Funded Projects from 2011
5416-20 Penn Ave Installation
$1,500, 2011 Seed Award project support
5416-20 Penn Ave Installation was an artistic intervention to a citywide problem of vacancy. The project installed a screen along 5416-20 Penn Avenue that covered an empty lot and a vacant building to create continuity along the avenue and draw attention to art and a community development solution, rather than vacant lots and buildings. When future construction took place on the lot, the project was able to disassemble and reassemble at other locations. The design project was painted and assembled by community members, local leaders, artists, designers, university students, and volunteers from Winchester Thurston High School.
Accessible Music Performance Software for Children
$15,000, 2011 Spark project support
Accessible Music Performance Software for Children, a project of the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, was an interactive system built to enable children with special healthcare needs to perform music. The project was developed with the assistance of music teachers and students at The Children’s Institute and Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children.
Apps4Kids.org from PlayPower!
$25,000, 2011 Spark project support
Apps4Kids.org from PlayPower! was a suite of new mobile applications that engaged, educated and empowered young children through a portfolio of creative applications designed to support participatory play and learning between parents and children.
$50,000, 2011 Spark project support
Baby Promise, a project of the Kingsley Association, was an interactive literacy program that connected underserved families with educational resources to teach literacy to children aged 6 years and under. The program also provided technological literacy education to parents and care providers and enabled them to create new learning experiences for children as they transitioned into formal schooling.
Big Idea Community Curation
$4,940 » The Big Idea Cooperative, 2011 Seed Award project support
Big Idea Community Curation, a project of The Big Idea Cooperative, created community curated sections as a way of reaching out and establishing formal connections with other local activist organizations, as well as providing educational resources and events that better fill the needs of their supporters. The Community Curation Program spread the word about other local organizations doing good work, while continuing to promote ideas of community and social justice as they had for the past decade.
Book ’Em Branch Out
$1,000 » Thomas Merton Center, 2011 Grand Ideas project support
Book ’Em Branch Out, a project of Thomas Merton Center, was a collaborative art, fundraising, and public engagement initiative that created dialogue among local residents about how high levels of incarceration are affecting communities and contributed to building a sustained community driven response. The project increased the capacity and sustainability of the Book ‘Em Books-to-Prisoners project by finding allies and community members who were willing to invest in the project’s mission.
Building Interest in Buildings
$5,000 » Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC), 2011 Seed Award project support
Building Interest in Buildings, a project of Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC), organized forward-looking narratives around a plethora of vacant buildings in Brownsville and presented over a thousand recently donated historic photographs of the community. Participants and area residents were invited to complete the sentence “I wish this were…” relative to the vacant buildings that will house a series of exhibits displaying the recently donated photographs. The event built community members’ exposure to buildings in Brownsville, renovated or not, and invited them to enjoy historic photographs while participating in a simple redevelopment ‘brain-storming’ activity.
Camino: A Hiawatha Project original play
$7,500 » Hiawatha Project, 2011 Seed Award project support
Camino, a Hiawatha Project original play, was a play about borders, boundaries, and undocumented immigrants in 21st-century Pittsburgh. Set in an imagined near future infused with GPS maps, lost migrating birds, and star-crossed lovers, Camino was inspired by two young Latino immigrants in Pittsburgh whose lives were torn asunder by the American immigrant deportation system. The play exposed the booming business of private immigrant detention centers in the United States and in doing so, illuminated questions of survival and connectedness. The performance was written and directed by Anya Martin and featured an ensemble cast of established and emerging Pittsburgh actors. Camino was the debut performance of Hiawatha Project, an innovative new theater company at that time.
Car Free Streets Event at Pedal Pittsburgh
$5,000 » Lanterne Rouge LLC, 2011 Seed Award project support
Car Free Streets Event at Pedal Pittsburgh, a project of Lanterne Rouge LLC, was a closed streets ride for recreational cyclists. Called a “ciclovia,” this new event was featured during the 2012 Pedal Pittsburgh ride. By expanding to embrace the racing and non-racing community, the ciclovia created an outlet to share a passion for cycling with others in the region, from elite racers to recreational cyclists, adults and youth. This festive event was a prime opportunity to showcase local Pittsburgh businesses who supported an active and healthy lifestyle. This event was in keeping with the goal of a non-competitive bicycle ride that was open to activity on a car-free course for bicycles, pedestrians, and all to enjoy. Lanterne Rouge worked diligently with Bike Pittsburgh to create a car-free family portion of Pedal Pittsburgh in 2012 that created a base for a 2013 Open Streets Event.
