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Find that Artwork!

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

 

 

arbuckle
 
Pittsburgh is so rich in public art that many of us fail to notice a lot of it. It’s high up in relief on a building or in a lobby we never visit or it’s a subtle part of something bigger or it’s ina place we don’t expect to see art so we don’t see it...
 
... or it’s functional, like a lighting design that helps us see in the dark. Many of us don’t think of something functional as art, but if you have walked directly from Ellsworth Avenue across to Eastside, you know that a bridge can be art. Sheila Klein’s pedestrian bridge is being dedicated tomorrow at 4p as part of the Americans for Art convention.
threebirds 
AforA picked the ‘burgh over bigger cities that have a heftier national reputation, but Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, made the point that they don’t have any heftier cultural and arts institutions. Back in the day, Pittsburgh was one of the 10 most populated cities.
 
Thanks to Renee Piechocki, director of the Office of Public Art, I just got my brand spankin’ new copy of the OPA’s “Pittsburgh Art in Public Places,” a guide booklet that directs you to public art Downtown, on the North Shore and in the Northside. 
 
Little Kelpie  designed this beautiful little prize, and Renee Rosensteel took the bulk of the photos. The guidebook is available at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, at public
libraries, and for download at publicartpittsburgh.org.
 
With this little book, I fancy a new game for high-brows: Find That Artwork! The person who’s “It” can challenge other players if, for instance, he stops them in front of the Park Building at 355 5th Ave., and commands them to “find that artwork!”
 
If they look up, they will see a row of telamones, sculptures of the male figure that serve as structural supports. 
 
Just inside the entrance of 425 Fifth Avenue, to find that artwork! our fearless game players  have to look up to see Three Birds in Flight, an aluminum sculpture by Mary Callery commissioned by the Aluminum Corporation of America in 1953.
 
If they’re standing in front of the former Western Pennsylvania headquarters of Bell Telephone on Stanwix Street, they might wonder whether the globe and clock on the facade of what is now an apartment building is the artwork It is challenging them to find.
 
It is!
 
Art is so many things that so many of us aren’t trained to see. It’s the glass block with neon in the Steel Plaza T station. It’s the Smithfield Street Bridge. It’s the August Wilson Center, whose architectural design drew inspiration from the shape of East African trading ships. 
 
And if you’re sitting on those granite chairs at 500 Grant Street wondering where the public art is, you’re sitting on it. chairsforsix
 
 
    
Photos by Renee Rosensteel
 
Top photo:Arbuckle Coffee Building stone reliefs, on Cherry Way between Sixth Avenue and Strawberry Way, artist unknown
Middle photo: Three Birds in Flight, aluminum sculpture by Mary Callery 
Bottom photo: Chairs for Six, granite sculpture by Scott Burton

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