Funded Projects from 2009

“100 Years Young” (2009)
Taylor Shields, 2009 Community Murals mural

Taylor Shields’ 100 Years Young was created while the Borough of Dormont was preparing to celebrate their community’s 100th Centennial. Due to its location on West Liberty Avenue, a highly trafficked artery into the City of Pittsburgh, the wall was a highly visible canvas. For Sprout, a combination of a highly visible wall and a community’s excitement to embrace their history made the selection of the wall in Dormont a logical choice. In the mural’s design, the story of the Dormont community is told through a song sung by Slim Bryant, a famous country western singer from the early days of radio who was a native of the area. The people in the mural represent the people of Dormont today, as they go about everyday activities and enjoy the outdoors. Although Sprout rarely allows communities to display their name in murals, not wanting the pieces to be seen as welcome signage, Shields came up with a sly workaround. She cleverly painted the community’s name within a string of paper dolls, which requires that the viewer reflect on the piece for a moment before realizing it’s there.

Accordion Pool Party
$4,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Accordion Pool Party was a concert and dance event that took place in the decommissioned Leslie Park Pool in Lawrenceville. The event piloted the concept of utilizing forgotten public spaces for social and artistic events in Pittsburgh. Participating partners included Pittsburgh Citiparks, Councilman Patrick Dowd, the Boys and Girls Club, accordion players, ethnic dancers and choreographers, architects, designers, and volunteers.

BRICKS for Young Adults Cancer Awareness Booklet
$6,500 » BRICKS, 2009 Seed Award project support

BRICKS for Young Adults (YA) Cancer Awareness Booklet, a project of BRICKS, connected YA cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers to community resources. The booklet helped those involved manage their battles with cancer by presenting personal narratives alongside information on additional resources. The booklet also worked to reduce the isolation often felt by YA cancer patients and raise public awareness of the disease.

Burgh Bees
$8,000 » Burgh Bees, 2009 Seed Award project support

Burgh Bees, a project of Burgh Bees, was an open beekeeping group that promoted honeybees as a vital part of Pittsburgh’s urban agriculture community.

$4,500 » CommuniTeach, 2009 Seed Award project support

CommuniTeach, a project of CommuniTeach, provided young Pittsburgh residents with an online platform that facilitated free, in-person skill exchanges. Individuals entered skills they could teach and those they wanted to learn into the website and were automatically matched with community members that could exact the exchange. For instance, one could teach swing dancing in exchange for a crash course on cooking breakfast. The website provided a hip and easy way for young people to share their skills and feel connected with others in the community.

Conflict Kitchen
$7,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Conflict Kitchen was a public project that made and served cuisine from countries with which the United States was currently in conflict. The food was served from a take-out style storefront adjacent to the Waffle Shop and Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. The project served as a means of distributing and communicating information that would lead to a greater awareness of the culture in question.

Digital Toys for Math Literacy
$12,000, 2009 Spark project support

Digital Toys for Math Literacy, a project of Propel Schools, was a low cost, kid-friendly object with embedded electronics that enabled young children and their parents to imagine, explore and learn mathematical concepts together. Developed in partnership with Sima Products, the toys could be linked together into multiplayer games challenging kids to use fundamental arithmetic and problem solving skills.

El Camino
$1,000, 2009 Grand Ideas project support

El Camino, created in collaboration with Pittsburgh artists and Latino community members, was an original theater piece exploring ideas of migration through puppetry, parable, and multimedia flights of fancy. Inspired by the true story of a young man’s journey from Honduras to Pittsburgh, the piece was a modern fable rooted in the realities of crossing borders, beginning a new life, finding love, and ultimately enduring detention on a path to deportation.

Flamenco Pittsburgh
$5,000 » Flamenco Pittsburgh, 2009 Seed Award project support

Flamenco Pittsburgh, a project of Flamenco Pittsburgh, was a cultural community resource devoted to promotion, presentation, and education related to flamenco music and dance. In collaboration with community partners including the Guitar Society of Fine Art, Latin American Cultural Union, and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Flamenco Pittsburgh provided connections and resources to help meet the needs of a growing population young flamenco aficionados in Pittsburgh.

Geocaching Curriculum
$7,330, 2009 Spark project support

Geocaching Curriculum, a project of Venture Outdoors, utilized satellite technology and hand-held GPS units to engage children and their caregivers in active outdoor recreation. The project empowered childcare centers to create and run geocaching courses and related programming for their young participants.

