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Who's hiring in PGH? Millvale Public Library, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

The Millvale Community Library needs a full-time sustainability coordinator to oversee the community-wide food, water, and energy-related sustainability goals of the Millvale Ecodistrict plan. Application deadline is March 30.

The Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG), an organization committed to creating, enhancing, and preserving trail experiences in Southwestern Pennsylvania, is hiring a part-time executive director to oversee all aspects of general operations and management. Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements to jobs@ptagtrails.org. Application deadline is March 31.

Carnegie Mellon University is hiring an associate director for the academic research center, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. The qualified candidate will manage, implement and direct a diverse range of arts administration activities, including fundraising, public relations, event planning and facilities management. Requires a bachelor's degree and five years of office experience.

DVSport Software, a Pittsburgh-based sports software company specializing in digital video acquisition, analysis, and play-back software, needs a full-time information technology specialist and network administrator

The Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections has an opening for an offender management system specialist. Requires an associate degree in computer science, information technology, accounting or business, or equivalent experience. 

Great Lakes Behavioral Research Institute, a leading provider of professional services and technology designed for the human services and nonprofit sector, is hiring a video production assistant. Requirements include a bachelor's degree in TV or film production, communications or a related field.

Giant Eagle is hiring a full-time candy specialist to help grow the company's candy and gift basket business. Responsibilities include developing candy recipes and production guidelines for existing and new and innovative candy offerings. Requires a degree in pastry arts.

Paid Internships

The Pittsburgh distillery Wigle Whiskey needs a summer community engagement and events coordinator intern to work at the facility's new Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden. Candidate will perform various duties, including giving tours, maintenance, and coordinating special events. A summer production assistant internship is also available.

The Citizen Science Lab, a hands-on life sciences laboratory, is looking for a summer social media intern.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

Pittsburgh art advocates to lead panel at SXSWedu

The annual SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, works to foster innovation in learning by hosting a diverse community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education. On March 9, local art professionals and educators, including Felice Cleveland, director of education at the Mattress Factory, will attend SXSWedu to participate in a panel discussion that covers the benefits of project-based learning (PBL) in schools.

Cleveland will join representatives from other Pittsburgh institutions, including Heather McElwee of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, Tresa Varner of The Andy Warhol Museum, and Avonworth High School Principal Kenneth Lockette, to explain how the Pittsburgh Galleries Project operates as a model for PBL. Titled Using Art to Transform Physical Spaces and Minds, the panel will share the successes and challenges of the project with the broader education community.

“We hope to inspire some of our fellow educators to think about this project and replicate it in their own way,” says Cleveland.

Started in the fall of 2013, the Pittsburgh Galleries Project combined the efforts of Avonworth High School and several Pittsburgh art institutions to encourage students to take part in creative extracurricular projects outside of the classroom. Groups of students visit places such as the Mattress Factory, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, the Warhol, and the Toonseum, where, as Cleveland explains, they receive behind-the-scenes insights into curating, installing, making artwork, and creative careers. The students then use inspiration from their experiences to collaborate on an installation that will go on display at their school.

As Cleveland explains, the program has made an impact on students to find creative solutions to real-world problems. This year, the group will use what they learned to address issues with the school’s Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) policy, mainly the lack of available charging stations. The students are working to build a London-style telephone booth that, upon completion, will serve as a charging station located in the school’s common area.

The panel will also address how to transform schools into more creative spaces and introduce students to the variety of careers in the art world. Says Cleveland, “We want to share the work that we do with the education community around the country; we also hope to be inspired by what others are doing and bring that back to Pittsburgh.”

For more details on the Using Art to Transform Physical Spaces and Minds panel, please visit the SXSWedu website.

Web Design Day to showcase Pittsburgh talent

This summer, one conference will showcase the local web design and development community with a full lineup of speakers, workshops, and networking events.

Founded in 2009 as part of Refresh Pittsburgh, Web Design Day gathers individuals from Pittsburgh and beyond who work to make the web a better place. What started as a one-day local conference with around 100 people at Left Field Meeting Space has since grown into a two-day endeavor that attracts around 350 people and some of the biggest names in the industry. Even as the conference grows, however, it continues to provide a fun, intimate atmosphere where attendees can learn and network.

