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Public Art and Communities Program Releases Call for Organizations

By August 13, 2020September 3rd, 2020No Comments

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

Pittsburgh, PA — Office of Public Art and Neighborhood Allies, in collaboration with the Borough of Millvale, are seeking four partnering organizations who are addressing public health needs to participate in a program to collaboratively develop temporary works of public art with artists.

About the Program

The Public Art and Communities program (PAC) will support the development of creative place-based strategies, as well as four temporary artworks in Pittsburgh communities. The projects will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and address its intersection with other public health issues. PAC will engage artists to collaborate with communities to address their needs through public art and creative placemaking practices. The target geography for the program includes: Hilltop (including Allentown, Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Mount Oliver); Hill District; Wilkinsburg; Homewood; Larimer; Lincoln-Lemington; and the Triboro Ecodistrict (Etna, Millvale, and Sharpsburg). At least one of the selected organizations will serve the communities of the Triboro Ecodistrict; the other three organizations will serve one or more of the communities in the target geography.

More Information & How to Apply

For more information and to submit an online application please visit

An online information session will be held on Thursday, September 3, 2020 from 4 – 5 PM via Zoom. Registration for the information session can be found at: The deadline for Organizational Applications is Monday, September 21, 2020 at 11:59 PM. A separate call for artist applications will be released at a later date.

“Our most vulnerable populations are already subject to a myriad of public health risks. By mobilizing artists to collaborate with these communities, we can enhance connection, coping, and wellbeing and create new tools and methods for addressing the current challenges. We can strengthen our communities’ responses and build their resilience.” reads the call for organizations.

Qualified organizations are community-based organizations (CBOs) or other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that address one or more public health needs, including, but not limited to: mental health; racism; food insecurity; housing instability; environmental injustice; and social isolation and exclusion, and are serving communities in the target geography. Organizations are not required to have an art program or experience working with artists and are not required to be located in the target geographic area, but must have a demonstrated track record of working within the neighborhood.

“Before COVID-19, the communities we work in were already experiencing high levels of concentrated poverty, racial segregation and separation from economic opportunity, and now the crisis has only helped to exacerbate these very serious situations. From the “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race” report and many other accounts, we know that Pittsburgh is less livable for African-Americans compared to other groups based on a number of quality of life and economic indicators such as: high levels of maternal mortality, low labor force participation, disproportionately high poverty rates, low average income and others” said Chelsea Contino, Communications and Outreach Program Coordinator at Neighborhood Allies. “As an organization, we know that public art and creative placemaking projects can be a successful strategy to achieve community goals and objectives, including public health objectives, and we are eager to support collaborative efforts of organizations with artists in our communities to obtain equitable and healthy neighborhoods.”


After the organizations are selected, they will serve on a panel to choose the artist with whom they will collaborate. Organizations will work with their selected artist to assist in the development of a proposal for a work of temporary public art. Each collaboration will result in a temporary public artwork with an expected lifespan of 1 – 2 years. Each organization will receive an honorarium of $10,000 to participate in the program to support staff time for the program, including outreach and engagement efforts. Artwork budgets will be $35,000, which includes the artist fee. The Call for Artists will be released later this year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis that has overturned lives around the world. We have seen that arts and culture projects can play a powerful role in shaping our response and addressing the vast needs that have been exposed.” said Sallyann Kluz, Director of the Office of Public Art. “The Public Art and Communities program, which builds on the Temporary Public Art and Placemaking program that we piloted with Neighborhood Allies in 2016, will provide training for artists and communities to work together, build collaboration in support of community needs, and create partnerships for the future.”


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.



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