Funded Projects from 2004
“All in a Day” (2004)
Monique Luck & Leslie Ansley, 2004 Community Murals mural
One of the most storied and active neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill also boasts one of the most strongly defined community identities. A menagerie of local landmarks and familiar faces, “All in a Day” attempts to capture this identity in its variety, visibility and strength. In their own words, the artists wanted to “reflect the way homes and businesses seamlessly create a rich, self-contained neighborhood.” Featuring actual Squirrel Hill Residents engaged in their daily lives, the scene also includes local landmarks like the Blue Slide Park, Taylor-Allderdice High School, the Squirrel Hill Café and the Jewish Community Center clock tower. The many community groups supporting this mural, as well as the general population of Squirrel Hill have shown great pride and satisfaction in the scene that this piece depicts. If you visit the mural in person, take a close look at “Chevy,” the girl with the pink backpack. She is actually a sculptural relief constructed out of a 12 feet tall piece of aluminum, which is placed off of the wall with spacers to satisfy the need for water drainage through this retaining wall. A product of necessity, this act of engineering makes for a truly interesting and unique visual effect.
$8,750, 2004 Seed Award project support
Artists Upstairs, an artist’s cooperative located in Pittsburgh’s Downtown Cultural District, was a multimedia community studio that worked to foster cultural, educational, and economic development in the city. The space united those curious about or committed to the arts downtown and served as a classroom and studio for the visual arts, dance and yoga, as well as an alternative gathering and exhibition venue.
“At Work” (2004)
Jonathan Laidacker, 2004 Community Murals mural
The West End Community group was inspired by the “easel paintings” of artist Jonathan Laidacker when he created this Trompe L’oeil (“trick of the eye”) piece. Incorporating the drip technique he uses in his easel paintings, Laidacker used sheets of plastic to direct the drippings and capture the frame within a frame effect of this optical illusion. Used to working with water colors and acrylics, Laidacker was challenged even further by having to recreate a tested technique with totally foreign materials on a surface that was far less cooperative than his studio canvases. At Work is a good example of how an artist’s studio style can persevere within the process of the Sprout Public Art program.
$5,000 » barebones productions, 2004 Seed Award project support
barebones productions, a project of barebones productions, used theater as a vehicle for discovery not only of its subject, but also of the location of its performance. Each show premiered in an unlikely local space and focused on simple and evocative production values in intimate venues. By combining theater with other art forms—whether oratory, visual, or broadcast—barebones united different audiences and made each show an occasion for art and community building.
Big Idea Infoshop
$1,000 » The Multi-Tool, 2004 Grand Ideas project support
Big Idea Infoshop, a project of The Multi-Tool, was a community meeting place that served as the headquarters for an affiliated volunteer base and provided the services of an independent progressive bookstore. The shop sold music, books, and pamphlets and facilitated socio-politically oriented events.
Black Box Series
$6,000 » Laboratory Company Dance (LABCO), 2004 Seed Award project support
Black Box Series, a project of Laboratory Company Dance (LABCO), provided a venue for a variety of Pittsburgh artists, including dancers, choreographers, painters, playwrights, actors, and musicians. Located in the South Side, LABCO functioned as both an adaptable performance space and a community center for networking. The Black Box Series brought audiences and artists together in order to promote artistic expression in Pittsburgh.
“Children’s Alphabet Garden” (2004)
Mary Mazziotti, 2004 Community Murals mural
The collaborative Northside community group involved with this mural—comprised of young children and their parents from the Green Millenium Children’s Garden, whose mission is to maintain the garden adjacent to it—was enthusiastic, helpful, and supportive through the entire process. Each year during gardening months, neighbors bring their children over to tend the garden and learn about growing fruits and vegetables. The children worked with Mary Mazzotti to refine the mural’s preliminary design, which depicts the alphabet using garden imagery, and carefully considered each symbol. The youthful committee also did a great deal of work during the actual mural execution, helping to prepare the wall by cleaning and priming, and also pulling weeds around the area. Upon completing her first public mural, Mary commented, “As a painter used to working on a smaller scale, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity offered by this program to see what it was like to ‘work large.’ One might say that the continued enjoyment of the children’s garden is the greatest indicator of her success.
