The Future of Pittsburgh is Promised to the Arts.
Updated: Aug 18, 2021
This page is an artist resource page for the City of Pittsburgh, in the state of Pennsylvania. Directly below you will find a
An Interactive Artists Resource Map of the Pittsburgh.
Video interviews with Pittsburgh based artists and gallery owner/operators, including:
Madeline Gent, Executive Director of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.
Joy Borelli-Edwards of be galleries
Artist Cheryl Capezzuti
Mia St. Clair of RedFishBowl Studios
Randy Gilson of Randyland
Introduction: Pittsburgh This series of videos and podcasts go into details surrounding the art scene of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During our short sojourn through this "Big-Little City", we find an expansive infrastructure that has been augmented to suit the needs of three to four hundred-thousand people.
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The interactive map is comprised of the neighborhoods and galleries we visited with, and the active galleries located in the city. Please message us with any updates or additions you would like to see.
This city has moved to curtail any significant blight, leaving some neighborhoods built along the many ridges and hills, looking like s grin with missing teeth. This highly livable city is in many ways a public secret. Can arts help to revitalize the economy? Perhaps! Many residents laud the local economy for its consistency, making homeownership a reality for many in the region.
The arts are administrated in great part by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (https://trustarts.org/). During the time of Covid, these entities have all been shuttered, which lead us to focus on the existing arts community of private and public galleries. This was fantastic, because local galleries generally provide a better look into the local arts economy.
Welcome to Lawrenceville!
We began in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, along the Allegheny River. Here we began with an interview with Madeline Gent, the Executive Director of the one hundred and eleven year old institution, the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
(https://www.aapgh.org/). The organization currently maintains a roster of over 500+ artists and has been highly influential in the Pittsburgh art scene for over a century. Their exhibitions are smart, accessible, and housed in a renovated ice house.
The be gallery
Next we made our way to Butler Street in the Lawrenceville neighborhood and met with
Joy Borelli-Edwards of be galleries. This gallery represents over thirty artists and maintains a number of artists studios in the same building. The gallery is well positioned on Butler street and flooded with natural light.
Pittsburgh Artist Cheryl Capezzuti
The Pittsburgh based artist Cheryl Capezzuti (http://studiocapezzuti.com/gb/) welcomed us into her busy studio space behind be galleries. It was then I realized that a significant portion of the building was reserved for artist studio space. The interview took place with the artists uniquely tall and spindly humanoid creations created from the dryer lint as a backdrop. Her interview provides some insight into the livability of Pittsburgh.
RedFish Bowl Studio in Pittsburgh
A walk along Butler street revealed a lively pedestrian scene. Lots of coffee shops and
bowls of fresh water for fuzzy friends. It was an active scene, yet, it was also strangely hands off due in large part to the safety restriction put in place to prevent the spread of Covid. We came across the kneeling red mannequin that indicated we had arrived to RedFishBowl Studios (https://www.redfishbowl.com/)
We were greeted by local arts enthusiast, Mia St. Clair. She provided us with some important insight on how artists are entering into the Pittsburgh art scene. I loved the space, as it had numerous exhibition spaces, an art installation room, numerous private and semi-private studios. Overall, it was a productive and welcoming space.
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Welcome to Central Northside
Our next stop brought us across the Allegheny River to the Central Northside neighborhood. The destination is the "Mexican War Streets" district. It was named after the Mexican-American war, waged in the 1840s. Its distinctive architecture and treelined streets provide a lovely scene. You will find yourself across the street from the Allegheny Commons, a large walkable park, home to the National Aviary (https://www.aviary.org/).
The streets in Central Northside are home to numerous arts destinations, including the contemporary art focused Mattress Museum (https://mattress.org/), the Andy Warhol Museum (https://www.warhol.org/museum/), which contains the largest cache of artwork and archival work by artist Andy Warhol. Nestled away in the streets, you will come upon a collection of buildings whose color is more than just some kind of street beautification project. You have most likely stumbled upon the art area of RandyLand (https://www.randy.land/).
Randyland is essentially multi-floored building with a backyard that has been colorfully filled with interactive, outsized art. One feels naturally compelled to explore the grounds. The entrance invites pedestrians to explore. Cars routinely slow down and look for parking. Over time, the boundaries of RandyLand have carried over onto the intersection as the numerous messages of positivity have spread to other walls in the vicinity. We had scheduled an interview, but what I had captured in the first few minutes of his entrance captured his outsized personality in a very genuine manner. He sounds like an artist who truly loves their creation, and their creation is their community.
Pittsburgh in Summary:
Pittsburgh has the bones of a much larger city, so it is ready for the population, but there is no rush of people moving in. The city feels like a giant public secret; where those who live in town, really appreciate what they have and aren't necessarily enthused about clogging things up with a larger population. Conversely, Pittsburgh, can't contain its own excitement. It is super livable, and any amount of time spent there is quite accommodating. Public transportation is reliable, and most snow is removed immediately off of highly traversed areas.
Like everything, there are trade offs. First, there is a small yet enthusiastic cadre of art collectors, so a buying public needs to be developed. Secondly, the lack of gallery space presents numerous opportunities for inspired artists to support and represent themselves, thereby cultivating new audiences. Artists can redraw the map of the Pittsburgh and its art scene simply by banding together.
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