Enhancing the urban landscape of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities of Allegheny County.
Combining Community and Public Art
The Sprout Fund worked with nearly 100 community groups and dozens of local artists to develop 56 large-scale works of public art.
Launched in 2003, the community murals program was modeled after successful similar efforts in Philadelphia and other cities across the country. Through support from local foundations and corporations, Sprout enhanced the visual landscape of neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Allegheny County—creating an always-open “museum without walls” of local artwork.
The program’s collaborative dialogue and design process excelled at considering the people of the community, their history, and their vision for the future. The program also raised awareness about the important role that local artists can play in shaping communities, encouraging dialogue between communities and artists while contributing to neighborhood development. The program concluded in 2010 after largely achieving its goals of creating corridors, concentrations, and coverage of murals throughout the area.
Conceived as long-lasting works, the murals were painted using materials with a 20-year lifespan. However, as many murals were created in communities already in a state of change, some of Sprout’s most prominent murals were later removed or lost to redevelopment.
Program In Brief
Jury Members Engaged
Sprout Public Art 2003–2010 Video Retrospective
Learn more about Sprout’s process for creating community murals and the goals of the program.
Sprout Public Art addressed three key issues: disconnect between visual culture and day-to-day life, level of leadership and personal investment in the region’s neighborhoods, and the need to support the ideas and creativity of people living in the Pittsburgh region.
“The Two Andys” (2005)
Tom Mosser and Sarah Zeffiro bring humor to the city’s revitalization by portraying Andrew Carnegie and Andy Warhol receiving a makeover at a Downtown salon above Strawberry Way & Smithfield Street.
Hill District & Uptown
“Listening Through Time” (2003)
Chris St. Pierre reaches into the Hill District’s rich past at 2201 Wylie Avenue and lights the way to the future with a saxophonist symbolically filling Centre Avenue with the energy of Jazz.
“Urban Paradise” (2006)
Gregg Valley creates a sense of hope and renewal within a harsh urban environment at 1410 Fifth Avenue in Uptown.
“Open Heaven Open Sky” (2010)
Gabe Felice echoes Uptown’s vibrant positive transformation through lively, abstract imagery at 2106 Forbes Avenue that appeals to nearby highway motorists and urban gardeners alike.
“Welcome to the Strip” (2004)
Sandy Kessler Kaminski incorporates the Strip District dual identities as a food destination and the city’s center of club nightlife at 1627 Penn Avenue.
“Celestial Weaving Girl” (2006)
Lucas Stock celebrates womanhood with a scene of vibrant, unbridled vitality, with life literally following in the path laid by this new mother on the side of the Midwife Center at 2825 Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
“Fabric of the Community” (2004)
Jackie Kresak symbolizes the Penn-Main Corridor of Lawrenceville as a work in progress bound together as a community at 4202 Penn Avenue near Children’s Hospital.
“Squirrel Convergence” (2006)
Mary Tremonte combines swirling squirrels with whimsical postage stamps depicting Lawrenceville’s most recognizable features at 3816 Butler Street.
Bloomfield, Garfield & Morningside
“Tuesday’s Heroic Paragon” (2003)
Kevinn Fung depicts the essence of everyday heroism at 4809 Penn Avenue with an image that celebrates the life of Garfield resident Sidney Barlow, who was shot and killed as he tried to stop an incident of gun violence.
“Bridging the Generations of Bloomfield” (2007)
Monika McAndrew showcases old and new residents of Bloomfield, Pittsburgh’s “Little Italy,” on the side of an iconic neighborhood drug store at 4727 Liberty Avenue.
East Liberty & Homewood
“Lend Me Your Ears” (2004)
Jordan Monahan incorporates the attitude and identity of the East Liberty neighborhood into an engaging piece of public art at the corner of Penn Avenue and Beatty Street.
“Worm’s Eye View” (2005)
Kate Bechak uses subtle wit and charm to reflect East Liberty’s artistic and cultural rhythms at 5880 Centre Avenue.
“Season of Hope” (2005)
James Maszle celebrates the history and pride of Homewood/Brushton in the heart of the neighborhood at 7340 Frankstown Avenue. This massive wall features symbols like the tree of life plus realistic images of local faces and places.
Oakland, Shadyside & Squirrel Hill
“Interpretations of Oakland” (2006)
Jon Laidacker composes pictures within pictures to depict Pittsburgh’s own Fred Rogers and the multifaceted history of Oakland above 3609 Forbes Avenue.
“Urban Flora” (2007)
Katherine Young assembles autumn-hued birds, bare trees, and elegant flora along Shadyside’s main drag at 5442 Walnut Street.
“All in a Day” (2004)
Monique Luck and Leslie Ansley capture the variety, visibility, and strength of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood at 2345 Murray Avenue by featuring portraits of residents engaged in their daily lives.
Hazelwood & Greenfield
“Piece by Piece, Step by Step” (2005)
Kip Herring imagines Hazelwood’s vision for its future with circular elements that represent renewal and rebirth. This trompe l’oeil installation at the corner of Second Avenue and Elizabeth Street exemplifies successful collaboration between artist and community.
“A Tribute to Herbert Douglas” (2006)
Heather White memorializes Hazelwood native and Olympic bronze medalist Herbert Douglas through larger-than-life newsprint at the corner of Second Avenue and Tecumseh Street.
Regent Square, Swissvale & Wilkinsburg
“Birds Eye View” (2003)
Kristin Williams makes an extremely detailed rendering of Regent Square as seen from above at 1101 South Braddock Avenue. The featured birds are all are indigenous to Regent Square and Frick Park.
“Trainscape: Community and Industry” (2007)
Anthony Purcell echoes Swissvale’s railroad heritage while showing the contemporary neighborhood in bright, vivid colors at 7400 Church Street.
Brian Holderman returns to 745 Penn Avenue, the site of his 2003 Wilkinsburg mural, with Jesse Best to reinterpret and expand the mural near a parklet into a much larger work and statement about environmental issues.
“Children’s Alphabet Garden” (2004)
Mary Mazziotti depicts the alphabet using garden imagery at 1313 Sherman Avenue. The work was guided by input from Central Northside children and their parents who maintain an adjacent community garden.
“Birds Not Words” (2005)
Stevo Sadvary infuses the mosaic mural’s urban setting at 1300 Federal Street in the Central Northside with a sense of nature thriving in the city.
Troy Hill & Millvale
“troy loves hill” (2009)
Carolyn Kelly captures Troy Hill’s Germanic roots using leaves and branches to represent different aspects of the area’s past at 1705 Lowrie Street.
“A Walk Through Milvale” (2003)
Sandy Kessler Kaminski portrays a memorable array of Millvale’s cultural landmarks and historic sites, including its connection to Pittsburgh via the 40th Street Bridge, at 112 Lincoln Avenue.
“A Piece of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” (2005)
Monica Cervone McElwain exemplifies the Southside’s past, present, and future at 2341 East Carson Street with color and movement that echo a place where there’s never a dull moment.
“Allentown Stories” (2007)
Lucas Stock celebrates the history of Allentown at 803 East Warrington Street through recreations of photographs from the area’s past painted on a building that houses a childcare center and apartments for the elderly.
Station Square, Mt. Washington & Sheridan
“East Carson Street Treasures” (2006)
David Hawbaker merges the Southside’s old and new identities at East Carson Street & Terminal Way and highlights how generations of PIttsburghers have called the neighborhood home.
Gerry Tonti draws tourists and locals away from the majestic Grandview Overlook to find more beauty in the heart of Mt. Washington’s business district at 131 Shiloh Street.
Carnegie, Carrick & Oakdale
Gregg Valley illustrates Carnegie as a phoenix reborn from the receding waters of recent floods that devastated the community at 301 West Main Street.
“Carrick Above Us” (2008)
Phil Seth evokes Carrick’s landmarks and symbolic ties to its namesake town in Ireland at 1917 Brownsville Road.
Community engagement was central to Sprout’s vision for site-specific public art. Community members were engaged multiple times throughout the process to ensure that the final designs reflected and incorporated the voices of residents.
Community members were invited to participate in a facilitated brainstorming session. The resulting notes were made available to artists to use for their preliminary designs.
Annual Preliminary Design Exhibition
Preliminary designs were debuted to the communities through an annual show in a gallery setting.
Public dedication ceremonies offered an opportunity for Sprout to formally present the murals to the communities and acknowledge the artists and community partners for their contributions.
Local communities applied and were selected by the Sprout Public Art Advisory Committee to receive murals. This advisory group also selected artists for the program who were then placed in competition for the selected community mural sites.
A group of local artists, critics, educators, and other community stakeholders made up the jury that selected the pool of artists to participate in each year’s program.
Communities were selected through a 3 C’s placement strategy: Coverage, Corridor, and Concentration. Engaging a variety of neighborhoods was also a key part of the process.
Local artists were juried into the program on the strength of their portfolios as well as their experience doing murals or large-scale art.
Thank you to all those who made this program possible!
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- Morton Brown 2003-2007
- Curt Gettman 2007-2013