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Installation begins on mosaic artwork placed on Oakley St. staircase

 

Artist Laura Jean McLaughlin was enlisted to create a design for the risers of the Oakley Street steps with input from South Side residents. The above image shows the mosaic tiling on nine of the 77 steps included in the project.

In the first project of its kind in Pittsburgh, a local artist began installing mosaic artwork on the risers of a public staircase on Oakley Street, off Josephine Street, near 27th Street, in South Side.

The South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association's (SSSNA) board member, Cara Jette, envisioned a mosaic step project more than two years ago as a wonderful way to "dress up" the steps and put a spotlight on the unique community asset.

Artist Laura Jean McLaughlin was enlisted to create a design for the risers of the steps with input from South Side residents. In 2015, a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $6,000 to support the work.

This was followed by two design workshops to finalize the design. When completed, the 77-step art installation will cover 200 square feet. It will depict a young woman standing in the Slopes amidst hillside homes, wildlife, and mill stacks blowing flowers instead of smoke.

Each of the risers have been tiled diligently by enthusiastic volunteers from all over Pittsburgh over the past two months. Almost 100 volunteers adhered tiny pieces of tile to the mesh framework of each panel following the artist's design closely.

Each panel will be mortared and grouted onto the step risers.

The installation began Saturday, Sept. 17, led by Ms. McLaughlin, and is expected to take five days. The goal is to have them completed in time for the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association's annual celebration of steps, StepTrek, on Oct. 1.

 

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