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Use art to build urban connections on the North Side? One-day charette for 18 to 25 year olds

How can neighborhoods use art to build urban connections?  That's the question being asked this Saturday by the Northside’s cultural institutions.  But rather than hiring a distinguished design firm, they're turning the question to the young, creative people of Pittsburgh. 

Beginning with a one-day charrette led by the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, the challenge will be to design connections—whether literal or metaphorical—between the various points-of-interests throughout the Northside, from the Andy Warhol Museum and the National Aviary, to the New Hazlett Theater and the Mattress Factory.  The event is open to all Pittsburgh residents ages 18 to 25.

That these cultural institutions are sometimes disjointed is a problem that the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has previously identified.  Their ongoing Charm Bracelet Project has similarly sought to link the district’s cultural and recreational destinations through public art and other unifying efforts.

The current effort, Art and Urban Connectivity, is open to all ideas, and could take on any form, says Thor Erickson, of the CDC.

"We're looking for the creative folks that are the young adults in Pittsburgh to come up with something that's outside of the box and maybe hasn't been thought of before," Erickson says.

Following the charrette, participants will be asked to create a design board detailing their ideas, to be submitted for a juried competition.  The work of 13 finalists will be displayed at the Warhol on June 29th, with cash prizes for various categories of excellence. 

Saturday’s event will run from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, meeting at the New Hazlett Theater, and moving to the Children’s Museum.  Erickson says the traveling charrette will give participants a taste of the Northside’s cultural offerings.

"There's a lot of little things going on in Northside," Erickson says, "And as you look at them together, it's a pretty compelling piece that if there was a way to easily identify paths to get to each of them, it could create a really unique experience."

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Thor Erickson
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