A new initiative from Riverlife and the Office of Public Art hopes to gather and hire local artists to develop temporary COVID-19-related public resource projects in outdoor spaces. The program, dubbed Pittsburgh Creative Corps, will consist of several different projects, the first being a cohort of handwashing stations located Downtown and at the riverfront.
The larger Pittsburgh Creative Corps initiative is supported through a $200,000 grant Riverlife received this summer from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
“Pittsburgh Creative Corps is a way to support local artists and fabricators during this challenging time,” says Matthew Galluzzo, Riverlife president and CEO, in a press release. “In the near term, the program will hire local artists and creative workers to develop temporary amenities like hand washing stations through Downtown and spaces near the rivers. These projects will boost public health awareness. They’re also intended to help public spaces adapt to changing conditions during the pandemic.”
For the handwashing station project, Riverlife and the Office of Public Art are looking for 2 to 3 illustrators or comic artists, who will each be paid $2,000 to create original artwork that will be reproduced on panels and graphics accompanying the stations. The deadline to apply is Mon., Aug. 24, and artists can apply through pittsburghartscouncil.submittable.com/submit
According to the Office of Public Art's website, artists will be judged on “aesthetic quality of previous work, experience working collaboratively, experience and demonstrated ability to visually depict an inclusive representation of Pittsburgh’s community members that highlights our neighborhoods' multiculturalism, availability to meet the proposed timeline, and quality and completeness of application materials.”
Photo: Courtesy of Riverlife
Previous public art by Riverlife: mural painters under the Fort Duquesne Bridge in 2015
The Downtown and riverfront handwashing stations will include a tri-fold setup of 3’x6’ coroplast panels on display behind a sink, with vinyl “space pads” on the ground to direct the public on how to use the stations with appropriate distancing. After Riverlife and the Office of Public Art select the artists and designs are finalized, the stations are scheduled to be installed around September of this year.
“Artists and their creative practices are a vital component of building resilience for our city and region, and through Pittsburgh Creative Corps projects, we will engage artists to dynamic interventions in the public realm that respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” says Sallyann Kluz, director of the Office of Public Art, in a press release. “The handwashing kiosks are one of several projects that will be launching in the coming months, and we look forward to finding new ways to support both artists and communities in this critical time.”