A community art project affirming that Pittsburgh is a place where we all belong.
Pittsburgh is a place where we all belong.
In the wake of the presidential administration’s changing immigration policy, The Sprout Fund created the Belonging Community Art Project to celebrate the spirit and creative energy of the people who have made Pittsburgh their home, built communities here, and contributed to our shared future.
Sprout collaborated with the Office of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and 14 local organizations that promote unity and dialogue and serve immigrants and refugees. Through this initiative, local youth and adult artists created artwork expressing their concept of “belonging” and advocating for a welcoming and united Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
Nearly 250 submissions of artwork were received, including many from local youth. Winners were selected through a combination of juried art processes and online voting that drew more than 14,000 votes.
The overall winner received an honorarium of $3,000, and the winning design was produced as yard signs and posters that were distributed for free across the region. An additional 17 works of art appeared on a “Community Voices” poster, and these winning artists each received a $100 honorarium.
Yard signs and posters with winning designs were distributed by the City of Pittsburgh, Citiparks sites, all 19 branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, coffee shops, community centers, and all partner organizations’ sites.
Program In Brief
Yard Signs & Posters
Belonging Community Art Project Video Recap
Winning Design: “You Belong”
Bob, 56, from Wilkinsburg
This design was inspired by the ancient Sri Yantra designs of India, which connoted cosmic unity. I've given the old design a modern, folky twist. The background was made with oil pastels on tarpaper, and the lettering was made by cutting origami papers of yellow and deep blue. The “You Belong” lettering was inspired by a handmade font created by the artist Rick Bach.
About the Artist
Bob Ziller has displayed his artwork in more than 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the U.S., including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, Chicago Cultural Center, Hunter Museum of American Art, Norton Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Mendelson Gallery, and many others.
17 additional designs were selected for inclusion on a “community voices” poster. These designs received “honorable mention” designation by the jury of art professionals, were selected by a separate jury of local youth, or were among the top 5 most popular adult or youth submissions through the online public voting process.
Beatrice, 29, from Deutschtown
Phoenix, 12, from Bloomfield
Jeff, 40, from Ross
Chanie, 18, from Squirrel Hill
Anonymous from Hazelwood
Ron, 58, from Lawrenceville
Asmita, 16, from Brentwood
Alberto, 35, from Observatory Hill
Kaitlyn, 12, from Shadyside
Hope Academy in East Liberty
Kirsten, 49, from Lawrenceville
Anonymous from Friendship
Cynthia, 26, from Squirrel Hill
David, 52, from Spring Hill
Zoe, 13, from Oakland
Malik, 13, from Brentwood
Hannah, 13, & Skyler, 13, from Oakland
Thoughout the project, Sprout worked with advocates and allies of the immgrant and refugee communities. Prior to launch, Sprout hosted in-person meetings and phone interviews with representatives from all 14 community partners. These conversations deeply informed the program design, from naming the program to developing its outreach strategy.
Sprout sponsored art-making activities hosted by several of community partners, including Casa San Jose, the Northern Area Multi Service Center, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, and United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh.
World Refugee Day
More than 1,000 Yard signs and 10,000 posters of the winning design and the community voices poster began distribution at the World Refugee Day celebration in Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh.
Ice Cream Social
At the conclusion of the program, Sprout gathered the winning artists, commmunity partners, jurors, and staff to celebrate and connect.
Downloads & Resources
Download a PDF of the winning “You Belong” artwork and print your own 18” by 18” poster or yard sign using FedEx Kinkos or a locally-owned print shop of your choice.
Download a PDF of the Belonging teaching kit and encourage children and youth in your classroom or community to create their own unique artistic response.
Belonging in Your Communitylaunch
Lead Sprout staffer Tricia Monticello Kievlan offers advice and recommendations to others who might lead similar work in their communities with this post on Medium.
Thank you to all those who made this program possible!
- The Heinz Endowments
- The Opportunity Fund
- Alphabet City Development
- Matt Hannigan
- Anne Lewis
- Cathy Lewis Long & Rob Long
- Paul O’Neill
- Oxford Development Company
- Luke & Natalia Skurman
- City of Pittsburgh, Office of the Mayor
- 1Hood Media
- AIU Latino Family Center
- Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh
- Casa San Jose
- Change Agency
- City of Asylum
- Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
- Hello Neighbor
- Northern Area Multi-Service Center Refugee Resettlement
- Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
- South Hills Interfaith Movement
- United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh
- Welcoming Pittsburgh
- World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
- Sean Beauford
- Sarika Goulatia
- Yesica Guerra
- Diane Samuels
- Blaine Siegel
- Tricia Monticello Kievlan
- Matt Hannigan
- Morton Brown project manager