"We’ve heard awesome stories of people who have met their future bosses and colleagues at Web Design Day, a few folks who made career changes to web design, and even a speaker who moved back to Pittsburgh after getting to hang out with our awesome community," says G. Jason Head of Refresh Pittsburgh, who organizes Web Design Day with his wife and partner, Val Head.

Web Design Day will begin on June 11 with two full-day pre-conference workshops, one at Left Field Meeting Space on the North Shore and one at The Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty. The conference will take place on June 12 at the New Hazlett Theater in the North Side, where guests can enjoy plenty of activities, as well as an after-party that includes food, music, and hands-on screen printing of T-shirts and posters. The events also include a variety of speakers -- including Adaptive Web Design author Aaron Gustafson, brand and content strategist Margot Bloomstein, and many others -- who will offer their expertise and input on a variety of subjects.

"We put a lot of thought into carefully curating a well-balanced and diverse speaker lineup," says G. Jason Head. "We base our selections on what areas people are interested in, popular and relevant topics in our industry, speakers that we have seen and were impressed by, all focused around providing a day of relevant take-aways that will leave our attendees inspired."

New this year, Refresh Pittsburgh has developed a way to bring in community members who may not otherwise attend. The organization partnered with MailChimp, Think Through Math, and Girl Develop It Pittsburgh to provide 14 free scholarship tickets to students, low-income residents, and others unable to afford conference tickets, which range in cost from $215 to $499. As G. Jason Head explains, the free tickets are a way to ensure that Web Design Day includes people from a wide array of backgrounds.

"Diversity is important to us, and we feel a more diverse audience provides a better experience for everyone," says G. Jason Head. "We realize that the cost of attending industry conferences can be prohibitive for some people, and we want to do what we can to make it easier for someone to attend and have a good experience."

Visit the Web Design Day website to register for the conference. Those interested in applying for the scholarship tickets can do so on the Scholarship Program page.

Who's hiring in PGH? Grow Pittsburgh, Point Park University and more

Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Management Science Associates (MSA) is hiring a UX researcher and a UX prototype developer to join the user-centered design team in their Information Management Solutions (IMS) division, which has been offering data and insight solutions to the consumer packaged goods industry since the early 1980s.

Niche, a local start-up that rates neighborhoods, schools and colleges, is hiring for multiple positions, including a front-end engineer and a senior software engineer.

Point Park University needs a full-time safety coordinator to oversee all Cinema Department productions. Candidate must have experience working on location production shoots, and have knowledge of cameras, lighting packages, grip and gaffing duties, and on-set safety procedures. Position requires a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in film production or related area.

Chatham University has an opening for a full-time Assistant Professor of English. Requires a doctorate in literature.

The Center for Theater Arts, a Mt. Lebanon-based nonprofit that offers professional performing arts classes to children and teens in the Pittsburgh area, is hiring a part-time director of development. Requirements include a Bachelor of Arts and five-plus years in development and fundraising.

Grow Pittsburgh is hiring a part-time site coordinator for its Garden Resource Center (GRC), a recently-opened tool lending library and materials depot. Candidates must possess some knowledge of organic gardening practices. Applications are due by March 2, 2015. 

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh has two new part-time openings for an education programs specialist and early childhood program specialist.

Paid Internships

The Pittsburgh Steelers needs two marketing interns for the fall. 

The Allegheny Land Trust is looking for a Chartiers Creek Watershed intern for the summer. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2015.

Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

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Who's hiring in PGH? YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Warhol Museum and more

More snow means more time indoors, which means more time to devote to your latest job search. Each week, Pop City scours the web to bring you exciting career opportunities in Pittsburgh. Employers, if you have a job opening or internship you would like to promote, please email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "Hiring" in the subject line. Hit us up on Twitter @popcitypgh if our job listings put you on the path to success.
 
