What Dreams May Come: Cliffside Artwork Makes Dreams Reality

One of Pittsburgh’s parks will soon make children’s dreams a reality.

Taking inspiration from Cliffside Park’s unique vantage and the dreams of little ones from the community, local artist Leslie Ansley is creating a new art piece to be installed in the renovated park.

art project 5

art project 2

Ms. Ansley has developed designs that celebrate flight and soaring visions – peregrine falcons, kites, butterflies, dandelion fluff, and the like. On a recent Saturday, children from the Hill District put pencil to paper to share their own soaring thoughts and creativity at an open workshop; their contributions will be incorporated into this new piece of art.

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The work, to be applied to the park’s entry walkway and an adjacent retaining wall, will also reflect the dreams and aspirations of Amon Cashmere Harris, son of community leader and resident Tyian Battle, who died suddenly at a young age. His dreams of traveling to Paris to see the iconic city were the inspiration for the art deco inspired designs that Ms. Ansley has created, which are also evocative of the design vocabulary of the Hill District in its heyday.

Cliffside Park itself is a reality dreamt up by the community, the entire restoration having been driven and informed by neighbors in the Hill. Like art on a fridge, this art piece will give a sense of home to this community space.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project. Cliffside Park and play areas are currently under construction and will open in Summer 2016.

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What have the parks given you this year?

Parks are a present to be unwrapped all year long. As we take a step back and slow it down before the new year, we asked ourselves the question:

What have parks given us this year?

Here are some of our answers:

What have parks given you this year? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter — we’d love to hear your answers!

Thanks for sharing in the gift of the parks with us this year! If you’d like to make a contribution to the work that we do to preserve and protect the parks, visit our website.

The very ‘gifted’ Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy staff

Paints and Plants: What Ten High School Students See for Pittsburgh’s Future

The following post is from an area high school student, Lucy Newman, who worked with The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to lead a group of high school students in learning about the local environment.

Sketching out mural ideas

Last summer, I led a group of ten Pittsburgh high schoolers to paint a mural to answer an important question: What would Pittsburgh’s landscapes and communities look like if they were part of a healthy ecosystem?

The idea to paint a mural came to me while I was working at Sylvania Natives, a nursery that sells plants native to Pittsburgh. Kathy McGregor, the owner of the nursery, told me that I could create an internship project for myself. 

I like art, so I challenged myself to think of an artistic project about native plants. As I was walking home, I passed the five blank garage doors that are part of the nursery’s property. The idea struck me — I could paint them!

Two problems came to mind: it takes a long time to paint that much area (I’m a slow worker), and the cost of paint was too much for our small budget. I came up with the perfect solution to make this happen.

Why not turn this into a community effort and apply for a grant?

With lots of help from Kathy and Ms. Hetrick, my art teacher, the project evolved into a workshop. During the workshop, high school students learned about ecology and infrastructure and worked on designing the mural.

Sketching out mural ideas

“What would Pittsburgh’s landscapes and communities look like if they were part of a healthy, functioning ecosystem?” 

The question led the project. We talked to various environmental organizations, including The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Tree Pittsburgh, the Clean River Campaign, Sierra Club Allegheny Group, and Sylvania Natives about our project. They gave us their take on the most important components of a healthy ecosystem. We discussed biodiversity, green infrastructure, and energy sources, among other topics. We assessed issues from multiple perspectives — the community, politics, and economic issues as well as the environment.

Pairing off to paint the mural

Next, we used these ideas to create sketches. We split off into pairs, with each pair tackling one of the five garage doors. Working together on this was really fun, and each group had a good deal of artistic talent. Talented local artists, like Silvija Singh, Karen Coyne, and Maria Harrington, also lent a hand. They helped us think about color, lines, unity and continuity. I was amazed that by the end of the second day each group had come up with great designs. Everyone had a unique take on the question, and was able portray their ideas in a way that looked awesome.

The last three days of the week, we painted. Supplies were donated through The Sprout Fund’s Hive Fund for Connected Learning. After outlining, we began filling in details, adding swirls of white in the blue water of a river, drawing veins onto leaves.

A week later, the mural was finished and we had all become great friends. And before we knew it, we were done! We had analyzed the question considering environmental, social, political, and economic aspects, and we had created a finished mural that depicted our answers. We had just designed a healthier, more sustainable future. And it was so fun, too!

Rock on, eco artists!

Art in Bloom


The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is pleased to share news of another event that’s sure to be of interest to those who appreciate fine flowers.  The Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art will present Art in Bloom, a celebration of art and flowers, from April 16 – 18, 2009.  Floral designers from area garden clubs will create floral arrangements inspired by paintings, sculpture, furniture, and decorative arts from Carnegie Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

The arrangements will be presented throughout the museum galleries during the three-day fundraising event.  Noteworthy local florists will also decorate the public spaces on the ground level of the museum.  Highlights of Art in Bloom will include a preview gala, a cocktail party, a lecture and luncheon, and activities for children.

Admission to Art in Bloom is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $11 for students with ID and children 3-18, and free for children under 3.  Tickets include admission to the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.  The Carnegie Museum of Art will be open on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  Ticket prices vary for the lecture, cocktail receptions, and other programs. 

For further information about Art in Bloom, visit the website or contact the Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art at TabrumJ@CarnegieMuseums.org or 412-622-3325.