Confluence: Live Music and Readings
$3,000, 2004 Seed Award project support
Confluence: Live Music and Readings was a music series dedicated to furthering the original work of writers and songwriters living in Pittsburgh. Confluence provided opportunities for writers of color to present their work alongside other artists in a collaborative forum. Bringing together students, writers, and community members, the project emphasized common themes expressed by writers and musicians of all backgrounds.
Cool Space Awards
$5,000 » Cool Space Locator, 2004 Seed Award project support
Cool Space Awards, a project of Cool Space Locator, was a one-night celebration of urban innovators and business leaders. Unlike traditional business award events, the Cool Space Awards focused on revitalizing the connection between businesses, employees, and the workplace.
$10,000 » Creative.Life.Support, 2004 Seed Award project support
Creative.Life.Records, a project of Creative.Life.Support, addressed the problems and obstacles faced by young musicians. With the help of veteran performers like Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and concert venues like Mr. Small’s in Millvale, Creative.Life.Records helped Pittsburgh’s emerging musicians find their way without having to leave the city behind.
“A Day in the Park” (2004)
Kenneth Tator, 2004 Community Murals mural
Kenneth Tator’s Day in the Park was painted on the grounds of The Pittsburgh Project in the Perry South neighborhood of Pittsburgh. This mural is significant as it is the first Sprout mural to utilize a folk art style. Though exemplified by seemingly rushed brush strokes and a rough finish, upon closer inspection, the mural has a deliberate and keen sense of color, composition and arrangement. This simple, uncomplicated imagery offers a sense of warmth and communion in an area of Pittsburgh that has had its share of hard times. A gateway to the very park it depicts, this building is owned by The Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit organization that trains area youth with the skills of property refurbishment, bringing old, abandoned or decrepit buildings up to city code. The Pittsburgh Project wanted to give a face to their beneficial community initiatives and this mural continues their mission of encouraging communities to use creative means and the given environment to improve the quality of life for all residents.
$9,150 » GLENDA, 2004 Seed Award project support
DiversityWorks!, a project of GLENDA, connected young adults and established professionals in the LGBT community, a group underserved in leadership and mentoring opportunities, to build a professional network and cultivate leadership skills within the young LGBT population.
Ellsworth Street Scenes
$1,000 » Ellsworth Avenue Business Association, 2004 Grand Ideas project support
Ellsworth Street Scenes, a project of Ellsworth Avenue Business Assoc, transformed storefronts into art displays during the 2004 Ellsworth Dance, Music, and Art Showcase. The street festival offered opportunities for painters, sculptors, and installation artists of all styles to expose the summertime crowd to new and provocative works.
“Fabric of the Community” (2004)
Jackie Kresak, 2004 Community Murals mural
The Penn Main Business Association approached the Sprout Fund seeking a mural that would give their community a sense of identity. This area, known as the Penn Main Corridor, has struggled to distinguish itself as a unique community amidst a constant change coming from every direction. The site of the new main branch of UPMC’s Children’s hospital, only minutes from the Strip, and a stone’s throw between Bloomfield and Central Lawrenceville, Penn Main is caught between many distinct neighborhoods. Artist Jackie Kresak’s design of an unfinished quilt seemed perfectly suited to the neighborhood. Inspired by a quilt that her mother started but never had the chance to finish, the mural depicts Kresak’s hands picking up where her mother left off. Aptly symbolizing the Penn Main Corridor being bound together as a community, yet still being a work in progress, Kresak comments that “sewing a quilt is like bringing together the different kinds of people and uniting them into one whole blanket or community. The purple folded b lock with the pin in it represents that it, like a community, is still under construction and changing for the better.” The promise of the mural is that, like quilting, the growth of a community identity can take new directions and form new patterns out of the many pieces of itself.
$5,830 » Cool Hand Crafts, 2004 Seed Award project support
Handmade Arcade, a project of Cool Hand Crafts, went beyond the traditional art fair by exposing the community to nontraditional do-it-yourself crafting. Bringing together offbeat crafters, musicians, and zine publishers, the Handmade Arcade promoted and encouraged a little known aspect of Pittsburgh’s creative community.
Historic Preservation Priorities for the Pittsburgh Region
$8,750 » Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, 2004 Seed Award project support
Historic Preservation Priorities for the Pittsburgh Region, a project of Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, brought young people together to safeguard the future of the region’s historic properties, open spaces, and community assets, as well as the shared past they represent. The program invited young people from all over southwestern Pennsylvania to be involved in reshaping the public image of historic preservation and established ongoing communication channels with local decision makers.
