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Public Art and Communities Virtual Symposium

By October 5, 2020October 9th, 2020No Comments

Office of Public Art presents a two-day symposium on the intersection of public art and public health in collaboration with Neighborhood Allies

October 1, 2020 Pittsburgh, PA – Office of Public Art, in collaboration with Neighborhood Allies, is pleased to announce that a two-day Public Art and Communities Symposium will be held on Thursday, October 22 and Friday, October 23, 2020. Offered online, the symposium will feature national and local speakers discussing topics related to socially and civically engaged public art practices that have implemented place-based projects to support community public health. Each day will begin at 9:30 AM and end at 5:00 PM.

Single-day individual tickets can be purchased for $15; two-day individual tickets can be purchased for $25. Groups of four attendees from the same organization can purchase tickets at a discounted group rate of $80 for two-day attendance. Tickets may be purchased HERE. Scholarships are available for those needing assistance with cost of attendance. To request scholarship assistance, please contact Rachel Klipa at To learn more, please visit:

About the Symposium

The symposium is a presentation of the Public Art and Communities: Placemaking Strategies at Work (PAC) program of OPA, Neighborhood Allies, and the Borough of Millvale. Launched earlier this year, PAC includes training for artists and community organizations in creative placemaking practices, community engagement strategies, and project management and implementation over a two-year period. The program team is currently in the process of selecting organizations to participate, and artist selection will occur in early 2021.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and its intersection with a myriad of existing public health crises in Pittsburgh’s communities, the program will focus on how arts and the creative practices of artists can help strengthen communities’ responses to public health issues. The Public Art and Communities Symposium will feature national and local speakers who have been engaged in creative placemaking projects that support public health needs within communities across the country, and whose work demonstrates the value of cross-sector collaborations between arts and culture, public health, and community development. The symposium will provide artists, community members, organizations, and others the opportunity to see how their peers are working to develop such partnerships and to address serious issues that affect the public at large.

“Through our work, we have seen how artists working in collaboration with communities can develop new strategies to help build community resilience and new tools to address community issues. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis that has overturned lives around the world, and we are seeing 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 PAC symposium is an opportunity for artists, community members, public health professionals, and community development practitioners to learn how such strategies have been employed both here in the Pittsburgh region and nationally. We are excited to be able to bring this incredible collection of projects, programs, and speakers together.”

Schedule of Speakers

Speakers for the first day of the symposium include: Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD; Michael Rohd and Rebecca Martinez from the Center for Performance and Civic Practice; Joseph Claunch, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project; and Aviva Kapust and Faith Bartley, Village of Arts & Humanities and the People’s Paper Co-op. The day will conclude with a panel moderated by Shaunda McDill, program officer for arts and culture at The Heinz Endowments.

Speakers for the second day of the symposium include: Alisha Wormsley, Jessica Moss, and Naomi Chambers of Sibyls Shrine; Deborah Reed, PhD, Farm Dinner Theater; Edith Abeyta of Arts Excursions Unlimited along with Hanna Beightley from Women for Healthy Environment, Joy Cannon from Center of Life, and Matt Dean from New Voices for Reproductive Justice; and Los Angeles-based artist Anu Yadav with Shannon Scrofano. The day will conclude with a panel featuring Pittsburgh-based artists Njaimeh Njie, John Peña, and Molly Rice.

For a detailed agenda, registration, and speaker information please click here.


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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