Crane Installs $40,000 Public Art Project In Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Workers used a crane this morning to install an “artwork cistern” on the Walnut Street side of the Lancaster Brewing Company building.

The cistern, commissioned by Lancaster city’s public art program, is made of steel and lengths of native wood.

Inside, a tank will hold 750 gallons of rainwater from the brewery roof. The cistern water will be used to support the plants in a rain garden along the street.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/912608_Pictures–Crane-installs–40-000-public-art-project-in-Lancaster.html#ixzz2jKNY9pnh

Pittsburgh Bridges A Showcase Of Engineering Ingenuity

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The ...

English: The source of the Ohio River at “The Point” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join to form the Ohio here. The West End Bridge crosses the Ohio in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Modern bridges are super-sized paths of steel with carpets of concrete that soar through the air.

As tour de forces of design, engineering and teamwork, bridges are our most functional visible form of public art. These sturdy structures afford us breathtaking views of the region while stoking our sense of optimism. From their portals, we cross deep ravines, wide valleys and rivers, especially rivers.

With a total of 446 bridges, Pittsburgh is a permanent showcase of inspired engineering.  Its rugged topography has made it a hotbed of bridge design since the city was named in 1758, and the region’s hills and geological formations afforded the natural resources, including wood and stone, to build the bridges needed to connect it.

The city’s first span, opened in 1818, crossed the Monongahela River on the site of the current Smithfield Street Bridge.  The first Sixth Street Bridge spanned the Allegheny River just a year later, ushering in a generation of covered wooden bridges.  Until the late 1800s, everyone — whether in a horse-drawn wagon or on foot — paid tolls to cross the city’s major bridges.  We still pay today — our tax dollars fund multimillion-dollar PennDOT projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/life/lifestyle/pittsburgh-bridges-a-showcase-of-engineering-ingenuity-696224/#ixzz2ZfxMNSfF

Architect Plans $5 Million, 7-Story Condominium Project In Downtown Lancaster

Three decades after building Steeplehouse Square, architect John de Vitry again is building condominiums in downtown Lancaster.

Magnolia Place, a seven-story building he wants to build at North Duke and East Chestnut streets, would be the first entirely new downtown residential project since Steeplehouse opened in 1982.

The 13-unit building would replace the building on the northeast corner of the intersection, which was built as a gas station and later served as a law office.

De Vitry and his partners hope to begin construction of the $5 million-plus project in October, with occupancy of the units by September 2014.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/860653_Architect-plans–5-million–7-story-condominium-project-in-downtown-Lancaster-.html#ixzz2W7xdrWlt

Three Rivers Arts Festival Opens Friday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you’re paddling to a floating platform for a mind-elevating experience or scratching your head over the meaning of a painted white Mustang with corn rows in place of racing stripes, you’re doing just what the organizers of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival hope you’ll do.

The 54th annual festival begins at noon Friday and continues through June 16 Downtown.  Admission is free to the 100 visual and performing events and activities that will bring in more than 500 artists to 20 venues including four stages.

New this year will be a half dozen artworks with the primary purpose to engage, perhaps puzzle, and inspire discussion.  Generally referred to as “public art,” these outdoor, often large and ambitious projects will extend from the middle of the Allegheny River by Point State Park to the walls of Tito Way in the Cultural District, near the “Cell Phone Disco.”

There are two ways of thinking about art, said, who became this year’s festival director as a part of her earlier appointment to Pittsburgh Cultural Trust director of festival management and special projects.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/art-architecture/three-rivers-arts-festival-opens-friday-with-a-broad-spectrum-of-arts-and-entertainment-690509/#ixzz2VS8mw0Q1

Art Draws Pennsylvania’s First Lady To Reading

High heels dug into the soft ground under the afternoon sun as Pennsylvania first lady Susan Corbett treaded with caution in a grassy lot off Beech Street in Reading.

On a building across from Opportunity House’s Second Street Learning Center, a multi-story mural, featuring painted plants and mosaic-tiled butterflies, gleamed in the sunlight.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife said of the community mural, one of dozens installed in and around Reading in recent years.

Fresh from a morning press conference at a charter school for the arts in Bethlehem, Susan Corbett stopped in Reading to tour the learning center and view examples of the city’s community art.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=465178

New Lancaster City Arts Manager Hits Ground Running

There was a learning curve when Lancaster city hired its first two public arts managers — the first from Colorado and the second from Indiana.

Tracy Beyl, who took over the position this month, needs no introduction to the arts in Lancaster nor to the city’s program.  She was there at its inception.

Beyl moved less than three blocks to the City Hall post from her former office at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.

It was there that Beyl was involved in establishing the college’s mural resource project a decade ago.  That initial effort was to provide resources to people in the community who wanted to create public art.  It later was expanded from murals to all public artworks.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/808316_New-Lancaster-city-arts-manager-hits-ground-running.html#ixzz2JHuJMPlN

Catasauqua Mural Offers Views Of Local History

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To Prakash Thakrar, the wall of one of his buildings isn’t brick and mortar — it’s a canvas.

And now that a new community development project turned his stack of brick into an acrylic tribute to the town where he does business, Thakrar is hopeful other local shop owners will join in with renderings of their own.