The Carnegie Museum of Art is hiring a curator of photography to serve as head of the photography department. Qualified candidate will be responsible for the presentation, loan, and development of the museum’s collection of photographs, comprising more than 4,500 works acquired since the 1970s. Requirements include an M.A. or Ph.D. in the history of photography, art history or other relevant field.

The RAND Corporation is looking for an interactive multimedia designer (Job ID: 3952). Responsibilities include recording, editing, and encoding audio and video products. Other duties include interactive web work, such as front-end development of web applications, media players, and data visualization tools.
 
The Warhol Museum is hiring a full-time director of exhibitions to oversee the management and direction of all exhibition galleries.
 
The Phipps Conservatory has multiple positions available, including openings for a volunteer coordinator and a science education research manager. They’re also seeking interns for their community-focused Homegrown program, as well as their summer Horticulture and Discovery education programs.
 
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is seeking a director of information technology. Interested candidates must have a B.S. or B.A. and a minimum of 15 years of related information technology experience. Please send resumes to itjobs@ymcapgh.org.
 
The Hilltop Alliance, a nonprofit community development organization committed to preserving and creating community assets in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop neighborhoods, is hiring a full-time project manager. The application deadline is Feb. 20, 2015.
 
Check out last week's listings for more opportunities.

Who's hiring in Pittsburgh? YWCA, Neighborhood Allies, Mattress Factory and more

If all you want for Christmas is a shiny new job, here are some possibilities for you. Each week, Pop City brings you exciting job opportunities in Pittsburgh. If you have a career opportunity to list, email innovationnews@popcitymedia.com with "hiring" in the subject line. Let us know on Twitter @popcitypgh if we've helped you snag the job of your dreams.

YWCA of Pittsburgh, an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, is hiring for a number of full-time positions. The organization is looking for an eligibility coordinator to counsel clients and determine which public assistance programs they might be eligible for; a permanent housing coordinator to help clients find stable living situations and provide monitoring of living situations; a Women's Resource Center director to oversee the day-to-day operations of the center and manage its staff; a Women's Resource specialist to manage department databases, financial assistance funds, and internal operations, including the department manual, trainings, and professional development; director of Youth Services and STEM Education to manage an ongoing comprehensive science, technology, engineering, math and leadership program for middle and high school girls; and a STEM coordinator to ensure quality program/project development and implementation in the areas of community outreach, recruitment, enrollment, data collection and more.

The Mattress Factory, an art installation space on the North Side, is looking for an institutional giving manager with demonstrated fundraising abilities and a proven track record of securing over $500,000 in grant funding annually among other experience.

Neighborhood Allies, a community development intermediary, is looking for a program manager for lending and financial services to provide general management and oversight of all organizational investment activity, including origination, documentation, risk analysis and monitoring. The hire would work with community development partners to assess feasibility, develop realistic financing strategies, and access public subsidies and conventional financing in order to assure successful project execution and identify and develop sound real estate deals that will match specific investment targets for lending, among other responsibilities. 

Hospital Albert Schweitzer, a Pittsburgh-based hospital dedicated to serving the needs of people in Haiti, is hiring a major gifts officer responsible for stewardship of existing major donors and for identifying and cultivating new major gift prospects. Major gifts are US $50,000 and greater. This position reports to the director of development, and works closely with an active board of directors.

Rebuilding Together, an organization that repairs and renovates the homes of low-income elderly homeowners, military veterans, and individuals with permanent physical disabilities, is looking for a program manager. This position is responsible for coordinating the delivery of Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh’s construction programs through the effective scheduling and allocation of construction team staff, professional contractors, and volunteers.

And if these jobs aren't enough, check out last week's listings for more opportunities.                 

Can you breathe? Website explores city air pollution

Pittsburgh is known for many things, but its great air quality isn't one of them, according to Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, who worked to enable the Pittsburgh Breathe Cam website.

The website allows visitors to observe the air quality in real time from various locations and also read data about it. Nourbakhsh hopes that with information and photographs of the region's air quality, Pittsburghers will put pressure on government officials to enforce and strengthen local regulations surrounding air quality.

