Post industrial Pittsburgh is rich in space. There are cavernous warehouses, former steel mills, abandoned houses of man and God, all solidly built in a past full of prosperity and American steel.
Pittsburgh is also rich in possessing a populations of artists and dreamers eager to re-imagine those spaces, and inhabit them in a new way.
Last Saturday we attended Art All Night, a 24 hour celebration of local visual and performing art that takes place at a new location in our neighborhood every year. The event is free, and the entire community is encouraged to attend and to participate in creating art during the event.
Along with a whole host of talented professionals and amateurs from all over the region.
There was a whole section of children’s events, but this year our two year old was more interested in clinging firmly to her father and gazing at wide variety of art on display.
There was live music….
There were massive puppets…
There were robots, fitting enough considering that we were a stones throw away from the Carnegie Robotics Institute…
But Casey’s favorite piece of art was definitely this practical and attractive coffee table with a cribbage table built in.
My favorite art was the juxtaposition of the entire event within the skeleton of the factory.
It is hard to describe the sheer scope of the space that housed the event this year, but wandering through it and gazing up at the massive remnants of industry was extraordinarily interesting- particularly for a girl who spent a couple ill advised years swooning over Ayn Rand.Like the work of Ayn Rand, however, it is clear that working in this factory had a dangerous side. I thought this safety measure was appropriate for an art show.
Luckily, I had no need for an emergency eye bath. I enjoyed the work of the artists, especially those working hard on collaborative immediate pieces.
It was cold on that concrete floor, and I was shivering watching them work.
Of course I have always imagined that being a painter involves a lot of shivering. In garrets, while stained with paint in an aesthetically pleasing manner, and being gaunt and interesting. The artists at work all looked just like the artists in my imagination.
And the outfits and demeanor of the artists seemed to match the paintings, which I found fascinating.
Speaking of outfits, I am thrilled to say that this event, which involved high and low art and frigid temperatures, was a perfect opportunity to pull out the pleather pants. And what five month pregnant woman doesn’t love to wear pleather pants?
Not to mention almost every brightly colored plastic bracelet I own. That was my great contribution to the world of visual art.
Want more? Read about my adventures in post-industrial Pittsburgh here: