Visitors are now able to tour a variety of holiday window displays installed throughout Downtown and the Strip District. The displays — both on view through Tue., Dec. 31 — are designed to boost artists, local retailers, and nonprofits, all of which are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
“Our small independent businesses and artists have all been particularly heavily affected by the pandemic. They have experienced similar financial challenges due to drastically reduced consumer traffic and business opportunities, so they naturally felt connected,” says PDP CEO and president, Jeremy Waldrup, in a press release. “Shopping, dining, or just exploring with all this vibrant art around just seems to add an extra dimension of wonder and light to the city, and is a further reminder that the spirit of the season is still alive and well.”
Morgan McCoy, property marketing manager for The Terminal, says the window displays are a way for the historic site, now being converted into a mixed-use space, to help the community.
“The Terminal is a Pittsburgh building and we want it to serve the Pittsburgh community,” says McCoy, pointing out how, in the last few months, The Terminal has served as a pop-up drive-in for Row House Cinema, and as a market where vendors could set-up and sell for free. “In a holiday season where local organizations are hurting, we asked how we could help support the community and one thing we definitely have to offer is space.”
McCoy adds that The Terminal team was inspired by the iconic window displays for which Kaufmann’s department store was known. From there, they put out a call for nonprofits to create their own displays. “The response was overwhelmingly positive and here we are,” says McCoy. “We could definitely go bigger and may expand on the program in the future.”
Over 15 local nonprofits representing the arts, health, community outreach, animal rescue, and more are now part of the series.
PDP version includes works by 13 artists, all reflecting “cartoony, elegant, campy, or whimsical styles, but all with that seasonal familiarity that resonates so well as the community safely visits Downtown attractions during the holidays."
All the works will be displayed in the windows of locally-owned businesses, including love, Pittsburgh, Market Street Grocery, Boutique La Passerelle, Nicholas Coffee and Tea Co., and more.
The artists were chosen through a panel led by Jayla Patton, who created a 3,500-square-foot public mural for the PDP in September.
“Now more than ever, it's so important to support and invest in artists. People gain such joy from artistic endeavors like this one,” says Patton. “They inspire new artists, and spark thought and creativity often when times seem to be their darkest.”
Patton adds that several of the artists had never designed a window display before and “relished the opportunity to showcase their skills.”
“I was hesitant at first because this was my first window display, but I’m really proud of the end results,” says participating artist, Alycia Washington, whose display at PG&H, titled “When I Grow Up,” depicts “bright-eyed children looking for a bit of magic during the holiday season, and includes local makers, and inspirational Black women.”
The installation also includes a competition element where visitors can vote on their favorite displays. The winner receives a $2,000 donation to a charity of their choice. Each window is labeled and voting ballots are available at participating businesses and at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market Information Booth in Market Square (where the ballot box is also located).
Votes will be counted on Wed., Dec. 16.
Artist Jameelah Platt, whose display can be found at Social Status, and is representing BLAQK House Collections as her charity of choice, believes “artists have a real duty to help the community, to provide spaces of reflection — and public art has a way of cultivating that.”
“The notion of giving, and providing artists with the opportunity to also support a charity continues the cycle of giving, sharing, and community,” says Platt. “With 2020 coming to a close, I am more than grateful to have had the opportunity to spread cheer through what I love most — creating art.”