art

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Look around any Rust Belt city and you can see the effects of urban decay. There's aging infrastructure, blighted buildings and abandoned homes. Even as cities begin to see a resurgence, it can be hard to shake the physical legacy of decades of decline.

But if you think post-industrial decay is hard to overcome, try something even more traumatic, like a dictatorship or, say, World War II. Some European cities have found a way to revive public spaces and re-engage the community in civic life, all while remediating the physical toll left by history.

Bob Studebaker (L), Sidewall Project (R)

A Pittsburgh artist, who prefers to be known simply as “Brick,” has been displaying art on an exterior wall of her house in Bloomfield for more than two years.

She refers to it as “The Sidewall Project,” and it began as an opportunity for artists to have their work displayed in a public space.

The current exhibit was created by Richard Pell and is a familiar sight to many Pittsburghers.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

If you tell Christian Morris a story, he’ll give you an ear. Literally.

“It’s kind of weird to hold a 2-inch ear in your hand… I made them as a gift to people that I interview, because it’s like, you give me your story I’ll give you this,” he said.  

The ceramic ears, which come in an array of blues, greens and purples, are tokens Morris gives to people he speaks with as part of a public art project called Practices of Listening.

Hannah Altman

Since she was two, Alexandra Bodnarchuk wanted to dance.  

Westmoreland Museum of American Art / Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection

From life-sized "cigar store Indians" to antique portraits and even a few hand-carved merry-go-round animals, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art is putting 19th century American folk art in the spotlight this summer and fall.

90.5 WESA’s Noah Brode spoke with chief curator Barbara Jones about the significance of the "Shared Legacy" exhibit.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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Sean Brown knows his way around a candy shop.

"My candy knowledge is pretty crazy," he says. "Put me up against anyone in a candy battle — and I'll beat them."

But Brown is less interested in the candy than the wrappers. For the past five years, this Philly-based artist and (full disclosure!) former neighbor of mine, has been transforming the refuse from Skittles, Tootsie Pops, Starburst, Mamba — and whatever other candy he can get his hands on — into works of art.

Kris Knieriem / Hightail

Volunteers painted a vibrant mural at Propel Pitcairn charter school Wednesday in hopes of encouraging students to read more.

 Artist Lynne Mack said she hopes her colorful work, featuring bright-eyed animals gathering books, will inspire kids to read.

“Everything I do, I make gender neutral so that it appeals to both boys and girls,” she said. “They get so excited, they’ll touch it and point to (the animals). They just get so excited about seeing it.”

The mural is on a wall near the entrance to a first grade classroom, so students in all grades will walk past it.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

 

Former Gov. Ed Rendell and the artists who created 57 painted donkeys installed before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia are at odds over donkey dollars.

Caryn Kunkle, an advocate for the artists, is upset because only four of the donkeys will be auctioned off to pay the artists. Kunkle contends the agreement with the convention's host committee, 
which Rendell headed, called for all of the donkeys to be auctioned off to help pay the artists, who already received $1,000 per sculpture.

Cafe Con Leche

For more than two years, Café Con Leche has promoted Latino artists and culture in Pittsburgh.

It also hosts an artist-in-residency program.

“Art is a language and I think that it doesn’t necessarily function in the same way that our spoken language does,” said multimedia artist Hoesy Corona. “Which means that it can really enter us in a different way.”

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA

About 100 teens, many of them covered in splattered paint, gathered at the corner of North Homewood Avenue and Idlewild Street in Homewood on Tuesday.

When we think about the good life, art and food rank pretty high in importance. (OK, we at The Salt might be a little biased.) So it seems only natural that the two mix. Foods crop up in all kinds of art — from ancient Egyptian tomb walls to European still life paintings.

But in art, an apple isn't always just an apple. Many foods carry specific meanings for different global artistic traditions, and those meanings can change over time.

How well do you understand the secret language of foods in art? Take this quiz to find out.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Bright bursts of color splattered concrete floors, canvas-covered walls and the gray sweatpants of former Pittsburgh Steeler Baron Batch at his Point Breeze art studio on Monday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Children have encountered a curious pair of miniature doors in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Birds for decades.

“People were constantly turning those doorknobs,” said Becca Shreckengast, the museum’s director of exhibition experience. “They are very attractive doors. They are small, hobbit-sized doors, child-sized doors, so there was already this built-in mystery, like, ‘Why is there this little door?’”

   The arts festival this weekend has us channeling our inner Bob Ross. WESA’s Josh and Sarah and Yelp Pittsburgh’s Rachel are here to fill you in on what you will be up to this weekend, with a little help from some famous Bob Ross quotes.

Erica Dilcer / heatherkropf.com

When talking about working on the album “Chrysalis,” producer Jeff Berman sounds like he’s describing a painting.

“Sculpting out the motion of the piece,” Berman said. “The overtones of that piano. The way that interacted with the rhythm section and helped us sculpt the landscape, we created a musical environment for that tune. The guitars add another part that would add a certain internal motion.”

Kim McAninch

  A non-traditional business model is helping to bring together a local artist and a wide range of prospective clients.