"The site came along because we really wanted people to start to have a community discussion around air pollution," he said, adding that 91 percent of cities are cleaner than Pittsburgh. "Other cities that were as dirty as us 20 years ago are cleaner than us now."
 
The site offers views of the air from cameras perched high in the Mon Valley, Oakland, the North Shore and Downtown. Visitors can scan full days of both beautiful and concerning footage, showcasing sunrises over the rivers and also the clouds of pollution that often accompany them.

"We are used to this idea of industry putting out air pollution but we don’t think about the overall public health impact this air pollution causes," Nourbakhsh said, adding that around one-quarter of all emergency room visits in Pittsburgh were related to breathing problems.

The Breathe Cam was developed by Carnegie Mellon's Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab (CREATE LAB), which explores socially meaningful innovation and deployment of robotic technologies. The website allows visitors to match visual conditions with hourly reports of fine particulate matter, ozone and other pollutant levels recorded by Allegheny County Health Department air monitoring stations. Nourbakhsh said he hopes visitors will share their findings on Facebook and be moved to contact the county health department if they see and experience clouds of pollution or strange smells in their neighborhoods.

"It’s really about regulation -- we still have coke plants that have several hundred days of violation per year and our fines are really low so it’s cheaper for them to keep polluting than to clean up," Nourbakhsh said. "As if that’s not bad enough, there is a school in the North Shore that has the worst rate of asthma in the entire state." He said there was no part of Pittsburgh that was untouched by air pollution, though the air is cleaner at higher altitudes.

"The wind directions change all the time here so we need to clean up everything for all Pittsburghers," Nourbakhsh said.

Community Supported Arts at the New Hazlett Theater

The term CSA may bring to mind seasonal fruits and vegetables delivered in boxes to eager subscribers. But the New Hazlett Theater has cleverly co-opted the Community Supported Agriculture acronym and model to produce programming by Community Supported Artists, allowing patrons to buy a share in productions for $100 per person for the 2014-15 season.

The program offers an innovative way for patrons of the arts to support work of local artists they may love, and many they may not yet have discovered. 

"Traditional CSA shareholders don't know exactly what produce they'll receive," said Rene Conrad, executive director of the New Hazlett Theater. "But they're certain it will be high-quality. The same holds true for our series."

This month, dancer and choreographer Moriah Ella Mason proved Conrad right, premiering her extremely capable work "Contained" created specifically for the program. "Contained" featured live musical accompaniment created for the piece and eight female dancers, including herself, performing movements derived from their explorations of animal behavior. Mason, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2009, said the production was her first professional performance with lighting, scenic and costume professionals. The production had an impressive multi-floor scaffolding set designed by Karen Glass, far more ambitious than many dance sets, which often consist of a simple backdrop. 

Each New Hazlett "shareholder" this year receives six fresh productions, including dance, music, theater and performance art while projects chosen to be part of the CSA series receive financial support. Performers wishing to have their work considered for next year's lineup may apply for consideration beginning November 1. The next CSA production is a performance piece by Jennifer Myers on December 12. If you are not a shareholder, tickets to individual productions can be purchased online



Digital excavation project uncovers experimental works by Andy Warhol

Native son Andy Warhol was an incredibly early adopter of digital technology and may have been the first major artist to explore such mediums as digital photography, video capturing, animation editing and audio composition. 

Now, upon realizing that they had access to digital art produced by Warhol, the Andy Warhol Museum has unearthed several digital doodles created by the artist from floppy disks that were sitting in the museum's archival storage.

In 1985, computer manufacturer Commodore International hired Andy Warhol to produce several artworks using the Amiga 1000 to demonstrate its sophistication and accessibility as a conduit for creativity. A team of artists, curators, archivists, and technologists recently retrieved Warhol’s experimental images, which have been inaccessible since the Andy Warhol Museum obtained the collection of floppy disks in 1994.