$6,000 » 3 Rivers 2nd Nature & GroundZero Action Network, 2004 Seed Award project support
Knotweed Project, a project of 3 Rivers 2nd Nature and GroundZero Action Network, shed light on the environmental impact, history, and opportunities presented by Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species introduced in the 19th century that had grown to take over 8% of stream banks in Allegheny County.
“Lend Me Your Ears” (2004)
Jordan Monahan, 2004 Community Murals mural
Covering 8,500 square feet, Lend Me Your Ears is the Sprout Fund’s largest mural to date—in fact, it is larger than the square footage of all seven murals from the first year combined! The original design only included the side facing Penn Avenue, but when the community group learned that an adjacent building was to be torn down and that the mural would become the new gateway for the community, they raised the funds to extend the mural, covering both sides of the building. In addition to a massive canvas, artist Jordan Monahan, age 19 at the time, was given great freedom in designing the mural. With some direction from the community group, Monahan chose a small number of highly spirited images to create a striking and vibrant gateway for East Liberty. The children depicted are from the community, and segments of the old marquee signs from the Enright and Regent theaters can be seen where the two walls come together. Rather than utilizing the traditional dove image, Monahan used pigeons as a symbol of peace because of the plethora of pigeons coasting through the sky over East Liberty. The diversity of the community is expressed through the many colors of the television test pattern running through the mural. By limiting explicit references and letting the images do the work, Monahan created a graphic landmark for East Liberty, incorporating the attitude and identity of this neighborhood into an engaging piece of public art.
Listen to This
$5,050, 2004 Seed Award project support
Listen to This brought Philadelphia-based songstress and spoken word poet Ursula Rucker to Pittsburgh to enhance and encourage the city’s burgeoning live poetry and independent music scenes. The project highlighted the quality of local musicians and the many ways that performance poetry could enhance and interact with a variety of musical genres.
Pittsburgh PrideFest 2004
$6,000 » Gay & Lesbian Community Center, Inc. (GLCC), 2004 Seed Award project support
Pittsburgh PrideFest 2004, a project of Gay & Lesbian Community Center, Inc. (GLCC), was expanded into a month-long series of events on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Dedicated to promoting Pittsburgh as a city committed to unity, PrideFest 2004 included a Youth Prom, a Bingo Block Party, a pancake breakfast, festival parade, and more. The project was completed in collaboration with the Persad Center, the Seven Project, the Youth Empowerment Project, the Gay & Lesbian Neighborhood Development Association, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Pittsburgh Signs Project
$8,000, 2004 Seed Award project support
Pittsburgh Signs Project encouraged area residents to submit photos of Pittsburgh signs that communicated their ideas about the city. The collaborative effort introduced new ways for residents to interpret Pittsburgh and provided a unique insight into the city.
$5,500, 2004 Seed Award project support
PittsburghVIE was motivated by the youth’s potential to be a crucial voting bloc and political force in the region. The project produced a voting guide for young people in traditionally low turnout precincts and encouraged youth participation in voter registration drives, political rallies, and other displays of political engagement.
The Spoken Mic
$5,000 » innertainment Live, 2004 Seed Award project support
The Spoken Mic, a project of Innertainment Live, was an interdisciplinary event that presented audiences with a family-friendly array of performances, including spoken word, comedy, soapbox, dramatic sketch, and political and philosophical discourses. The Spoken Mic bonded arts organizations and local residents through a shared concern for local issues.
$7,785 » Underground Action Alliance, 2004 Seed Award project support
Students, a project of Underground Action Alliance, was a series of workshops that strengthened the connection between democracy and protest by educating Pittsburgh area students and residents about their constitutional rights and various tools for social change. The program informed and empowered a diverse population of young people in Pittsburgh.
$8,905 » PA CleanWays of Allegheny County, 2004 Seed Award project support
Tireless Fridays, a project of PA CleanWays of Allegheny County, encouraged all Pittsburghers to take part in the fate of the city’s rivers by bringing together a community of concerned residents to help clean up some of the most neglected and abused riversides. Designed to create awareness among Pittsburgh’s young professional population about illegal dumping and littering, Tireless Fridays organized after-work volunteer opportunities throughout the summer to clean up illegal dumpsites within or near the city center.
$4,803, 2004 Seed Award project support
Trade River maintained a continually updated list of Pittsburgh businesses working to improve the city by means of nonprofit contribution, environmental responsibility, diversity, living wages, mass transit promotion, cooperative activities, and union friendliness. The website (TradeRiver.net) helped consumers find businesses they might like to support and promoted the local economy.
$5,350 » Two Girls Working, 2004 Seed Award project support
Trappings Pittsburgh, a project of Two Girls Working, was a multi-media art project that explored the ways women in Pittsburgh viewed fashion, art, power, and professionalism. The project completed a series of interview sessions with local women and developed the information gathered into an exhibition of prints on Port Authority buses and a one-hour documentary film.
$1,000, 2004 Grand Ideas project support
Urban Hike organized walking tours of Pittsburgh neighborhoods on and off the beaten path. Each hike included great views of the city, exposure to interesting architecture and interactions with various community stakeholders. Exploring the unique character of each neighborhood, the hikes served as history lessons, adventures, and meditative reconnections with the city, engaging residents with the very topography of the city itself.
“Walk on Through” (2004)
Gerry Tonti, 2004 Community Murals mural
The Eliza Furnace Trail has long been a place of colorful and sometimes unwelcome graffiti. Rather than glorify or condemn the practice of graffiti writing, community group Friends of the Riverfront charged artist Gerry Tonti in 2004 with complementing the graffiti by creating a mural to show how sanctioned and community driven public art can work with the existing environment and be appreciated by those who use the trail on a regular basis. With thousands of walkers, runners, and bikers using the trail each year, Walk on Through is a visual representation of the community it serves.
Welcome to the C District
$2,600, 2004 Seed Award project support
Welcome to the C District used the street as a stage for performances exploring shared public space in Pittsburgh. Audience members experienced a new vision of Liberty Avenue, encountering dancers, singers, and video presentations. By juxtaposing different ideologies and time periods in a single production, the performance dramatized how public space affects city and community vitality.
“Welcome to the Strip” (2004)
Sandy Kessler Kaminski, 2004 Community Murals mural
Every Pittsburgher knows the Strip District as the home of fresh foods from around the world- open air markets, wholesale import outlets, and the many restaurants and taverns that make this community a popular site for daytime and weekend shoppers. The Strip has another side to its personality: As the center of Pittsburgh’s club nightlife. Sandy Kessler Kaminski represents both sides of the coin in her piece Welcome to the Strip. This mural incorporates both of these faces as well as the district’s distinctive features like the impressive Pegasus sculptures that adorn the 16th Street Bridge. Painted some 10 stories above the street, this is the highest placed mural in the Sprout Public Art Program. Welcome to the Strip acts as a landmark for The Strip District that can be seen from the expressways and areas quite a distance away. This mural also serves as a gateway to Pittsburgh’s 16:62 Design Zone that begins at the 16th Street Bridge, the site of this mural. The Design Zone stretches from the 16th Street Bridge to the 62nd Street Bridge in Upper Lawrenceville, and is home to more than 100 shops, galleries, studios, and professional service firms–a fitting home for public art.
“Wheeling Heliocentric Orrery” (2004)
Kevinn Fung, 2004 Community Murals mural
Wheeling Heliocentric Orrery is artist Kevinn Fung’s interpretation of the history of the Lawrenceville area. Beginning on the left of the image with early Native American inhabitants, moving forward to the Civil War soldiers, referencing the Industrial golden age, and finally landing on the contemporary Lawrenceville that is home to a nascent community of artists and designers, the Orrery, a reference to an early solar system model, is represented by the speeding, spinning, spiraling quality of change in time. This mural is placed near the offices of Lawrenceville Corporation, in part of Pittsburgh’s 16:62 Design Zone. The Design Zone stretches from the 16th Street Bridge in the Strip to the 62nd Street Bridge in Upper Lawrenceville, and is home to more than 100 shops, galleries, studios, and professional service firms—a fitting home for public art.
$2,000, 2004 Seed Award project support
Yo’ Mama, written and directed by Heather Arnet, blended elements of theater with dance and yoga to create a compelling portrayal of a young, professional mother in Pittsburgh. The production was well received at the Three Rivers Arts Festival and the Center for Creative Play.
Zany Umbrella Circus
$10,000, 2004 Seed Award project support
Zany Umbrella Circus provided a venue for area performers-including belly dancers, jugglers, and trapeze artists-to hone their skills and cultivate regional growth of animal-free circus performance.