New initiative transforms Pittsburgh Mayor’s office into rotating art exhibit | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

New initiative transforms Pittsburgh Mayor’s office into rotating art exhibit

click to enlarge Michelle Gainey hugs son Darius after her husband, Ed Gainey, took the lead against incumbent Bill Peduto in the Democratic Mayoral Primary on Tue., May 19, 2021. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Michelle Gainey hugs son Darius after her husband, Ed Gainey, took the lead against incumbent Bill Peduto in the Democratic Mayoral Primary on Tue., May 19, 2021.
Ed Gainey being elected as Pittsburgh's first Black mayor marked a historic moment for the city. It also meant that Pittsburgh would see a Black woman in a position of power and influence in his wife, First Lady Michelle Gainey. Now, Michelle has launched her first community initiative, one that sees the mayor’s office taking on a very different role.

The city of Pittsburgh announced the beginning of Pittsburgh Paints, a rotating art exhibition described as using art to “celebrate the diversity of our great city.” The project will highlight the city’s art scene by exhibiting works in the mayor’s executive conference room, the mayor’s office, and the chief of staff’s office.

Not only that, but each month, Pittsburgh Paints will feature a “unique theme dedicated to uplifting Pittsburgh’s diverse voices, empowering local artists, and creating opportunities to use art to learn more about different cultures in our city.” The first Pittsburgh Paints exhibit honors Black History Month with work by Brandon Jennings, Ashante Josey, Marlon Gist, Douglas Webster, Irene Sparks, Kellye Jean Dawson-Young, Baba Amir Rashiid, Jamie Acie Sr, Ernest Bey, Hurley Charles Nance, and Theresa Rose Monroe.


Pittsburgh Paints will run in partnership with Fantasy Zellars, CEO and president of the Bounce Marketing & Consulting firm.

“Pittsburgh has such a beautiful and inspiring art scene,” says Michelle. “Pittsburgh Paints is just one way we can highlight our local residents, bring culture into the Mayor’s Office, and celebrate all of the incredible artists in Pittsburgh. I have always been passionate about art providing an opportunity for us to learn and explore different cultures, ideas, and perspectives. It is my honor to work with the incredible community in Pittsburgh to showcase our local talent. I hope this series can help inspire our children to think creatively and embrace opportunities to learn about something new.”

In the coming months, Pittsburgh Paints will showcase art paying tribute to Women’s History Month, as well as months dedicated to Asian-Pacific American Heritage, Jewish American Heritage, and Latinx/Hispanic Heritage. Also included are LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Black Business Month, American Artists Appreciation Month, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as shows inspired by students, photography, the holidays, and Pittsburgh in general.

“I could not be prouder to use the Mayor’s Office as a platform to showcase and highlight such incredible and diverse artists from across Pittsburgh,” says Mayor Gainey.


He emphasizes how the city should support local artists from various groups, and that art and culture are “essential to building pathways to prosperity and rich, full lives for everyone in our city.”

“Celebrating culture and learning from each other is how we grow and become the most inclusive city in America,” adds Mayor Gainey. “Pittsburgh’s talented artists deserve this platform and it is my honor to highlight and share the incredible work of our residents.”

All Pittsburgh Paints shows can be viewed at the mayor's office in the City-County Building at 414 Grant St. in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Artists wishing to be involved in upcoming exhibits can submit their work anytime to FirstLady@pittsburghpa.gov or by going to bit.ly/PittsburghPaints.

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