The idea to retrieve these digital sketches was birthed in 2011, when New York-based artist Cory Arcangel came across a fuzzy YouTube clip of Warhol promoting the Amiga 1000 in 1985. Arcangel contacted the Andy Warhol Museum with the idea of restoring the Amiga hardware to catalog and exhibit the digital files. The digital excavation was performed by members of the Carnegie Mellon Computer Club, which is known for its collection of obsolete computer hardware and retro-computing expertise, working in cooperation with Archangel at the Andy Warhol Museum throughout three months in 2013. The team received support from the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (FRSCI) at CMU, which support atypical, anti-disciplinary and inter-institutional research projects at the intersections of arts, sciences, technology and culture.

“I am both a serious Warholfanatic and lifelong computer nerd, so to have the opportunity to help uncover this history, i.e., dig through Warhol's dusty disks, was a dream come true on both counts," says Arcangel. "What's amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium—the digital."

Out of 41 Amiga floppy disks in the collections, 10 disks were found to contain at least 13 graphic files believed to be created or modified by Warhol. The files show the mature artist struggling with digital imaging tools, and encountering a learning curve familiar to anyone who remembers picking up a mouse for the first time: squiggly lines and haphazard paint-fill.

According to a report by the CMU Computer Club, the disks were in excellent condition, allowing easy data retrieval. However, several were found to be corrupted, allowing access to only partial versions of some files. Raw low-level disk images and physical low-level copies of the disks found to be corrupted were made and may provide a starting point for future study. In addition, the team recovered several copies of pre-release or unreleased software that may also be of great historical interest. 

Michael Dille, who just completed his Ph.D. in robotics at CMU and is one of the computer club members who helped “crack the code” and uncover the files, says the project is an excellent reminder of the seriousness of digital decay. 

“Do you really think that important document you're working on right now will be accessible in 10 years,” Dille asks. “Will the media you've stored it on still function? Will you find something to plug it into? Will that cloud provider still be in business or not have quietly expunged it for you? Will you still have the software?  . . .  These aren't simple questions to address, yet they are ones everyone is left to solve for themselves with very little guidance, and software/service providers have very little motivation to help.  A good starting point, certainly, is the use of standard well-documented widely-implemented open formats, which is something of which we've naturally become very strong proponents.”

The team's efforts are documented in the Hillman Photography Initiative's new short film, Trapped: Andy Warhol's Amiga Experiments. It is the second part of "The Invisible Photograph" documentary series that investigates the expansive realm of photographic production, distribution and consumption by way of the hidden side of photography, whether guarded, stashed away, barely recognizable or simply forgotten. The film premieres at 7PM, Sat., May 10, at Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, and will be available online at nowseethis.org on May 12.

Need storage? Help balancing your budget? AlphaLab Demo Day shows and tells all

The AlphaLab Demo Day & Technology Preview proved yet again that entrepreneurs and startups are a big draw in Pittsburgh.
 
More than 375 people attended the presentations of six university tech startups and nine Innovation Works AlphaLab companies at the New Hazlett this week. Many stuck around to meet the companies afterward during an informal lunch mixer.
 
“The companies gained market traction and validation during the AlphaLab program and did an excellent job of presenting their products and companies at Demo Day,” said Jim Jen of IW. “This cycle’s companies continued the tradition of raising the bar for future AlphaLab classes.”
 
This year marked the first time that National Energy Technology Laboratory joined the lineup.  
 
The preview opened with university technologies, ranging from Lightside, an online platform that instantly assesses student writing and offers feedback to both teachers and student writers, to Diamond Kinetics, which is in the throes of commercializing technology that improves the performance of baseball and softball players.
 
The current crop of AlphaLab companies were equally compelling, ranging from reality-based gaming to a look at the savvy new age of college-level athletic recruiting. 
 
A few highlights:
 
What is augmented-reality gaming? MegaBits CEO Patrick Perini explained how his new game brings the gaming world and real world together. The game is based on a player’s physical location, allowing gamers to chase and battle monsters and feed and train them, in all kinds of real world weather.
 
It’s catching on. Nearly 200 applicants signed up in the first two hours of MegaBits’ launch, said Perini.
 
Ever lose an important file, or key nugget of information on your computer? Steve Cotter of Collected wants to streamline the way you find it by providing intelligent authoring technology to help you quickly access frequently used content. Not only does it speed up access, but also it can drill down contents on a Google drive and costs, at minimum, $10 a month. Launching in January.
 
