonello

Mike Bonello is a musician and experimental filmmaker living in Pittsburgh. He has been playing original music in Pittsburgh bands since 1991, and founded Rickety Records in 1994. His exhibitions are typically either multi-projector film loop performances accompanying live music,  installations, or immersive/interactive dance-party environments. He has been working on an on-going series of experiments involving triple-exposing color film while pointing the camera at various states of water, or dancers, or piles of glitter. He’s playing bass guitar in Terry & the Cops and Mantle Plumes, and acoustic music around the house.

Sue Abramson

Dream Trees

Sue Abramson

Sue Abramson is a fine art photographer working in Pittsburgh. Most of her imagery uses alternative photographic methods—photograms, cyanotype, pinhole, and scanning—in connection with the environmental landscape. Abramson’s photography focuses on the organic and fragmented composition of nature while simultaneously exploring the process of grief and grieving. She is an Adjunct Associate professor of photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, where she has taught photographic methods for 30 years.

Aaron Blum


bluebell1 001


Aaron Blum is an eighth generation West Virginian, and creates art deeply linked to his home. Most of his work centers around a single question, what does it mean to be Appalachian? Through this question he address many different artistic concepts, from idealized memory vs. stereotypes to ideas of folk taxonomy. His creation process is a diversified approach of image-based media to create a glimpse into his own concepts of Appalachia, and the social fabric of a very large and misrepresented people and place. He pays close attention to the quality of light and the landscape as well as cultural markers to produce a unique version of life in the hills. After graduating with degrees in photography from West Virginia University and Syracuse University, Aaron immediately began receiving recognition for his work including Center of Santa Fe, Silvereye Center for photography, Critical Mass, and FOAM.

Andrew Jason Coleman

Fife & Jones

Andrew Jason Coleman


Andrew Coleman is a photographer first and a camera repair technician second. Daily disassembly of cameras and a fascination with the optics of photography has created opportunities to modify both the lens and camera to better suit the needs of his subject. The results also serve to reflect his own fractured perceptions and a yearning for an unexpected visual authenticity. Exploiting the imperfections and peculiarities of both antique and custom lens design, his work has been described as “dreamlike”, “memorial”, and “blurry”. He lives and works in Pittsburgh, hoping one day to make a satisfactory image.

Julie Gonzalez

Julie Gonzalez


Julie Gonzalez was born in Cordoba, Argentina and raised in Baltimore, Md. She spent more than a decade on the move before putting down roots in Pittsburgh about 12 years ago. The mother of 2 young girls, photography is a luxury at this point in her life; Not something to immerse herself in, but something to daydream about. When given the chance she shoots black and white film, prints in a darkroom, and has a penchant for pinhole. Her current projects involve anything she can complete in short bursts on a shoestring budget.

Athena Frances Harden


Athena Frances Harden


Athena Frances Harden was born July 1989 in the countryside of SW Pennsylvania. She earned a BFA from Point Park University in 2013. Using an array of mediums including photography, video and collage to create a deeply personal presentation of how she feels the world around her. Evoking strong emotions with her earthy, delicate, and intimate style she is able to bring awareness to simple detail with a sense of passionate energy.  Harden currently resides in the city where she mixes ink, studies bodywork and is continually learning how to balance the heart/mind.

Dan Wetmore

Buffalo Man

Dan Wetmore


Dan Wetmore is a Pittsburgh based artist/photographer. His work deals primarily with post industrial landscape via a false-documentary, aesthetics oriented approach that encourages nostalgia and romanticism. Dan received his BFA  from Syracuse University in 2013, was a 2014 Light Work grant winner and has been featured in a variety of online and print based publications. He has long brown hair and drives and maintains a small fleet of Volvo station wagons.

Ross Nugent

Still from Tear It Up, Son!

Ross Nugent


Christopher Smalley

Christopher Smalley


Christopher Smalley is an independent filmmaker who grew up in West Virginia, and has been living and working in the Pittsburgh area since 2002.  Since then he has consistently been creating film and video work, both experimental and narrative.

Matthew R. Day

Still from Mantis

Amtthew Day


Matthew R. Day is a Pittsburgh based filmmaker.  He is the host and curator of the monthly film screening series The Pittsburgh Film Kitchen and proprietor of the production company Matthew R. Day Media Productions LLC.


Meagan Koleck

Meagan Koleck utilizes digital media and virtual platforms as accessible tools for self-exploration, human connection, and sabotaging relationships that would otherwise persevere. Koleck critiques American culture’s societal expectations while celebrating otherness.

Kamratōn presents: Local Color
Kamratōn presents: Local Color
Sunday, May 7th
3:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Come out to The Irma Freeman Center on May 7th at 3:30 for “Local Color”, Kamratōn’s second annual concert celebrating Pittsburgh composers.  Kamratōn will present three world premieres by Mark Fromm, Jean-Patrick Besingrand, and Curtis Rumrill.  Come enjoy an evening of exciting contemporary chamber music, with a local twist!


