breaking news

LIVE: In Delray, teens make emotional pleas - we are fed up with gun violence

Pittsburgh is a city with a big art scene


In Pittsburgh, they bring the masterpiece to you. 

"People have been investing in art in public spaces here for over 100 years," says Renee Piechocki, director of Pittsburgh's Office of Public Art. "It's part of that 'city beautiful' movement - you made your cities beautiful to make them more hospitable and show pride in them. That tradition has always been a part of what happens here."  

Pittsburgh has a massive public art presence. Walking through the city, you might see "a sound piece, a light piece, a project that uses community content. That's not the same as putting a bronze statue up," Piechocki says. "There's room for experimentation, and Pittsburgh is a city of inventors."  

Wander anywhere in Pittsburgh and you're likely to bump into some art. But if you want something more structured, the Office of Public Art has a website that lets you plan in advance by helping you create your own walking tour. There, you can arm yourself with more information on the artworks so you can determine the best order in which to see them (for example, an LED-lit bridge is probably more impressive in the evening). Should you want to make your public art experience even easier, however, we built a tour for you - see the route below and find it online at pittsburghartplaces.org.  

1. '(Re)carstruction,' Keny Marshall, 2009  

Marshall took apart a 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and rearranged it into a sphere that sits outside the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The sculpture is interactive; a timer on the side activates solar-powered lights and portals, through which people can peek into the car's interior.  

2. 'Cloud Arbor,' Ned Kahn, 2012  

A waterless fountain, this set of 64 stainless steel poles emits a cloud of fog every few seconds. Depending on the wind and weather, it could rise peacefully up or disperse immediately. Thanks to the constantly changing nature of the shadows and your viewpoint - you can wander around the poles - the artwork is both permanent and constantly changing.  

3. 'Magnolias for Pittsburgh,' Tony Tasset, 2006  

Five live magnolia trees surround two bronze ones, each of which blossoms with around 800 individually painted petals. Even when Pittsburgh's brutal winters shut down the real ones, these trees stand tall.  

4. 'Cell Phone Disco,' Ursula Lavrencic and Auke Touwslager, 2010  

Here, you're the artist. The wall of LED lights is a representation of the electromagnetic waves of cellphones: Each call you make or text you send activates a different pattern in the thousands of lights. So when you text the selfie you took in front of the piece, you'll be sending a picture of an artwork that no longer exists.  

5. 'The Two Andys,' Tom Mosser and Sarah Zeffiro, 2005  

Just one of Pittsburgh's many, many, MANY murals, "The Two Andys" shows two of the city's most famous residents: Andy Warhol and Andrew Carnegie, depicted getting their hair done (Carnegie is also getting ready for a manicure). There's also a small shout-out to another well-known Pittsburgher: Warhol holds a copy of "Fences" by playwright August Wilson, whose most famous works are all set in the city.  

6. 'For Pittsburgh,' Jenny Holzer, 2005  

Try to arrive at this work as evening falls. The artist installed 688 feet of blue LED tubes across the roof of the convention center. Scrolling across them is text from books about Pittsburgh, including John Edgar Wideman's "Homewood Trilogy" and Annie Dillard's "An American Childhood." As new books are written, more text will be added.  

7. 'Energy Flow,' Andrea Polli, 2016  

The Rachel Carson Bridge, one of Pittsburgh's most famous, got a makeover for the city's bicentennial. Sixteen wind turbines use the wind that whips across the Allegheny River to activate more than 27,000 multicolored LED lights that outline the bridge. At times the lights hold steady; other times it looks like a rainbow is trickling down the bridge. (And don't worry if the air is still; the art is backed up by electricity.)


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Small-sized is big on the current RV landscape

MINNEAPOLIS — It took a camper the size of a fish house to address Ron Salargo’s midlife crisis.  To celebrate his 50th birthday last year, the Hopkins resident quit his full-time job as an accounts payable manager to hit the open road in a medium-sized Ford SUV. To affordably and comfortably circumnavigate the country in 82 days,...
They’re Disneyland superfans. Why a lawsuit is alleging gangster-type tactics against one social club

ANAHEIM, Calif. — They stroll through Disneyland in packs of 20 or more, motley crews that resemble a cross between the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and a grown-up Mickey Mouse Club with their Disney-themed tattoos and their matching denim vests strewn with trading pins and logos.  Disneyland social clubs, by most accounts, are harmless...
Hoping for better customer service, travelers turn to Facebook's Messenger

When Karen Korr wanted to change part of her European itinerary, she didn't call Travelocity, her online travel agency. She didn't send an email or a text message, either.  Instead, Korr, who works for a nonprofit organization in San Diego, clicked on Travelocity's Facebook page and sent the company an instant message. She asked if she could make...
The acceleration of #vanlife

Years before #vanlife took on a life of its own across social media in the United States, Bill Staggs was onto something.  He had fond memories, dating to his late-1950s childhood, of family trips in a Volkswagen van. In the early 2000s, he started thinking that others might like to dip their toes into that nomadic lifestyle, chugging along behind...
A bridge now crossed less freely

We were both headed to the bridge, in her case so she could cross back to Mexico after a long day of work, and in mine so I could eat and drink at one of the places I used to go when people still did things like go across the international bridge to eat and drink.  She was an older woman, maybe in her mid-60s, and like so many others she lived...
More Stories