Pittsburgh calls on artists to create public art for Homewood Park Improvement Project | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh calls on artists to create public art for Homewood Park Improvement Project

click to enlarge Pittsburgh calls on artists to create public art for Homewood Park Improvement Project
Photo: Courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh
Homewood Park Improvement Project
Public art has become a way for artists to showcase their talents and for Pittsburghers to feel more connected to the city around them. Over the years, there have been more calls for artists to use the city as a display for their art outside of museums and galleries. In fact, earlier this year, the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning: Public Art and Civic Design division announced it would dedicate $800,000 to fund public art projects across 18 neighborhoods.

The city will add to this effort by creating more public art for the Homewood Park and Willie Stargell Field Improvement Project and are now calling on local artists to contribute.

On Aug. 9, the city announced that it is requesting proposals from artists willing and able to work with the community to "create public art inspired by Homewood’s history, notable neighbors, organizations and events," according to a press release. Up to three individual artists or creative groups will be chosen, and Homewood artists are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants should have completed at least one prior project of "significant impact and scale."

In addition to the City Planning and Public Works departments, the project will also be overseen by Studio Zewde, a New York City-based design firm specializing in landscape architecture, urban design, and public art, as well as other community stakeholders. The $120,000 funding for the project comes from the city’s Percent for Art ordinance, which stipulates that at least one percent of the budget for municipal construction or renovation projects be allocated to fund works of art.

“We are excited to see the hard work in Homewood Park start to come to life,” says Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto in a press release. “This Percent for Art project will not only elevate artists and their work, it will also celebrate the Homewood community’s rich history in an innovative and accessible way.”

Applicants must submit through the city’s online procurement system, Beacon, and applications are being accepted through Sept. 7.

The public art satisfies one aspect of what's been dubbed the Homewood Park Improvement Project. The initiative started back in 2015, when several groups, including Homewood Community Sports, the Heinz Endowments, Operation Better Block, Neighborhood Allies, Bridging the Gap Development, and The Mission Continues, looked into possible improvements for Willie Stargell Field on North Lang Avenue. The study led to a community engagement process aimed at revamping the field and expanding Homewood Park into a former Homewood School property.

included among the improvements are site engineering for the development of a regulation size football and basketball field with ADA accessibility, structural engineering for retaining walls surrounding the site, connection to the Martin Luther King Jr. Busway and renovated pedestrian bridge to Westinghouse Park, a playground and multi-purpose courts for various youth activities, and more, according to the city's website.

While separate, the art component of the Homewood Park and Willie Stargell Field Improvement Project is similar to another public art program, Art in Parks, which recruited several local artists to create works for Emerald View, Frick, Highland, Riverview, and Schenley Park.

Public Art and Civic Design will coordinate the Homewood Park and Willie Stargell Field art projects with the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure and Department of Public Works, and calls for artists are still rolling out over the course of the year as projects reach the “appropriate design development stage.”

The PACD will also hold two artist information sessions on Aug. 23 and 24 for interested artists which will include an overview of the opportunity, a tutorial for registering with Beacon, and a walkthrough of the steps for the project.

To learn more, visit engage.pittsburghpa.gov/homewood, where you can find links for the information session webinars and the Beacon webpage.

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