New Exhibition: Overgrown in Pittsburgh
New Exhibition: Overgrown in Pittsburgh
Friday, June 2nd - Saturday, July 15th
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination is proud to announce its newest exhibition: Overgrown in Pittsburgh. This exhibition features the work of all Pittsburgh-native artists including Joan Brindle and Roshida Abira Ali, as well as examples of work by Jim Brindle and name-sake, Irma Freeman. Join us for the opening reception on Unblurred’s First Friday, June 2 to celebrate their work.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 9.41.12 PM

Statement by Roshida Abira Ali
This exhibit contains recent work by Joan Brindle and Roshida Abira Ali. Also included are examples of work by Jim Brindle and Irma Freeman, both deceased. This work stands as tribute to life long relationships and the art made. The first time I met Joan Brindle, I was nine years old. She was the art teacher at my new public school. Freelea was an Open Classroom in the Lawrenceville area of Pittsburgh. At that moment in the 1970’s, education was less about test scores and teachers had a window of time to be open-minded and experimental. Joan came up to me on the first day and invited me into her art studio area. Everything was shinny and clean. I would later discover that the walls were one-way mirrors that enclosed a secret room for visitors to observe and study us. Joan handed me markers and Manilla Oaktag paper. The anxiety of being in an unfamiliar situation faded immediately when I was given art materials. I was at the cusp of entering my lifelong identity as a visual artist.
At Freelea I was permitted to spend countless hours working on projects. I remember when Miss Brindle introduced us to Lewis Carroll. She gathered us together to read The Jaborwalky, and then asked us to illustrate it with pen and ink. I got so excited – I remember the feeling – the urge to get started – I could hardly contain myself.
Art making was my safe place. When I was nine, I was having a hard time, I was really afraid that people would find out that we were poor and that our house was messy. I was a guarded person, possibly due to the chaos surrounding me at home. But Joan’s classroom made me forget about being an outsider. I fell in love with my stylish, kind and
enthusiastic art teacher, Joan Brindle. Many of her students felt this way, including my brother and sister, who were also her students. When she retired from teaching, I reached out to many of her colleagues, associates and former students to put together a little book. Across the board, Joan was influential, loved and admired.
The first time I was invited to Joan’s magical house, we made chocolate pretzels. She had plants, antiques and art everywhere. Her life style ignited my imagination. When I was 10 she paid me and a few other students to paint a mural of heaven, hell and earth on her living room wall. I visited her art studio upstairs and saw her giant paintings of florescent jungles. Over the years she integrated fabric and embroidery. She always painted flora – like a mad scientist – she studied and rendered her vision with plants and flowers. Joan Brindle was my mentor and guide, and I was her grateful apprentice. She let me into her family and we became family, with a mutual deep connection of respect and love. Joan demonstrated by example what it is to breath art, she made art in her kitchen, in her garden, in her classroom and in her studio.
My grandmother, Irma Freeman was also very inspired by plants and flowers. My otherworldly grandmother emitted rays of passion and creativity. Her sweet, positive, childlike outlook was present in her paintings, cooking, writing and living. Despite hardships, loss, depression and difficulty, she chose light over darkness. When I went to live at Joan’s house, at age 13, I would still spend a lot of time at my grandparent’s house on Pierce Street in Pittsburgh, situated right next to the train tracks. Joan would always have me go into her garden to gather a bouquet of flowers to bring over. My grandmother would never fail to make a painting or pastel of the flowers.
Between Irma Freeman and Joan Brindle – I was inundated with the idea that art was a way of appreciating life, and that the practice of art making could keep you free. Both Joan Brindle and Irma Freeman were pivotal influences to my life choices and artistic development.
When I became a parent, I was living in Los Angeles with my husband, Gordon Henderson. I started to look for something that compared to my experience at Freelea for our daughter. I was determined to provide her with an education filled with imagination, expression, science, nature and the arts. In 2008, the economy tanked and the arts were pretty much eliminated from public schools. In 2009, I worked with a group of disenfranchised parents and founded the Wisdom Arts Laboratory project in Los Angeles. WAL has flourished as a vehicle for myself and other artists to provide a community of experimental art making and arts education. This project would never have happened, if I had not known Joan Brindle.
My paintings depict a view from Joan’s porch, a herd of sheep, a Los Angeles landscape, portraits of my grandparents, a decomposing log, and rain viewed from the dry side of the window. I first showed many of the pieces in this collection at Selected Moments in Blurred Reality at Namaste Highland Park Gallery, in January, in Los Angeles.
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 9.42.43 PM
Statement by Joan Brindle:
Abira Ali, Joan Brindle, Jim Brindle and Irma Freeman are Pittsburgh artists. All four have deep ties to the city. They are tied to family and friends and intertwined with each other in life and in memory. As artists they were drawn to the landscape of hills cut through by three rivers, to the lush vegetation, to the grayness and to the particular quality of the light.
Jim Brindle died in 1969 at of age of 29. He loved the look of the city and said that it was “the only apocalyptic city left in the world” (Pittsburgh, circa 1964). The drawings in this exhibit are all done in pen and ink. They were done for Richard Leper’s class at Carnegie Institute of Technology. Jim worked in his car parked at the various Sites in Oakland and downtown when working on these drawings.
Joan Brindle’s gouache landscapes were painted between 2014 and 2016. The locations pictured were mostly on the north bank of the Allegheny River or on the hills above. A few were done in Hazelwood along the Monongahela River. A few were of places along the banks of a creek that flowed into the Allegheny. They were painted in all four seasons.
Abira Ali was a student of my mine in the Pittsburgh Public Schools She was in 5th grade when I met her. She was an exceptionally talented child artist. We have known and supported one another in our lives and in our art making for 40 years.
Irma Freeman was Abi’s grandmother. I met her when I met Abi. She was a talented mature artist when we met. She had a tremendous freedom and spontaneity as a painter. She was a masterful colorist. I loved the paintings and the discipline and the joy of her work. We visited and talked about painting until her death in 1994.

The Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh!
The Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh!
Saturday, June 17th
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Join us at the Irma Freeman Center for The Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh!

The Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh is an intersectional feminist zine fair in its second year. Host to a wide variety of local and out-of-town feminist zine makers and their comic zines, perzines, queer history zines and more!