My Favorite Thing To Do With Kids chats with Pittsburgh moms and dads about how they enjoy spending time with their kids.
Name: Tracy Brigden
Stepkids: Max DelGaudio, 14, and Sophia DelGaudio, 12
“There are so many things to do in Pittsburgh,” says Tracy Brigden, artistic director of City Theatre, who lives with her stepkids, Max and Sophie, and her husband, Michael DelGaudio, in Mt. Lebanon. “I lived in Pittsburgh 12 years before they came into my life, and you do get a completely new perspective when you look at your city through that lens of kids. There is so much more here that I’ve gotten to know because of them.”
The arts are a big draw.
“We’re not a sporty family; we’re an arty family,” she says. “Everybody likes music and performing arts, so we spend a lot of time in theaters. City Theatre, obviously. They’re 12 and 14, and they come to see all the shows. For little kids, City Theatre is not the best place for all shows. But even though some of our plays are a little more advanced, I find that anything that is in a good piece of theater, if it’s a little more adult, it’s going to be fodder for a good conversation.”
The family has a membership with Carnegie Museums. They love to go to the basement studio of The Andy Warhol Museum to make art. They go to dance and music performances, too.
One of the great things about the arts, Brigden says, is opening a dialogue about philosophical issues: What is beauty? What is beauty what is art?
“Luckily all our institutions here in Pittsburgh are pretty fearless in terms of the kinds of art they put forward so it’s not just the easy stuff,” she says.
“I think it’s really important to do it together, especially when they’re a little bit younger, to help them translate, to help them understand that there isn’t one answer to ‘What does this mean? What is it about?’ And I think that’s a really good way to look at life.
“If you can help kids practice the idea of: What do you think? Do you like it? Why do you like it? What does it mean to you? What do you see? It’s a great skill set to take into all corners of your life.
“And it’s fun. Obviously, anybody who’s a parent these days knows we spend our lives trying to get our kids off screens. If we can teach them there are other ways to entertain yourselves that don’t involve a screen, they become connoisseurs for life.”