BikePGH and the Office of Public Art Seeking Artists to Create Events Celebrating City Steps

Vinial Street steps that go from Spring Garden into Troy Hill. Flickr photo by artnoose.

Seeking visual artists, performers, and artist teams

Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) and the Office of Public Art (OPA) are excited to announce a new opportunity for artists to collaborate with communities. OPA has released a Call for Artists (RFQ) to select up to four artists or artist teams to create public events celebrating city steps and neighborhood connections.

Culminating in fall 2019 with a ten-day city steps celebration, the initiative will partner communities with artists to design and implement temporary activations of neighborhood city steps. Up to four artists or artist teams will be selected for the project, and each will be partnered with one of four community groups seeking to activate city steps in their neighborhood.

The fall celebration will feature artist-designed events on and around city steps. The goal of the initiative is to create excitement, awareness, and engagement around city steps for the purposes of increased investment, preservation, and utilization. As a first step, BikePGH and OPA issued a Call for Community Partners in early March 2019.

The four community partners will be selected by the project team and additional advisors, and will be announced in mid-April. Each community partner will participate in selecting the artist with whom they want to work. OPA and BikePGH will provide project management throughout. 

Pittsburgh has approximately 800 sets of steps – more public staircases than any other city in the United States. The steps are an important and under-resourced connection between communities, which thousands of residents rely on for transportation and recreation. Nearly two-thirds of the steps are in low or moderate-income areas and many are located in the City’s hilliest neighborhoods. Many of these neighborhoods lack strong public transit resources. Maintenance of the steps has proved an enormous financial and logistical challenge – some staircases are in such disrepair and built in such intricate surroundings that repairing them equates to undertaking a small bridge repair project. 

The city steps activation project will amplify the work of the City Steps Plan and draw attention to the resources that are being invested in city steps. The partnership is designed to activate the City-wide conversation about city steps, and generate new types of activities that can continue beyond the life of the project. This program is generously supported by the Hillman Foundation. 


Each artist or artist team will receive an Artist Fee of $3,500, and will have a budget of $15,000 to implement the activation event. Additional production support and project management will be provided by BikePGH and OPA.

Community Meeting

An information session about this opportunity will be held on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 from 6 – 7 PM at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, 7th floor, 810 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh 15222. Attendance at the informational session is not required to apply to this opportunity. If you are unable to attend in person, you can also join the meeting via Zoom, an online meeting platform. To join the meeting via Zoom, go to:

More Information & How to Apply

For more information about this project including how to apply and selection criteria, please visit: The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 11:59 PM. Late submissions will not be accepted. 

About Us

BikePGH is a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization. Since 2002 Bike Pittsburgh has been transforming Pittsburgh’s streets and communities into vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for everyone to bike and walk. For more information visit

Office of Public Art (OPA) is the leading agent and advocate for public art in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Founded in 2005, OPA is part of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and works with communities and artists throughout the region by providing public art education, commissions, project management, artist selection, and artist residencies in the public realm.  OPA collaborates with individuals and organizations in both the public and private sector. For more information, visit:

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Posted by Alex Shewczyk

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