Allentown muralist Matt Halm recently put the finishing touches on a Welcome to Catasauqua sign — but one that treats people entering the borough from Pine Street to various views of the town’s history.

It’s part of a $12,000 mural Catasauqua added to a wall at 115-117 Pine Street.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/catasauqua/mc-catasauqua-mural-20120920,0,2641134.story

Poetry Paths Mural Outside Lancaster’s El Centro Hispano Reflects Fabric Of Community

What had been a large, blank wall outside the Spanish American Civic Association’s El Centro Hispano has become a reflection of the community.

Pictured on a new mural, the installation of which was completed last week, are depictions of 28 people.  Some of them work inside the center that serves Lancaster city’s Hispanic community.  Some of them helped establish SACA, and some helped establish the city’s Hispanic community six decades ago.

“It’s a record,” Carlos Graupera, SACA executive director, said of the 30-foot tall mural. “It’s a way to respect what happened in this community.”

Graupera, whose image is at the far end of the painted fabric mural, said the depictions include people who came to Lancaster from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.  It also includes many who were born in Lancaster of immigrant parents.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/666429_SACA-remembrance.html#ixzz1xV3mSNld

Pottstown’s Chestnut Street Park Getting Mural

The Chestnut Street Park and adjoining police substation will soon be beautified by a mural project.  Genesis Housing is funding the mural to be painted on the side of the substation facing the park.  Anna Johnson, co-founder of Citizens for Pottstown Revitalization, appeared before Council urging them to approve this project (which they did unanimously).

The Gallery on High found an artist for the project who will design the mural and work with high school students to complete it.

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Genesis Housing, Citizens for Pottstown Revitalization and the Gallery on High for partnering on this project to help transform a neighborhood!

Lancaster City Hires New Arts Manager – The Goal: Make Lancaster “A Significant Arts Destination”

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray has made the arts part of Lancaster City’s newly revised strategic plan.  Lancaster is to become a significant arts destination.  Evidence of the arts momentum in Lancaster is the hugely successful First Friday’s and the increasing amount of public art appearing throughout the city.  The goal is for much more. 

Making Lancaster more aesthetically pleasing will enhance the quality of life for city residents and give tourists another reason to come to Lancaster County; other than riding around in tour buses staring at the Amish, eating at Shady Maple and shopping at the Rockvale Outlets.  A trip to Lancaster County is not complete until one thoroughly immerses one’s self in the historic City of Lancaster (i am a former city resident who walked to Central Market to grocery shop every week).

So how does one go about turning this vision into a goal and then into a reality?  First, one gets a $200,000 grant from the Lancaster County Community Foundation that will pay the Arts Manager’s salary for three years.  Secondly, find a great candidate like John Lustig and hire him away from Indiana State University where he was the Curator and Director of the university’s permanent collection (valued at $45 million with 7,000 pieces of art).  Finally, support him and allow him to do his job (which by all accounts will happen).

John is a doer.  On his first day, John wrote up a letter of intent for a grant from National Endowment of the Arts.  The deadline was midnight and John worked until 9:30 p.m. to make sure Lancaster would be in the running for this funding.  Impressive first day!

Lustig will be jumping on an arts bandwagon that is already going strong in Lancaster.  His role will be to kick things up a notch and bring more community attention to the arts scene.  John will also be learning what other cities are doing to fund their arts programs and report back his findings.  This information will help city officials find creative ways to fund public art projects without reinventing the wheel or breaking the bank.

John is excited about finding an iconic piece of art that will come to be identified with Lancaster (like the LOVE statue is to Philly, the “arch” to St. Louis or the Statue of Liberty with NYC.)  Public art is a very broad term that can be applied to more than sculpture and murals.  Lustig also considers things like architecture, design, commercial signs and audio clips played in a public space as art.  Creativity exists in all things man-made.  Maybe he has a twin brother who would like a job in Pottstown!?!

Just another reason to heart Lancaster!

Pittsburgh Building Comprehensive Growth Plan With Participation From Thousands Of Residents

Duquesne University's view of the Pittsburgh s...

Image via Wikipedia

Pittsburgh is establishing a comprehensive growth plan to “right size” the city after years of population loss.  Year one has already been completed with thousands of residents taking part in helping to shape a way forward for Pennsylvania’s second largest city.

This plan, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will focus on the following areas in order:

Open spaces and parks – wrapping up

Cultural heritage and preservation – up and running

The next ten have yet to be started:

Transportation

Public art

Design

Energy

City-owned buildings

Infrastructure

Economic development

Housing

Education

Zoning

Land Use

The Pittsburgh planning department is enthusiastically seeking participation from city residents!  The cost of this long-range plan is $2.3 million dollars.  Cities are not required to submit comprehensive plans but they can opt to do so.  Only a handful of cities have done this.  Pittsburgh is once again being a leading innovator in their approach to managed growth and sustainability.

These components were not accidentally chosen.  Open space is first because vacant land use will influence every other category on the list.  Pittsburgh has 5,500 acres of open space.   Half is parks and 14,000 vacant lots make up the rest.  Pittsburgh realizes that green space has an impact on property values.

These meetings last two hours and are held on various nights and in several locations around Pittsburgh to maximize citizen involvement.

Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of America’s most livable cities.