Children’s Innovation Project
$44,200, 2011 Spark project support
Children’s Innovation Project, a project of CREATE Lab, produced a kit of electric circuitry components designed for young hands to engage young children in broad interdisciplinary learning, with a focus on creative exploration, expression and innovation with technology. Using the kit to hack and remix familiar electrical devices, Children made connections to objects in their world through disassembling toys, identifying and then re-purposing and reconfiguring their internal components into new inventions.
City of Champions Million Steps Challenge
$1,000, 2011 Grand Ideas project support
City of Champions Million Steps Challenge was a large-scale public fitness event that challenged participants to accelerate a healthier lifestyle by counting every step as they engaged in a variety of energetic and fun-filled activities. The goal was to collectively total one million steps at this event while motivating participants to continue to make healthier choices in their personal fitness goals. Participants engaged in a variety of fitness activities and tracked the number of steps they took during this event on September 10, 2011 at the YMCA Homewood.
Comics Reading Room and Courtyard
$7,500 » ToonSeum, 2011 Seed Award project support
Comics Reading Room and Courtyard, a project of ToonSeum, was a publicly accessible courtyard in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District at 945 Liberty Avenue. The courtyard was identified by its iconic Jazz Musician statues and featured café tables, outdoor exhibition space, audio, a mini café, a stage for comics reading events and performances, and access to more than 1,000 comics, manga, and comic-related research materials. A space within the ToonSeum was dedicated to that library and provided year-round access to comics and cartoon research. There was also a special section dedicated to local comic creators.
Connellsville Caboose Welcome Center
$4,000 » Student Conservation Association Trail Town Outreach Corps, 2011 Seed Award project support
Connellsville Caboose Welcome Center, a project of Student Conservation Association Trail Town Outreach Corps, converted an unused caboose at the northern trailhead into a welcome center to promote an increase in trail user traffic in the city of Connellsville. The project involved the restoration of the caboose façade, the conversion of the interior into an informational area, and the creation of a welcome sign mural. The completed Connellsville Welcome Center allowed trail users to take respite in a welcoming space and provided access to essential information about dining, lodging, and other businesses and amenities in the city.
Digital Discovery Room
$50,000, 2011 Spark project support
Digital Discovery Room, a project of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, was an online resource for children ages 3 to 8 to supplement their outdoor explorations in and out of school. Children visited the Digital Discovery Room at the Museum or via the internet to explore GIGAPAN photographs of local parks to identify flora, fauna, and geological features they encounter, upload their own digital images and videos from the field and communicate with Museum naturalists to identify organisms and learn more about life in their own backyard.
$4,500 » Flock of Cycles, 2011 Seed Award project support
Flock Parties, a project of Flock of Cycles, were slow paced, family friendly group bicycle rides that focused on having fun while encouraging and exemplifying safe road use. Accompanied by music, groups pedaled through easy, pre-planned routes and concluded with post-ride parties at a different location each month. Flock Parties brought people together from many different neighborhoods, cultures, and socioeconomic classes with the shared goal of wanting to ride bikes in a safe, supportive, fun environment.
Fossils: Evidence of Queer Life in Pittsburgh
$1,500, 2011 Seed Award project support
Fossils: Evidence of Queer Life in Pittsburgh was a week-long extravaganza of queer history, storytelling, creating, and dreaming. Participants unearthed and explored Pittsburgh’s GLBTQ past and experienced the community’s pivotal role in challenging contemporary social issues. Fossils spotlighted a number of queer artists, performers, activists, and community members and exhibited “fossils,” visual representations submitted by visitors to document their presence and the existence of queer life in Pittsburgh. Part of Future Tenant Gallery’s “Trespass” residency series, “Fossils” was curated by Pittsburgh-based artist Dani Lamorte.
Greene Arc Green Art
$3,500 » Greene Arc, Inc., 2011 Seed Award project support
Greene Arc Green Art, a project of Greene Arc, Inc., was a collaborative project with Greene County artist Kyle Hallam that engaged developmentally disabled adults in art projects that utilized recyclable trash. Designed to improve Greene Arc clients’ sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, the artistic creations were sold at the recycling center in Ruff Creek, PA, as well as in local galleries and at regional festivals. Larger wall assemblages were displayed at the GARC facility, in Ryerson State Park, and at the welcome center on Interstate 79 to educate the public about creative uses of recycled materials and sustainability practices.
Greensboro Farmers Fair and Market Celebration of Agriculture
$2,500 » Nathanael Greene Historical Foundation, 2011 Seed Award project support
Greensboro Farmers Fair and Market Celebration of Agriculture, a project of Nathanael Greene Historical Foundation, celebrated local agriculture and provided family-friendly programming, including live music and children’s art activities. Set in the Greensboro gazebo along the Monongahela River, the weekly event allowed participants to stroll along the Nathanael Greene Trail before enjoying a cup of fair trade coffee, fresh baked pastries, and other locally grown foods.
Hands On Handmade
$4,000 » Handmade Arcade, 2011 Seed Award project support
Hands On Handmade, a project of Handmade Arcade, was a newly created participatory component to Handmade Arcade providing an opportunity for partnerships with local artists and nonprofit arts organizations. The project augmented the already popular and award-winning event at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. Situated on-site, the Hands-on Handmade area offered a variety of short and day-long drop-in interactive programs.
$49,502, 2011 Spark project support
Hello Robo!, a project of the Carnegie Science Center, introduced robotics in 131 Head Start classrooms in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties and at Family Science Events at the Science Center. During classroom visits, Carnegie Science Center staff educators led hands-on activities to help students build and use simple robotic kits they were then able to keep to utilize in other lessons throughout the school year.
Help Bring Back Your Community Theatre
$2,995 » Community Reel Arts Center, 2011 Seed Award project support
Help Bring Back Your Community Theatre, a project of Community Reel Arts Center, recruited local Stowe Rocks residents to volunteer their time by cleaning out the Parkway Theater that has been shut down for over 25 years. This restoration was a central part of broader redevelopment projects in Stowe Township, a member of the Allegheny Together Program. The theater project, combined with additional revitalization efforts, worked to attract new retail shops and restaurants to the area.
Hill District Marketpieces
$8,500 » Hill House Association, 2011 Seed Award project support
Hill District Marketpieces, a project of Hill House Association, celebrated the renowned cultural and culinary history of the Hill District. Commissioned by the Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, artist Leslie Ansley created interior and exterior artworks for the highly anticipated Shop n’ Save supermarket in the Hill District. The store invited a new creative shopping experience for the community as it featured images of the Hill District, its residents past and present, and its food stories.
In The Wake
$3,200, 2011 Seed Award project support
In The Wake was a printed newspaper-style catalogue for the photography exhibition In the Wake. The work from this series focused on documenting the people, towns, landscapes, and industrial sites of the Monongahela Valley and the realities of the American Dream. The newspaper was used to show the photographs in an accessible way in the communities the images document. Newspapers were distributed in stands, stores, restaurants and public buildings in the 14 cities and towns that In the Wake has documented.
Intergenerational Mentoring Program for African American Males
$5,000 » East End United Community Center, 2011 Seed Award project support
Intergenerational Mentoring Program for African American Males, a project of East End United Community Center, provided male role models, mentoring, and cultural experience to young African American men in the Uniontown area, with a focus on the East End community. The project paired young men, 12-15 years of age with older African American men who were participating in the East End Senior Citizens Group and East End Concerned Citizen. The program was based on an existing evidenced based model titled Maturing Africans Learning from Each Other (MALE), created originally as a rites of passage program to encourage older adult African American males to have substantive conversations that cover topics from relationships, health, historical experiences, etc. This program was adapted successfully towards having older African American men work with their younger counterparts.
Love Poem for Water
$1,000, 2011 Grand Ideas project support
Love Poem for Water, a project by Vanessa German, was an audience-interactive multimedia performance built around the spoken word opera. German, a multidisciplinary artist, wrote and performed the intense, soul-filled twelve-minute piece which made the audience part of the performance as “water” in the form of long, flowing, blue cloth cascaded off of the stage and into the hands of audience members, activating light, sound, and texture. Viewers were invited to consider the place and significance of water in their lives, bodies, and communities as they listened to German’s monologues on her encounters with mankind’s most essential liquid.
The Luna Park Project
$3,550 » The Society for the Advancement of Miniature Curiosa, 2011 Seed Award project support
The Luna Park Project, a project of The Society for the Advancement of Miniature Curiosa, was an interdisciplinary excavation of Pittsburgh’s past, present, and future. Luna Park was the first of Frederick Ingersoll’s Trolley Parks constructed in 1905. Just four years later, it burned down, never to be built again. That sixteen acre forgotten site is located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. Puppeteer Zach Dorn and playwright Murphi Cook resurrected Luna Park in a four part project: an academic lecture series, an installation that includes a gallery of Luna Park artifacts, a theatrical spectacular, and a virtual exhibit about Luna Park. The project was housed at the Brew House on the South Side.
