City launches podcast on public art
May 7, 2019
The City of Pittsburgh has launched a new series of podcasts centered around the city's collection of monuments, memorials, and public art.
The series is an effort of the Public Art and Civic Design Division (PA+CD) of the Department of City Planning and is part of their ongoing mission to preserve the city's art collection, document its history, and provide new and dynamic ways for the public to learn about and experience art in the public realm.
This series of sixteen podcasts at http://pittsburghpa.gov/pa-cd/art-collection.html, gives a wealth of historical information, with details on roughly 40 percent of the city's collection of more than 170 works of art, many dating back to the 19th Century. These backgrounds, spanning works found in every quadrant of the city, are combined with modern takes on how works of art can transform physical space and shape the narrative of a neighborhood.
Episodes such as "Lawrenceville: In the Wake Of War," "Strange History: Monumental Wrecks," and "Contemporary Art: A Change Of Tone" discuss the historical aspects of the City's collection and explore the careers of its famed artists, including Giuseppe Moretti, Frank Vittor, Josefa Filkosky, and Thaddeus Mosley.
In the corresponding series of storytelling episodes, Mr. Mosley joins other notable artists Peter Calaboyias and Susan Wagner to present oral histories of their work and the relationship of public art and placemaking. Supplementing these interviews are thoughts from emerging artists such as Ben Grubb and Genevieve Barbee-Turner.
"With this project the city confirms its commitment on playing a significant role as a funder to actively insure the importance of monuments, memorials, and public art," said Mayor William Peduto.
Together, the podcast series explores the nature of public art in evolving neighborhoods, the process of artmaking in times of social change, the legacy of permanent monuments, and the unique history of Pittsburgh as a city made of many distinct and interrelating communities.
Written versions of each podcast are available to download for the hearing impaired, and maps show the locations off all referenced artworks. The podcasts represent the next step in the city's ongoing project of merging the conservation of its public art collection with a technological approach, providing multiple ways for citizens to access and interact with the collection.
The project wouldn't be possible without the technical support of the GIS Division of the Department of City Planning and the Department of Innovation and Performance; as well as Dr. Jennifer Whitmer Taylor, assistant professor of public history at Duquesne University who specializes in contested commemoration; and Lauren Eisenhart-Purvis, archivist at Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation and freelance oral historian.
The city's entire collection of public art is available to explore using the online GIS map and as a downloadable inventory. A series of plaques is also currently being implemented to give context and history on-site.
The GIS map can be seen at http://pittsburghpa.gov/pa-cd/index.html and the inventory is available at http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/redtail/images/5427_City_Collection_Print_Binder_LG.pdf. These documents are continually being updated as information is collected and refined.