As Pittsburgh neighborhoods, like Lawrenceville, undergo revitalization, art can often reflect changes.
Furniture designer Joe Kelly has been there since the beginning. Kelly spent a lot of time investing in the changes that helped make Lawrenceville one of the city’s most popular – and valuable – neighborhoods.
“Well, this was post-steel industry decline,” Kelly said. “This was a distressed area at that time.”
Kelly said he and other industrial artists in the neighborhood joined forces to boost neighborhood appeal.
“Because Lawrenceville was thought to be a rough neighborhood, we changed the whole perception and branding of the neighborhood,” he said. “I took my entire board of directors to CMU and we went through a whole branding process with the industrial design department.”
Artist Linda Price-Sneddon recently moved back to Pittsburgh. She said she worried about the negative side effects that can sometimes come along with neighborhood revitalization – like getting priced out.
But Kelly said from the beginning, he encouraged local artists to buy their properties.
“Inevitably, artists do get priced out of a neighborhood like this as it grows, but if you own your property, you don’t,” Kelly said.