The MakeShop Show
$50,000, 2011 Spark project support
The MakeShop Show, a project of The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, was a series of digital shows made by and for kids under the direction of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Schmutz Company, with support from the Arts Education Collaborative, Pittsburgh Community Television and other creative partners. MakeShop Media was the first children’s media program to invite children into the vibrant “maker” culture, a national movement of tinkerers, inventors, creators and innovators inspired by Make Magazine and Maker Faire.
Marcellus Shale Documentary Project
$10,000, 2011 Seed Award project support
Marcellus Shale Documentary Project told the stories, through photographic images, of how the lives of Pennsylvanians have been and may continue to be affected by the gas Industry brought in by the Marcellus Shale. The project photographically documented the results of drilling, positive and negative, to create a visual representation of the environmental, social, and economic impact of drilling in Pennsylvania. In doing so, the project provided public access to information and increased understanding of the issues, while also providing important historical images for the future. The work was compiled into a travelling exhibition that open at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA), with accompanying lectures and a book. The photographs were archived physically and electronically at PCA.
Musicians with a Mission
$4,500, 2011 Seed Award project support
Musicians with a Mission encouraged talented musicians to share their gifts with patients and their caregivers. One of the main goals of the project was to improve the quality of life of the elderly, who are living longer lives than ever before, but often in loneliness and isolation. Musicians with a Mission sought to take two large groups that often spend significant time in isolation – musicians and the elderly – and encourage them to enjoy mutual companionship in the context of good music.
Nomadic College Design Headquarters
$5,500 » The Saxifrage School, 2011 Seed Award project support
Nomadic College Design Headquarters, a project of The Saxifrage School, expanded the organization’s work envisioning an affordable new college in Pittsburgh by setting up roaming headquarters in the three neighborhoods they were assessing as potential campuses (Millvale, Lower Northside, and the East End). They set up shop in donated, vacant spaces that were part office, part public art space, and part classroom. In accordance with the school’s philosophy of productive inquiry, there was a balance of making things and considering ideas.
$7,500, 2011 Seed Award project support
The Pittsburgh Press was a journalistic project of hip-hop artist Jasiri X that highlighted issues related to the City of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Press utilized the musical phenomenon of hip-hop to address issues of disparity, poverty, violence, and the social environment. A master at bringing important issues to light and sparking dialogue, Jasiri X delivered these issues to the community with videos and discussion forums including “America’s Most Livable City”, “City of Steel”, “Jordan Miles”, and “Is Pittsburgh America’s Most Livable City? (Parts 1-7)”.
$5,000, 2011 Seed Award project support
Pyrotopia was Pittsburgh’s first annual festival of fire arts, and the first of its kind on the East Coast. Pyrotopia presented the diverse artistic uses of fire and celebrated man’s primal fascination with flames. Pyrotopia entertained and enchanted attendees with the use of fire and related media, such as electricity and light in artistic ways. The festival included fire dancing, spinning, hooping, and swallowing; interactive fire sculptures and games; a gallery show of fire-related and inspired imagery, sculpture, video and other media; workshops and lectures on fire science, history, and safety; and more.
Ready Freddy Virtual Welcome to Kindergarden
$15,000, 2011 Spark project support
Ready Freddy Virtual Welcome to Kindergarden, a project of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, was a virtual space where children and their parents could prepare for the start of school by visiting an interactive web-based children’s book that takes children through the process of getting ready for school and shows them what their first day might be like.
Reuse Fest Event and Collection
$5,000 » Pennsylvania Resources Council, 2011 Seed Award project support
ReuseFest Event and Collection, a project of Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), was a one day collection, material exchange, and educational event that focused on the importance of material reuse. ReuseFest used the experience and expertise that PRC developed in holding over 100 successful Household Hazardous Waste, Pharmaceutical and Hard to Recycle collections to benefit not only the residents of the region, but also local non-profits by increasing awareness of reuse focused nonprofits in the region while diverting materials from local landfills. The event was held in late summer of 2012 at the South Side Works and served as a drop off for reusable materials, materials exchange or swap meet, a recycling event, and an education tool to engage the general public in how reuse helps the environment, local organizations, low income families, and those in need thousands of miles away.