Forget reconciling your bank statements across several apps. BudgetSimple tracks your spending and income all in one place and keeps it up-to-date.
 
“The most successful budget is one where you can keep the things that are important and eliminate the waste,” says CEO Phil Anderson, a successful internet marketer who previously worked for Vivisimo (before it was acquired by IBM) and LunaMetrics in Pittsburgh. BudgetSimple has 130,000 users signed on to date.
 
Wing Ma'am, a fast growing mobile app, is bringing bring LBGT women together as a resource for one another. It already attracted 108,000 users to date and is on target in reach 2 million in the next two years, says CEO Ariella Furman.
 
It’s also the only app of its kind that searches for events, not just people, she says.
 
If you’ve ever tried to stay abreast of a high school or collegiate athletic team’s changing schedule, you will appreciate the value of AthleteTrax. The startup is working with high school and collegiate club teams to provide an online tool that puts all a team’s information in one place, a sort of dashboard for athletics.
 
Lacking space for storage? Have space to rent? Spacefinity matches the have-nots with the haves and helps the haves convert their extra space into cash. The startup is tapping into the $22 billion storage industry and has 70 live space lords in Pittsburgh so far, says CEO Alex Hendershott.
 
Those looking for motivation to keep up with their physical therapy routines will gain support from Hability, a mobile tool that keeps patients engaged and therapists and family in the loop. “Compliance is in the root of attendance,” says CEO James Lomuscio.
 
Crowdasaurus stands at the intersection of crowdfunding and digital marketing. Projects with crowdfunding campaigns are matched with like-minded organizations—nonprofits or media outlets—who can benefit from the exposure they will receive by having content appear on the same page, says Josh Lucas, CEO. The Pittsburgh Foundation is already one of several beta testers on board. 
 
Finally, a senior at Grove City College believes the college athletic recruiting system is broken. Her startup, ProfilePasser, is the only platform that brings players and coaches together on the field where the players can be seen and recruited, says Sam Weber, founder. The app is available in the iTunes store now.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: AlphaLab, Innovation Works

Alcoa celebrates 125 years of innovation on the North Side

The story of Alcoa, like many an entrepreneurial tale, began 125 years ago with a few 20-something chemists in Pittsburgh knocking around with science and figuring out a formula to simplify the way metal is made.
 
Charles Martin Hall, with an assist from his sister, Julia, a chemist in her own right, discovered the process of aluminum reduction through electrolysis. The year was 1886.
 
Within 15 years, Alcoa was pioneering aluminum cooking utensils under the Wear Ever brand, the beginning of 12 decades of innovation that started in Pittsburgh.
 
This week 400 employees and a handful of dignitaries gathered at Alcoa on the North Shore to kick off a week-long celebration of the company’s 125th birthday.  Alcoa employees at operations around the world are blowing party horns and wearing royal blue tees in celebration.
 
“These are giants whose shoulders we are standing on,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO, of the early pioneers. The company continues to grow year-over-year by 7%; the metal has been an integral ingredient in some of the greatest innovations in the world, he added.
 
Among the historic highlights:
 
The Wright Brothers’ plane might not have gotten off the ground without a lighter cast aluminum crankcase made by the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, later known as Alcoa.
 
The 1923 Ford Model T was the first mass-produced car to feature an aluminum body. Henry Ford, who refused to be financially dependent on one supplier, later switched to steel.
 
Charles Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight in a plane made from a new Alcoa alloy and aluminum cast engine.
 
In the 1930s, H.J. Heinz began using the first commercial aluminum closure made by Alcoa, called the Goldy, to seal sauces and ketchup.
 
The Alcoa Building downtown, with its thin stamped aluminum panels forming the exterior wall, was the world’s first aluminum-faced skyscraper in 1953.
 
Alcoa Mastic revolutionized the modern home with the invention of vinyl siding in 1961.
 
Alcoa helped NASA during the 1970s and 1980s develop a reusable transportation system for the Space Shuttle.
 