“Good Morning” (2009)
Jeff Shreckengost, 2009 Community Murals mural

Jeff Shreckengost’s Good Morning celebrates Morningside, a special neighborhood in that it is mostly residential, and can almost be considered a “hidden” part of the city. Although there is very little that draws in people who don’t already live there, Morningside has a small but vibrant business district. It was the Morningside Area Community Council’s best hope that a mural would help draw attention to their restaurant, coffee shop, and other various other businesses. Because the mural wall is located in close proximity to a park where children in the neighborhood frequently play baseball, the community knew that they wanted the mural to be fun, and something that young people would be entertained by. Artist Jeffrey Shreckengost found the number of garden gnomes throughout the neighborhood amusing, and decided to incorporate them as a playful element in his design. In the composition, the neighborhood is contained within a window that the gnomes fly by on birds, meant to suggest how Morningside is a bit of a hidden treasure that the people of Pittsburgh can peek in on.

gravity + grace
$5,225 » Parkinson Foundation of Western PA, 2009 Seed Award project support

gravity + grace, a project of Parkinson Foundation of Western PA in conjunction with artist Frank Ferraro, presented a series of workshops for gravity + grace, a multimedia dance and music performance that interpreted the struggles of early onset Parkinson’s disease on stage. The workshops blended art therapy and medical expertise to educate and service those suffering from the debilitating disease.

Hazelwood Food Forest
$8,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Hazelwood Food Forest, a project of Pittsburgh Permaculture, was Pittsburgh’s first food forest. An agricultural model involving three or more layers of fruit growth, a food forest is a resource both for growing crops and for learning about biodiversity, ecology and nature. Built out of four adjacent vacant lots in the neighborhood of Hazelwood, the food forest filled the blighted area with lush greenery with its fruit trees, shrubs and perennials, while providing young adults with the knowledge, resources and inspiration to make productive, agricultural change and shape their community for the future.

Here You Go
$3,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Here You Go was a community project that spread and inspired kindness in Pittsburgh. On rainy days, volunteers in various neighborhoods distributed umbrellas to people stuck in the rain. A prepaid postcard attached to each umbrella encouraged the recipient to, in turn, do something kind for someone else, record the story, and send it back. The returned cards were then posted publicly on a blog.

“Introversion Excursion” (2009)
Andy Matia, 2009 Community Murals mural

The application for the 2009 Sprout Public Art project in the Crafton community came from the librarians at the Crafton Public Library, which is housed in the building that the mural was painted on. The building is actually the municipal building for the city of Crafton. In the installation process, Sprout received a great deal of support from public officials and public works, as well as from the people affiliated with the library. Although many strong designs were submitted, what community members liked best about Andy Matia’s design was its ability to capture the imagination. The scene effectively captures the idea of sitting down to have a quiet moment with a book, which becomes the catalyst for greater imaginative explorations. The young people in the mural can be seen engaging on this journey, their ideas visually manifested with many fantastic elements. Because wall is very long, and stretches across a highly trafficked street in Crafton, the mural can be enjoyed not only by people walking to and from the library, but also by the many motorists that pass by the area each day.

Living Together is an Art
$3,000 » Consumer Health Coalition, 2009 Seed Award project support

Living Together is an Art, a project of Consumer Health Coalition, empowered people with all types of disabilities—physical, mental, behavioral, developmental, sensory, and cognitive—focusing on individuals between 18 and 40 years of age. Using the Photovoice technique, the project raised awareness about living with a disability, broke down stigmas, and promoted inclusion to advance the greater Pittsburgh region as a diverse and welcoming community.

Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods
$2,500, 2009 Seed Award project support

Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods was a staged reading by acclaimed Pittsburgh playwright Tammy Ryan that was presented at the gallery at 937 Liberty Avenue, downtown. A work of fiction, the play told the story of a middle class white woman who invited a Sudanese refugee she met in the produce section of Whole Foods to live with her and her teenage daughter. A panel discussion with the Pittsburgh Refugee Center and Pittsburgh’s Darfur Emergency Coalition, among others, followed the performance.

Message from Me!
$15,000, 2009 Spark project support

Message from Me!, a project of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab, was a kiosk prototype that interactively combined digital photography and sound to enable young children to better communicate with parents about their daytime activities at childcare centers by using custom-built age-appropriate interfaces to record and share their daily experiences.

Midnight Radio
$6,000 » Bricolage, 2009 Seed Award project support

Midnight Radio, a project of Bricolage, was Bricolage’s first annual late night summer series. A monthly “live” radio series, the program was set after hours, complete with honey-voiced announcers, commercial breaks, vintage vinyl sound effects and a myriad of Foley props. Each Midnight Radio episode featured the unique talents of Pittsburgh writers, musicians, actors, comics, and city celebrities. As a special feature, the audience was able to choose which serials would continue to the September finale smack down where the writers left standing competed for cash prizes and the opportunity to air their serial on 91.3 WYEP.

Natural Discovery
$11,000, 2009 Spark project support

Natural Discovery, a project of Tender Care Learning Center, took an innovative approach to playground design by creating an interactive kinetic sculpture that used simple mechanics, solar panels, and electrical generators to engage children with technology in its simplest form.

Open Thread
$3,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Open Thread promoted and connected writers and small presses in the region through a small press festival, SPF Pittsburgh, that featured book releases, readings, panel discussions, performances, and a weekend expo of local presses. The group also organized three chapbook contests—one each for Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and West Virginia—and released the finished chapbooks as part of the festival. A second volume of the Open Thread Regional Review was published in late 2009, which printed selected works from regional presses as well as an open call to new artists and writers.

“Our Time” (2009)
Ian Thomas, 2009 Community Murals mural

One of the most successful community mural projects of the 2007 was Sprout’s partnership with the Connect Greenfield! community group. Knowing the organization’s ability to mobilize the community, get a large number of people invested in a project, and participate in the process, Sprout Public Art was excited to see another application from them in 2009. Working with artist Ian Thomas, who had previously painted the 2008 mural in the Strip District, was another second for Sprout in this project. Thomas’s design is based on the abstraction of a lunch pail, a symbol of labor that resonated with Greenfield residents. For Thomas, the image was inspired by an iconic scene described to him by his grandfather: each day when his grandfather arrived home, he would place his large lunch pail on the counter, and the entire family would know that he was there. The mural is located on the side of Hough’s, a local Greenfield business that has become a popular place to eat, drink, and watch Steelers games in the neighborhood. For both Thomas and Sprout, placing a mural in this community hub was a unique opportunity

Out of the Box and Onto the Wall
$15,000, 2009 Spark project support

Out of the Box and Onto the Wall, a project of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, engaged children in visual storytelling by combining cartooning with new technology. Using a touch screen monitor to position cartoon drawings of 75 story elements including backgrounds, costumes, props and character components, children worked together to create a visual story.

Partnered Explorations
$7,500, 2009 Spark project support

Partnered Explorations, a project of the Mattress Factory, used the museum’s permanent light installations by James Turrell to introduce children to the science of light, the scientific method, inquiry, and design.

pghPLAYS Festival of Games
$6,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

pghPLAYS Festival of Games was a three-day festival of street games, obscure sports, and participatory art that celebrated play for the child at heart in every adult. Games were created by Pittsburgh artists and community groups to energize the mind, revitalize the body, and bring serious fun to the city.

Pittsburgh Beautification Project
$1,000, 2009 Grand Ideas project support

Pittsburgh Beautification Project, a project by Bob Ziller, upgraded the visual quality of Pittsburgh’s blighted areas by placing Andy Warhol-inspired paintings over boarded-up windows in the city’s abandoned buildings. Light chipboard plywood was painted and cut to the dimensions of the windows at each beautification site, where colorful, hand-painted versions of Warhol’s iconic Flowers paintings were then installed onto the plywood already covering the windows of each property. The project received media attention from all over the United States, being featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Pittsburgh Power Flowers
$8,500 » Art Energy Design, 2009 Seed Award project support

Pittsburgh Power Flowers, a project of Art Energy Design, combined working solar, wind, and water technologies in 12-foot tall transportable, kinetic, self-illuminating sculptures. The sculptures regulated and stored power and were available for a wide variety of public uses and community events. The project linked art, technology, and ecology and provided approachable, unthreatening focal points to introduce resource-saving ideas.

The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival
$7,500, 2009 Seed Award project support

The Pittsburgh Visionary Arts Festival brought more than 50 local artists and art innovators together in a single venue. For three full days, these artists shared their work, visions, and unique ideas in a friendly outdoor festival setting. The VAF featured a rich diversity of minds from a variety of mediums, including painting, mixed media, sound art, recycled art, and more.

