Many experienced the Pittsburgh City Steps like never before at Steps We Take
During the first two weeks of October, stairs in four communities were transformed into vertical art activations. In case you didn’t know, Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) and the Office of Public Art (OPA) launched a brand new event series this fall to celebrate city steps and walkable neighborhood connections.
The goal of the temporary art activations around the city stairs was to create excitement, awareness, and engagement around city steps and the City Steps Plan, which was released by the City of Pittsburgh in 2018. The initiative 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.
At each event, BikePGH shared a variety of resources including how to get involved with local community groups, postcards to write local council people to request their community stairs to be fixed-up, the Pittsburgh Steps Plan, The Pittsburgh Bike Map, and more. Keep on scrolling for a full recap of all the exciting events that happened over the past two weekends.
Reimagining the City Steps as a Runway in the West End
Artist Bradford Mumpower, in collaboration with West End Community Group, organized an afternoon of fashion in the West End on Saturday, October 5th, consisting of a scavenger hunt on the stairs, marketplace, and a fashion show on the Sanctus Street Steps.
During the scavenger hunt, participants had the opportunity to explore the neighborhood, local businesses, and surrounding city staircases. The main event featured a fashion show on the steps featuring creations from six Pittsburgh-based fashion designers. Models descended down the “catwalk” of Sanctus Street, wowing the guests of the fashion show as well as on-looking drivers. Each designer brought their own distinct sense of style to the show, creating a unique and unforgettable experience for the audience!
Vertical Parks, Vertical Parties in Polish Hill
Landscape architects, Chris Merritt and Nina Chase of Merritt Chase, in collaboration with Polish Hill artist and musician, Gina Favano, and the Polish Hill Civic Association temporarily transformed Polish Hill’s city steps into vertical parks. The gathering spaces featured nesting tables, chairs, stools and gateways—all decorated in the style of traditional polish folk art, as pictured!
The parks were unveiled on Friday, October 4th night during our Polish Hill Vertical Block Party! Guests got to experience the vertical parks for the first time while enjoying local musicians, food, and drinks! On Sunday, October 6th, guests were treated to a Pierogi Brunch and were surprised with a visit from Pittsburgh’s own Sauerkraut Saul! Visitors also learned the Polish tradition of paper cutting, or wycinanki, and were able to take a self-guided tour of Polish Hill via the city steps surrounding the neighborhood.
The Rainbow Connection in Fineview
Artist, H. Gene Thompson, in collaboration with Fineview Citizens Council, organized two free participatory performance events in Fineview to celebrate the ways city steps connect people both physically and energetically. Thompson created a series of wearable fabric sculptures that ranged from vivid rainbow tunnels and parachutes, to other-worldly human portals, all meant to help better connect with those around you.
These events featured house-style dance music as well as talented movement artists, who not only performed, but invited the audience to become part of the performance as well. For two very special evenings, Thompson and her team got the whole crowd moving and grooving to the beat up and down the steps of Fineview!
To Heaven and Back: The Stories of Troy Hill
Pittsburgh-based artist team Danny Bracken and Erin Anderson, describe their work as the intersection of sound, space, and human connection. Bracken and Anderson masterminded this event titled, “To Heaven and Back” as their first collaborative public work. The three-day event featured an immersive audio and visual tour, where visitors took a geolocated audio tour of Troy Hill using the app Echoes.
While using the app, visitors could hear sounds unique to Troy Hill including; the bustle of a restaurant during a rush and the chime of church bells before a service. In addition to these sounds, visitors also listened to the hopes, dreams and memories of local residents. The neighborhood tour ended with a walk up the Rialto Street steps, where a captivating light and sound installation lit up the steps each evening!
Visit BikePGH.org/StepsWeTake for more information the Steps We Take event series and follow BikePGH on Facebook for event updates and details. This program is generously supported by the Hillman Foundation.
Check out photos from the event
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