Skip to main content
NewsPress Releases

Public Art and Communities Program Releases Call for Artists

By February 1, 2021No Comments

Office of Public Art, Neighborhood Allies, and the Borough of Millvale launch new program connecting artists and communities

Pittsburgh, PA – The Office of Public Art and Neighborhood Allies, in collaboration with the Borough of Millvale, Millvale Community Library, and Triboro Ecodistrict, are pleased to announce an open artist call for the Public Art and Communities (PAC) program. PAC seeks four artists or artist teams to develop temporary works of public art through collaboration with community-based organizational partners. The four resulting artworks will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and address its intersection with other public health issues that have been identified as areas of focus by each of the organizational partners.

More Information & How to Apply

Applications are due Monday, March 22, 2021 at 11:59 PM. The application can be accessed by visiting:

An information session will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:00 PM. To keep the live session secure, interested participants are encouraged to register in advance by visiting:  A PDF of the request for qualifications can be accessed here:


“From our work in neighborhoods across the Pittsburgh region, we know that our most vulnerable populations were already subject to multiple public health risks before they were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tamara Cartwright, Program Manager for Social Impact Design at Neighborhood Allies. “Our previous collaboration with the Office of Public Art for the Temporary Public Art and Placemaking program inspired us to put the focus of PAC on how collaborations with artists can enhance connection, coping, and wellbeing within communities that are facing these challenges. We are excited to see how the artists and organizational partners approach the current moment and the lasting impact that these projects bring.”

The projects will emerge from in-depth collaboration between four artists and the four organizational partners that have been selected to participate in this program. While the partnering organizations for the program have been identified, the exact vision, form, location, duration, and materials for the project will be determined by the artist and the organizational partner.

The organizations that have been selected to work with artists are: The Brashear Association; Etna Community Organization with the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization (ECO + SNO); Frogang; and Steel Smiling. Each of the organizational partners, chosen through an open call process held in fall 2020, has identified their specific public health issue as a focal point for their collaboration with an artist. Each of the four resulting works of art will address and raise awareness of the public health needs identified by the community. Ultimately, the artworks will increase community resilience and strengthen community response to public health crises magnified by the pandemic.

“In our experience, artists and arts and culture initiatives play a powerful role in shaping our responses to these crises, and can create new tools and strategies for addressing the challenges faced by our region’s communities” said Divya Rao Heffley, Associate Director of Office of Public Art. “The PAC program aims to both address short term community needs and foster long term strategies for collaborations with artists that catalyze community-led change.”

Artists will work with their organizational partner and the residents and stakeholders in the communities served by the organization to develop a proposal for the design and implementation of a temporary public art project that responds to and addresses the identified public health issue. Each collaboration will result in a temporary public artwork with an expected lifespan of 1 – 2 years.

In addition, each Organization-Artist team will participate in Placemaking Academy, a six-week training program. Placemaking Academy will build the teams’ capacity to undertake creative placemaking and public art projects that support place-based strategies to address public health needs in communities.

About the Organizational Partners

Brashear Association
Based on the core belief that everyone deserves a fair shot, The Brashear Association provides South Pittsburgh residents and community groups with access to quality programs and services that address social, educational, health, and economic issues.

Etna Community Organization + Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization (ECO + SNO)
ECO’s mission is to make Etna a more vibrant place to live, work, and play by 1) supporting projects and programs that integrate equity, sustainability, and resiliency into the fabric of our community, and 2) engaging, empowering, and activating Etna’s community members to take ownership over their futures.
The Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization works to strengthen and engage the community of Sharpsburg.

To promote and create positive self images for young girls of color so that they can recognize their self worth and see beauty when they look in the mirror. Based in Beltzhoover, Frogang serves Black and Brown girls, women, and femmes in the Hilltop and across Greater Pittsburgh.

Steel Smiling
Steel Smiling bridges the gap between Black community members and mental health support through education, advocacy and awareness. Their 10-year vision is to expose every Black resident in Allegheny County to a positive mental health experience that improves their quality of life by 2030.


Public Art and Communities is a collaboration between the Office of Public Art, Neighborhood Allies, the Borough of Millvale, Millvale Community Library, and the Triboro Ecodistrict. The program is funded through the generous support of The Heinz Endowments, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, and the Our Town program of the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


About the Partners

About Neighborhood Allies

Neighborhood Allies’ mission is to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods. They strive to support this mission by creating community partnerships, connecting distressed and transitioning communities with valued/ vetted resources, and communicating and celebrating progress and success. For more information, visit:

About the Millvale Community Library

Established in 2007 and opening in 2013 after years of resident volunteer efforts, the Millvale Community Library is more than a library – it is an agent for positive change. In 2012, the Millvale Community Library hosted and helped create the Millvale Ecodistrict community education and engagement program to build capacity and leadership. Today over 20,000 annual visitors of all ages enjoy free resources, literacy, arts, and making programs.

About the Borough of Millvale

Established in 1868, the Borough of Millvale is a municipality immediately adjacent to Pittsburgh and located on the Allegheny River. The Borough works closely with individuals and organizations to advance projects and ideas for the benefit of its community members, and regularly partners with neighboring communities on inter-municipal planning and development initiatives. In 2013, the Borough of Millvale launched the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, a community revitalization strategy that includes the development of regenerative infrastructure, education, and art to create and enhance sustainable planning and development solutions.

About the Triboro Ecodistrict

The Triboro Ecodistrict promotes coordinated sustainable community development throughout the Boroughs of Millvale, Etna and Sharpsburg. With over 10,000 residents combined, the Triboro builds on a strong collaborative history to promote equitable, sustainable community development through the shared lenses of: Equity, Food, Water, Energy, Air Quality, and Mobility. The Triboro Ecodistrict is a collaborative project of New Sun Rising, Etna Economic Development Corporation, Etna Community Organization (ECO), and Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization.



News from OPA & from the field

Read the latest news from the Office of Public Art and the wider public art field.



Boots on the Sound: Covid-19

This two-year collaborative project by artist Ricardo Robinson is part of the OPA’s Artist Residency in the Public Realm initiative.


Eden Hall Walking & Writing Tour

April 25, 2020, 12–2 p.m.

Writer Sherrie Flick will lead a walking tour throughout Eden Hall’s grounds.


Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm

March 1, 2020

OPA is seeking proposals from visual and performing artists for projects that aim to bridge the social distance created by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.