In 2004, Alcoa joined Pittsburgh Brewing to make the first beer in an aluminum bottle for the North American beer industry.
 
To mark the occasion, the Alcoa Foundation announced a $1.25 million internship program for 500 students in eight countries over the next two years. The initiative will give unemployed youth a chance to launch successful careers in manufacturing.
 
While Alcoa’s is based in New York City, the Pittsburgh office is the R&D center for the global operation. The company continues to develop and promote green industry technologies. 
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Alcoa

Busking is back and taking it to the T Stations with a year-round schedule of performances

Busking is back in a big way. The centuries-old practice of street troubadours who perform for not much more than the joy of playing (and tips) will assume a year-round schedule in Pittsburgh beginning this weekend. 
 
Unlike most busking, which tends to be spontaneous, BuskPGH is an organized undertaking of the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corp. (PDCDC).
 
“When we were discussing BuskPGH, we looked to the city of New York,” says John Valentine, executive director and a native of the Big Apple. “You see all these great minstrels playing music. It adds a tremendous flavor and atmosphere to the city. We figured if we brought this here it will add to the whole personality to our downtown.”
 
The program kicks off this weekend alongside the festivities surrounding the reopening of Point State Park. Performances will continue through the winter months.
 
The whole idea is to expand the public’s awareness of the city’s diverse cultural identity. Buskers will initially play at the four indoor T-stations: Gateway, Wood Street, Steel Plaza and the Northside, with more venues to follow, Valentine says.  
 
“Our main goal is to make downtown an art centric community, “ says Ryan Firkel, a busker and program organizer.
 
Program funding from The Sprout Fund and PDCDC will cover insurance and website costs. The performers will generate revenues from the tips they receive, estimated to be between $50-$100 for a one to two hour stint.  
 
Some may recall another organization, Busk Pittsburgh, funded by Ground Zero Action Network and the Sprout Fund, which actively supported busking in the past, Firkel says. BuskPGH is absorbing the former group, along with its list of more than 200 musicians, poets and jugglers.
 
Each T Station will host different types of performances, depending on the space and the crowd. Gateway, for example, might be the best place for jugglers and visual art, says Valentine.
 
 “We want to encourage more year-round public performance in Pittsburgh. For many (performers), its an opportunity to get out and play to an audience.”
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: John Valentine, Ryan Firkel, PDCDC

Pittsburgh artists draw inspiration from agriculture, selling shares of locally grown art

For years, community supported agriculture has brought a bounty of locally grown produce to our doorsteps, or at least someplace nearby.
 
We can now buy art in the same buy local spirit. Two community-supported arts programs are underway in Pittsburgh that offer patrons an opportunity to purchase local shares of art, CSA PGH and the New Hazlett Theatre CSA.
 
While both groups are using the community-supported model, they've taken different approaches. CSA PGH is selling shares of visual works of art. The New Hazlett is a performing arts series that offers subscriptions to six performances by local artists.
 
The inspiration for local artists outreach was conceived by Springboard for the Arts in Minneapolis in 2011; the concept has since been promoted by them through a toolkit offered to organizations for a small fee, explains Kilolo Luckett of CSA PGH. 
 
CSA PGH is offering a package of six Pittsburgh artists sold through 50 member shares, which go on sale this month. The inaugural group of artists is wide ranging: a conceptual artist, visual artists, a sculptor and multi-disciplinary artists.
 
The shares, $350 each, go on sale Tuesday, April 30 at 10 a.m.
 
“The idea is to support local artists and the local creative economy,” says Luckett. “It’s gone swimmingly well in other cities.”
 
By contrast, the The New Hazlett Theatre CSA offers shares for a series of six performances, which run every other month starting on Saturday, August 10th. The subscription share is $100 for an opportunity to not only enjoy but support and meet local artists.
 
“It’s just like buying a farm share,” says Rene Conrad, executive director. “Some weeks you might not know what’s coming to the table and that’s okay. We want to expose you to the wide variety of artists here locally.”
 