Marie Silver lives in San Diego but was able to discover and connect with an artist from Pittsburgh through an app on her phone. Kim McAninch lives and works Downtown and loves the freedom and flexibility that her online presence affords her.

Guster / Facebook

It was love at first tweet.

At the request of the band, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined 91.3 WYEP's Brian Siewiorek on Wednesday to announce the headlining act for this year's Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Guster will take the stage Friday, June 10. 

The band, which hails from Boston, Mass. requested an introduction by the mayor after Guster played a short acoustic set in front of dumpster on the North Side earlier this year.

Virginia Alvino / 90.5 WESA News

Henry Clay Frick’s fine art collection became open to the public decades ago. Now, that access goes much further than an in-person visit.

Thursday, Pittsburgh's Frick Museum launched its partnership with Google. 

The Google Cultural Institute is like the world’s biggest museum – but it’s all housed online. From Monet’s water lilies to street art, anyone can access high-resolution images and curated collections.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Ellen Gozion of Pittsburgh folk band The Early Mays saw her first crankie at a music festival in West Virginia.

“As soon as I saw them, I fell in love with them and I decided I would make one,” she said. “I knew that there had been scattered crankie (festivals) throughout the country, so I immediately thought we’re going to do that in Pittsburgh.”

It took several years, but the first ever Pittsburgh Crankie Fest is this weekend at the Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square.

Scott Roller / pittburghparks.org

Pittsburgh City Council has taken the first step toward renaming Cliffside Park in the Hill District to honor the late Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson.

A unanimous committee vote on Wednesday paved the way for final passage of the proposal to rename the park “August Wilson Park.”

Citiparks Director Jim Griffin said he was pleased with the decision, but he had just one question.

Njaimeh Njie / Cafe Con Leche

A new residency program is aiming to bring more Latino artists to Pittsburgh and diversify the city's art scene. 

Latinos make up about 17 percent of the country’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but in 2010, only accounted for 2 percent of Pittsburgh’s population.

Tara Sherry-Torres, founder of Cafe Con Leche, which works to bring together the city's Latino community, said Pittsburgh's not on par with the growing Latino populations seen in other major metropolitan cities.

Appalasia

AppalAsia is one of those artistic ventures which, seemingly, could only happen in Pittsburgh. The musical blend of Appalachian and ancient Chinese folk music stems from three artists with very different musical backgrounds. 

Mimi Jong plays the erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument that has been a part of Chinese folk music for a millennium.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

November is national blogging month and to celebrate, Most Wanted Fine Art (MWFA) is teaming up with Pittsburgh bloggers to honor their contributions to the "Burghosphere," by giving out awards for the first time.

Propeller Group/CMOA

The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music is a new video exhibit opening at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art on Friday. Created by the artist collective The Propeller Group, the lush film both documents and stages funeral traditions and public wake ceremonies in South Vietnam.

    First off, Rachel has never seen the Big Lebowski. Let’s all just take a moment and let that sink in.

Also, Josh had a birthday recently. Happy Birthday! Let’s party with some great events brought to you by Social Club.

Carnegie Museum of Art is bringing you Hops and Hopper event celebrating the great American artist Edward Hopper! Lots of different breweries will be on tap, including Grist House Brewing, Hitchhiker Brewing and more! Come on down Saturday night!

The Caring Place

Their grief sways between heartbreak and humor.

“Children want healing,” said Krista Ball, child grief specialist with the Highmark Caring Place. “They share their stories with us. They open up and talk to us about what’s going on, and other times we’re just laughing and playing and having fun together. It could be something as simple as a finger painting, but for them, there’s so much meaning.”

Although many activities children enjoy are fads, others endure through the generations.

The work of Eric Carle, author and illustrator of several children’s books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” published in 1969, is one of those enduring elements that children have enjoyed for several decades.  Starting June 13th at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, kids can experience Carle’s work through the interactive exhibit “Very Eric Carle.”

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The 2015 Three Rivers Arts Festival officially got underway at noon Friday in Point State Park.

Art and music lovers were already milling about even before 12 p.m., as the festival’s first band, locals Black Little Birds, sound checked.

Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History will once again open up their doors to all, with free admission Thursday evenings throughout March.

Spokesperson Leigh Kish said the free evenings are courtesy of the Jack Buncher Foundation.

“(The museums are) a big part of the community and we want everyone from the community to come in, knowing full well that price might be a barrier, or admission might (make it) difficult to bring a family,” Kish said.

Josh Staiger / Flickr

In a recent opinion piece for the Tribune Review, pop culture correspondent Joe Wos questions whether we’re seeing the death of the art museumRobin Nicholson, Director of The Frick, Jo Ellen Parker, President of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and Joe Wos talk about the future of art museums.

“You know they just had museum selfie day, you know where people came in and used art as backdrops to selfies and I think that’s the risk you run. Yes you want to embrace the technology but you don’t want to devalue the experience completely,” says Wos.

Robin rebuts by saying, “I love museum selfie day. I think that it is an amazing opportunity for an individual to engage in an individual work of art that they might never look at in the same detail again.”

Jo Ellen offers a final insight, “I don’t think technology threatens the extinction of our museums. I think it will support their evolution.”  

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