Casey Droege, Organizer-in-Chief of the Seed Award-funded project Community Supported Art (CSA PGH), has been all over the world making art. From Chicago to Reykjavik to Detroit and home again, she writes in local art blog Pittsburgh Articulate about the creative community of the hometown she’s returned to.
This creative community raised me and I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to give back. To me that means contributing events and programming that serve my own interests while creating opportunities for others. This city’s cleaning up real nice, but sometimes it feels like we’ve got a little slaw in our teeth. And now that we think everyone’s talking about us, our insecurities are magnified. I certainly believe we have the people and the tools to create the kind of cultural landscape we want and need. It’s just going to involve some heavy lifting
She goes on to detail her experiences through a helpful list that takes into consideration the issues that local artists face in the creation of a community. With an arts scene that has grown significantly since her artist parents settled here from New York in the 1980s, Casey sees now as an opportunity for Pittsburgh to remake its artistic image as one all its own, set apart from that of New York or Los Angeles.
We are not New York, Los Angeles, or even Cleveland. Pittsburgh is a blue-collar town, with its own history of class conflict, racial segregation, environmental issues, and few leisure activities outside of athletics. We are ready to remake our image…we’re just not sure what it is yet.
Our small and bumpy geographic footprint makes it easy to find a nook or cranny to call your own. So pick a spot and claim it. We’ve got unused riverfronts, empty buildings, tons of green space and friendly institutions just waiting for you to deliver the goods. Like I mentioned earlier, Pittsburgh is full of people who are wiling to listen and help. It’s so easy to get stuff done. You just have to take the first steps. Read further for ideas on how to get started.
Read more of Casey’s list here on Pittsburgh Articulate, and be an active member of your creative community right here at home. You can be part of how Pittsburgh is reimagined moving forward. “There are so many roles involved in this community, find one that feels right and get in there,” says Casey. “Maker, consumer, observer, impresario, hawker… whatever your interests are, we’ve got room. Don’t let Google and UPMC engineer our city’s makeover. Jump in head-first and take ownership of this transformation.”