Both CSA programs will offer previews of the art and artists during the Gallery Crawl downtown, 937 Liberty Ave. on the second floor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Kilolo Luckett and Rene Conrad

Looking good Pittsburgh. PittsburghTODAY report highlights the state of the region

PittsburghTODAY released its 2013 Today & Tomorrow report and the news across many sectors is enlightening.
 
With the economic recovery still underway in much of the country, Pittsburgh is the only benchmark region out of 15 that has experienced job growth and housing price appreciation. In addition, the labor force is at an all-time high and young people are returning and staying in the region.
 
Southwestern Pennsylvania continues to be one of the most affordable places for moderate-income families to live. A Brookings Institution study says so too, listing Pittsburgh as one of three cities in the U.S. to have recovered from the deep recession that began in 2007.
 
The region, however, has work to do in several areas, including transportation, the environment and issues pertaining to diversity, particularly in helping African Americans in the region to achieve the same quality of life as whites.
 
Among the highlights:
 
Population: It has been official but bares repeating: the region is attaining and attracting young talent. The region’s population of 20- to 34- year-olds grew by 7% over the last five years and is expected to grow another 8% in 2020. Three decades earlier the region was losing more than 50,000 people than it was attracting, mostly young adults.
 
Jobs: Jobs grew by a non-seasonably adjusted 1.7 percent in the seven-county Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from November 2007 to November 2012. Certainly not robust, but it was better than any of the Pittsburgh TODAY benchmark regions. Pittsburgh was the only region to post job growth over that period.
 
Tourism: Visitors to Southwestern Pennsylvania pumped $8.1 billion into the local economy in lodging, recreation, retail, food and beverage, transportation and other spending during 2011,the latest year the full data was reported. This is a 9.6% increase over 2010.

Housing: Pittsburgh was the only region in which the 5-year housing prices rose from 2007-2012.
 
Environment: While fine particle pollution is slowly decreasing, and met federal air quality standards for the first time in 2011 since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, smog and sewage spills and the health of our rivers remains an issue.
 
Fracking: Across the region, a survey shows that far more residents are convinced of the economic potential of the Marcellus Shale gas industry than are against drilling for it. More than 70% of those surveyed believe that gas drilling is boosting the local economy.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: PittsburghTODAY

WQED and Saturday Light Brigade bring unique children's radio service to the airwaves

A new children’s radio service, developed in Pittsburgh, is bringing the timeless charm of radio to children and their families along with the latest in educational programming.
 
iQ Kids Radio is a collaboration of WQED and SLB Radio Productions, a family-friendly, commercial-free service that mixes education and entertainment for listeners for 24-hours each Saturday.    
 
The concept is unique, leveraging the assets of PBS to provide trusted radio programming and the authentic voices of children, explains Larry Berger, executive director of SLB Radio, producer of the long-running Saturday Light Brigade.
 
The service is an expansion of the popular Saturday morning show. The programs were carefully developed, researched and vetted in terms of educational standards, he adds.

Programming features youth-created music, storytelling and news/commentary. Kids will learn during the day, boogie down with DJ Daddy Dance Party in the late afternoon and fall asleep at night to bedtime stories.
 
Soothing classical music plays through the night into the early morning hours.
 
"Kids and families need an alternative to what is currently available on the radio," says Berger.  “We’re really looking to present authentic children’s voices in a way nobody has.”
 
The voices of the children is a unique aspect of the program. SLB works with thousands of children a year to record their original stories, says Jennifer Stancil, executive director of educational partnerships for WQED and co-director of the service.
 
“I think kids radio represents what public media can and should be doing to encourage kids to listen imaginatively,” she says. “Commercial-free radio (for children) isn’t a niche but a roaring highway that not many are filling.”
 
iQ Kids Radio airs between midnight Friday and midnight Saturdays. Listeners can tune in by visiting the website or streaming through the free TuneIn Radio app for smartphones and tablets.
 
The service will be free during the pilot phase of the project. It was made possible through seed funding from Junior League of Pittsburgh, a founding partner, with additional support from The Grable Foundation the James McCandless Charitable Trust.
 
Feedback is welcome through wehearyouiqkidsradio.org
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Larry Berger, SLB, Jennifer Stancil, WQED
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