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“Rainbow Road” on Strawberry Way

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A new 440-foot long street mural has transformed Downtown’s Strawberry Way into a vibrant work of public art with the help of CAPA students.

This project was designed and painted by visual art students at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) magnet school located in the Cultural District. Professional muralists and graffiti writers Shane Pilster and Max GEMS Gonzales enlisted 37 students from grades 8 and 11 to co-create this 440-foot-long eclectic artwork.

Inspired by the surrealist movement technique known as the “exquisite corpse,” the piece features 12-foot sections painted by individual students, strung together over a rainbow gradient. The mural highlights each student’s unique perspective and style, while also celebrating the diversity and inclusiveness that links the whole piece—and all of us—together.   

Over the course of a four-week long residency, Pilster and Gonzales met with the students in the classroom, in galleries, and onsite to develop the general concepts, designs, and layouts of the mural. This residency allowed the artists to share their experience and knowledge as professional muralists and graffiti writers, while also learning the artistic interests and styles of the students. The title of the piece, “Rainbow Road,” was chosen by the students. 

The mural will be visible for up to three years and spans the full length of Strawberry Way, from Liberty Ave to Grant Street.

September 14, 2022: CAPA students, local dignitaries, and guests gathered on Strawberry Way to celebrate the completion of Rainbow Road. The event kicked off with live jazz played by a CAPA student quartet. CEO & President of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Jeremy Waldrup; the Superintendent of Pittsburgh Schools Dr. Wayne Walters; First Lady of Pittsburgh Michelle Gainey; and lead artists Shane Pilster and Max GEMS Gonzales delivered remarks.

Guests were invited to stay for free ice cream from nearby Weiner World and to meet-and-greet the lead artists, CAPA student artists, and their families. See news coverage of the event below.

Watch: KDKA-TV CBS Pittsburgh – New mural on Strawberry Way completed by CAPA students and local artists

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