Pop Up Pittsburgh: Uptown on the Move!
$5,000 » Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., 2009 Seed Award project support

Pop Up Pittsburgh - Uptown on the Move!, a project of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., hosted a traveling block party that highlighted the exciting developments and opportunities in Uptown. Circling the “superblock” bound by Fifth Avenue, Gist Street, Locust Street, and Miltenberger Street, the party featured art exhibitions, live music, a theatrical premiere, open houses, an oral history presentation, a local food cook-off, family activities in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Museum, and more.

$14,000, 2009 Spark project support

RePlayMyPlay, a project of Deren Guler, was an energy-harvesting play exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center that converted the mechanical energy from the motion of children’s play into electric power.

ROYGBIV Festival
$3,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

ROYGBIV Festival presented kinetic and sound artists in a series of performances, lectures, and workshops at The Nerve in Bloomfield. Kinetic Pittsburgh-based artists Joshua Space and Greg Witt combined creative forces with musical groups DRMWPN, from Chicago, and Neptune, from Boston, to fuse sound and robotics in direct dialogue. The musicians and artists were available throughout the weekend to present and discuss their work.

A Season of Violence
$4,433 » Phase 3 Productions, 2009 Seed Award project support

A Season of Violence, a project of Phase 3 Productions, explored the causes and effects of real violence on real people. First, Roberto Zucco portrayed violence through the eyes of a serial killer. Then, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me presented the conflicted story of three men kidnapped in Lebanon. Last, Lion in the Streets followed the ghost of a murdered girl as she walked the streets.

Signs of Me
$4,000, 2009 Spark project support

Signs of Me, a project of Carley Jean Parrish, partnered with neighborhood civic organizations to run workshops in which children designed and fabricated their own street signs to mark favorite places in their communities.

Spring Service Crawl
$3,000, 2009 Seed Award project support

Spring Service Crawl was a web-based community of young professionals, donors, and nonprofits where invited young professionals to serve in the community in exchange for student loan payments sponsored by donors. The Spring Service Crawl program engaged 30 young professionals in community service at various organizations in Pittsburgh. Participants received $20 per hour, up to a maximum of ten hours. tracked their community service and transferred payments directly to the participants’ student loan accounts upon completion of the Service Crawl.

Story Box Project
$7,600, 2009 Spark project support

Story Box Project, a project of SLB Radio Productions, was an interactive, electronic storytelling device that used emerging audio and photography technologies to capture and share authentic voices of children storytellers while teaching children media literacy. More than 100 Storyboxes were placed in public spaces, schools, museums, and community centers in Allegheny County.

“Thoughts on a Blue Sky” (2009)
John Pena & Brian Brown, 2009 Community Murals mural

The Lawrenceville Public Art Committee was an interesting group for Sprout Public Art to work with, in that the many artists and studios located in the neighborhood generated a great deal of community energy around art. With this project, they hoped to find their footing as a group and take on other local art initiatives. Artist John Pena’s design concept for this project invites the viewer into the composition—his hope being that people will stand in front of their mural to have their portraits taken. The thought balloons in the mural will become the thoughts of the person posing for the portrait, and as these balloons gradually turn into clouds, the mural merges with the actual sky behind it. Through this process, the person’s ideas can become a part of the sky itself. Pena intended the “Fig. 1.3.” text to mean whatever the viewer wants it to mean, giving his audience freedom of interpretation. Now, an unintended surprise of this project is that there are often cars parked in the vicinity of the mural. This makes it look as if the cars themselves are thinking, and opens up an entirely new world of possibility for viewers!

“troy loves hill” (2009)
Carolyn Kelly, 2009 Community Murals mural

Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill is a traditionally German neighborhood with colorful history. Artist Carolyn Kelly captured these historic elements in her 2009 Sprout Public Art mural, unifying them with a tree. Each painted leaf represents a different aspect of the area’s past, ranging from the Heinz Corporation, by which Troy Hill residents have often been employed, to St. Anthony’s Church, which contains the second largest collection of relics in the world—topped only by the Vatican. An incline that no longer stands in Troy Hill is commemorated, as is Pittsburgh’s famous Penn Brewery, known for its annual German Oktoberfest celebration. Kelly also depicted “Pig Hill,” or Troy Hill’s Rialto St., which was known for pigs being led to slaughter on Washington’s Landing. Kelly’s mural puts a more positive twist on this piece of Troy Hill’s past, showing the pigs instead escaping from the hill. In her painting process, Kelly allowed some of the signage that had existed on the wall prior the mural’s installation to remain as a design element that can be seen through the new composition. In this way, history wasn’t taken away but rather became a part of the mural: an idea wholly in tune with its greater theme.