Romibo Robot Project
$10,000, 2011 Spark project support
Romibo Robot Project, a project of Aubrey Shick of Origami Robotics, was an open source community-facilitated robot platform for exploring and enacting therapeutic behaviors while educating the public about special needs and technology.
Snow, Ice and Art
$5,000 » Friends of Ohiopyle State Park, 2011 Seed Award project support
Snow, Ice and Art, a project of Friends of Ohiopyle State Park, offered a new glimpse into the winter season through programs such as Winterfest, Winter Summits for students, and a workshop for local teachers that introduced new ways of investigating ice and snow to interpret climate change data. Participants were invited to capture and digitize images of snowflakes; create ice-thin sections and investigate crystals; explore snow pits’ density and temperature; build snow shelters called quinzees; and participate in a winter ecology hike, including a scavenger hunt. The involved educators initially learned these science skills at the History of Winter Workshop provided by NASA in Lake Placid, NY.
$3,000 » The Church Institute, 2011 Seed Award project support
Sustainable.Clean.Water, a project of The Church Institute, increased awareness of, and public activity in, water conservation through the construction and programming of a Rain Water Harvesting system. The project included three activities: (1) public workshops on what is currently being done at the Church Institute, its long term goals, and the implementation of the Water Harvesting project, (2) documenting the construction of the Water Harvesting project, and (3) a closing walk-through (video tour) of the project with a public presentation coinciding with the Art Blast on the Mon festival on Labor Day Weekend in Greensboro.
“Trolley Stop” (2011)
Brian Brown, 2011 Community Murals mural
It makes for a meaningful collaboration when the community applicant is also the property owner, as is the case with Family Resources, an organization committed to the prevention of child abuse, offering a wall for this 2010 Sprout Public Art project. Members of the East Liberty community wanted a mural that illustrated their great diversity as a community and paid tribute to the people of East Liberty themselves. Artist Brian Brown’s proposal to paint portraits of dozens of actual East Liberty community members, working from photographs who volunteered to represent their community, was an idea that particularly resonated with them. As of this writing, the community eagerly awaits Brian’s faithful renditions of the actual people in East Liberty.
Upper Mon River Towns Public Art Program
$5,000 » Pennsylvania Environmental Council, 2011 Seed Award project support
Upper Mon River Towns Public Art Program, a project of Pennsylvania Environmental Council, was an initiative to encourage communities along the Monongahela River to relate to the river in a new way and to provide a welcoming element for visitors. The effort installed two new public art projects in the towns of Point Marion (Fayette County) and Greensboro (Greene County). Regional artists were selected by the host communities on the basis of their creativity in capturing the region’s transforming relationship—from industrial to recreational—with the river.
Vision for Living Activity Group
$2,600 » Fayette County Association for the Blind, 2011 Seed Award project support
Vision for Living Activity Group, a project of Fayette County Association for the Blind, was an activity group for blind and low vision residents from Fayette County to provide them with a comfortable, safe, fun, interactive way to develop friendships with new people while they were becoming more physically active. The project helped them with the problems that they faced including isolation, depression, fear, and anxiety while providing them with a form of physical activity.
$4,900, 2011 Seed Award project support
War Dialogues facilitated a reconciliation process between veterans and refugees of current wars using creative expression to transcend language and cultural boundaries and the unnamed barriers that occur when attempting to express a traumatic experience. Veterans and refugees were connected and met regularly in pairs to communicate about their experiences on different sides of the same war or wars using different types of creative expression. As artwork was created, it was displayed periodically in an attempt to engage a larger local audience, reminding them that we are present in their communities.
Where is the Culture?
$5,000 » Guiding Star Dance Foundation, 2011 Seed Award project support
Where is the Culture?, a project of Guiding Star Dance Foundation, addressed the racial and religious divides erected by normal people either blinded by rigid social norms or fearful of change. In Where is the Culture?, an Indian immigrant discovers that traditional Indian values-such as respect for elders, honesty in relationships, and appreciation of art-have been disregarded among his Indian family residing in India. Other surprises surface, which ultimately provide the protagonist with a catalyst to persuade his family to reject anger and division and embrace love and acceptance.
$10,000, 2011 Spark project support
WordPlay, a project of The Fred Rogers Company, presented a series of educational posters for advertising windows in bus shelters that provided children and their caregivers with cues for entering into conversations, stories, songs, and other language games as well as call, text, and app-based gaming options.