Society of Architectural Historians invites artists to envision better future for Pittsburgh | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Society of Architectural Historians invites artists to envision better future for Pittsburgh

click to enlarge vanessa german - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
vanessa german

The Society of Architectural Historians will welcome a group of Pittsburgh artists, civic leaders, and others for a panel covering how to better approach development in the city.

The national organization, which focuses on promoting the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism, will host its annual International Conference from Wed., April 27 through Sun., May 1 in Pittsburgh. As part of the event, SAH will present "Elevating Voices: Pittsburgh Reckonings, Renewal, Repair," a panel described as bringing together community leaders, neighborhood activists, and artists to explore how a greater "diversity of voices" can be integral to shaping the future of Pittsburgh.

The event will take place on Sat., April 30 at The Frick Pittsburgh.


"As Pittsburgh transitions from a city of heavy industry to one centered on high tech, higher education, and healthcare, one of the greatest challenges is to not further heighten inequities between those communities best positioned to participate in this new economy and those that have suffered decades of disinvestment," read a SAH description for the panel. "The recent election of Ed Gainey, the first Black mayor of Pittsburgh, promises a vision of the future city where municipal government addresses foundational needs and fosters a greater sense of belonging for all its citizens. As summarized on Gainey's campaign website: 'We can uplift the city of Pittsburgh for everyone if we start with those who have been left behind.'"

The SAH website says the overall event will bring SAH members from all over to "share new research on the history of the built environment." The program will include "37 paper sessions, keynote talks, social receptions, a city seminar, and architecture tours in Pittsburgh and nearby areas."

"Elevating Voices" will feature a number of voices representing the Black community in Pittsburgh. Included is Jonnet Solomon, head of a nonprofit working to preserve the neglected National Negro Opera Company House in Homewood. The Frick's artist-in-residence vanessa german will also speak, along with Pittsburgh multimedia artist Njaimeh Njie and filmmaker Chris Ivey, who, over the years, has documented and expressed concerns over rapid redevelopment in the city's East Liberty neighborhood.

Also on the panel is Bill Bates from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, Karen Abrams, director of Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning, and Andrés Franco, executive director of the City of Asylum.

"Elevating Voices: Pittsburgh Reckonings, Renewal, Repair." 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Sat., April 30. The Frick Pittsburgh. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. $10. sah.org

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