When Gabrielle Nastuck became its director in 2010, the Latrobe Art Center was a nice little place — with emphasis on the “little.” It had one room with a small cafe and a corner display case offering jewelry and other objets d'art.
Six years later, it has doubled in size, added numerous programs and annual exhibitions and become a hub for community activities.
“We've added a lot, because I like to have something for everyone,” she modestly says.
When an adjoining store closed in 2011, the art center acquired and remodeled it for classroom and additional display space.
Under Nastuck's direction, the center also has added culinary classes, paint-it-yourself nights, children's art camps and programs for special-needs students, including coordinating and hosting the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit's Champion of the Arts exhibit.
The center also works with art education and therapy students from local colleges and will begin a special project this fall with students from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
In conjunction with the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, Nastuck has taken a leading role in assuring that Fred Rogers will be remembered in his hometown.
The center spearheaded recent “Bringing Fred Home” activities that included participation in artist Tim Kelly's Puzzle Project, children's programming, a gala and the unveiling of a historical marker and statue honoring everybody's favorite neighbor.
“I have goals in mind, but I don't like to share them until they're set,” Nastuck says. “I like to keep people guessing.”
The star who would play me in the movie version of my life:
Meredith Eaton — she fits the description perfectly.
Mister Rogers! All my life, Fred has made me feel unique and special.
The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:
My Teddy Ruxpin doll
The superpower I wish I had in real life:
To be able to flick a wand and have my workload, laundry or house cleaning be instantly done for me.
Fall; love the colors and changing of the leaves
Favorite ethnic food:
I spend the most time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other:
Pick one: “Veep,” “House of Cards” or “Scandal”:
Show I have or want to binge-watch:
My favorite cable channel:
The dessert that matches my personality:
A canoli — made with ricotta filling only
Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:
“Pretty Woman,” “The Notebook”
If I were auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin
The first band I saw in concert:
Debbie Gibson, Civic Arena
The best concert I've ever seen:
Let's change that to best musical: A cross between “Les Miserables” and “The Lion King”
In high school, I was:
A free spirit
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Binge-watching “Will & Grace” episodes
Something I would do over if I could:
Relive the four years in college at St. Vincent
Pick one: Pirates, Penguins, Steelers or other:
My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:
The Bus — Jerome Bettis
Favorite lunchtime spot:
When I get to eat, I usually eat in whatever room I am working in.
My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:
Beet burger with carrot-ginger dressing
My most embarrassing junk food:
In college ... onion bagel with cream cheese and Doritos on top
My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:
The Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room's The Forest, with caramelized wild mushrooms, roasted shallots, balsamic reduction, fresh thyme and fontina
Pick one: Cheetos, Cheez-It or Cheerios:
Best vacation ever:
Las Vegas for my 30th birthday
My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:
Place I'd most like to visit:
In five years, I'd like to:
Be healthy, happy and live the life that I am meant to live
My quirkiest inherited trait:
Feeding people, no matter who they are
One word my mother would use to describe me:
Maksim Chmerkovskiy from “Dancing With the Stars”
If I could go back, I'd tell my teenage self:
My most treasured fashion accessory:
Three people I'd love to have dinner with:
Ellen DeGeneres, Harry Connick Jr. and Pink
The song that always gets me out on the dance floor:
“Dancing Queen” gets me every time!
Enjoying the little things in life
My personal motto:
Be who you are and say what you feel. 'Cause those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. — Dr. Seuss
The last book I read:
“The Cuckoo's Calling” by Robert Galbraith
Overused phrase I hate most:
People would be surprised to know that I:
Played piano for 12 years and accompanied my junior high and senior high school choirs, plus I was the accompanist for the children's plays at Apple Hill Playhouse.