Downtown Activation + Public Art

Developed in 2013, the Downtown Activation and Public Art initiative is a multi-year effort to enhance the Downtown neighborhood through public art events, creating thoughtful and innovative programming that enlivens unique areas throughout Downtown Pittsburgh. Our efforts employ object-, programming-, and community-based strategies to create a more sustainable neighborhood.

Over the past few years, the PDP has successfully implemented a number of programs to enhance the vibrancy of Downtown, from the transformation of Market Square and the expansion of our programming to the installation of public art in Strawberry Way. To build upon these efforts, the PDP will continue to initiate a range of programs and installations that enliven Downtown.

Penn Avenue | Around Downtown | Cultural District | Garrison Place | Strawberry Way | Market Square | Walking Tours & Publications

Sixth Street

Pittsburgh Postcard, 2022
by Phil Seth

Designed and painted by Pittsburgh native Phil Seth, this mural was created as part of efforts to enhance 6th Street as a destination dining corridor in the heart of Downtown’s Cultural District. This work is made possible with the generous support of the Benter Foundation.

Strawberry Way

Rainbow Road, 2022
by Max Gonzales & Shane Pilster
and students from Pittsburgh CAPA

This new 440-foot long street mural has transformed Downtown’s Strawberry Way into a vibrant work of public art created by students of Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts.

Market Square

Greedy Pigeons, 2022
by Josie Norton

One Oxford Center

People We Love, 2022
by Kit Monkman, KMA

A community-based international artwork featuring portraits of individuals looking at images of people they love. Located at One Oxford Centre, 320 Smithfield Street (corner of Smithfield St. and Fourth Av.).
This installation is visible now through September

People We Love asks its visitors to meet the gaze of each video portrait and wonder about the story behind those loving eyes. People We Love is conjured into existence by its participants, in collaboration with the people who come to look at the installation and engage their imaginations.

Around Downtown

Emerging Visions, 2023
Various artists

Judah, 2022
by Curtis Reeves

Downtown Renown, 2020
by Gavin Benjamin

The “Downtown Renown” installation features 14 artworks and stories that celebrate the careers of Pittsburgh sports icons and athletic groundbreakers. Installed in windows around Downtown, find artistic renderings of household names from Mario Lemieux and Franco Harris, to Swin Cash, Dan McCoy, and more, showcasing a breadth of talent and accomplishments that is truly inspirational.

Cultural District

Cultural Trust Projects

Explore 13 different public art projects installed throughout the Cultural District in Downtown, including large-scale sculptural pieces, temporary activations, and art you can interact with.

Garrison Place

Garrison Canal, 2018
by Andrea Polli

If you were disappointed to see the beautiful lighted artwork, Energy Flow, disappear from the Rachel Carson Bridge, you will be happy to learn that lighted elements of the original artwork have been re-used to create a dynamic new piece: Garrison Canal. Andrea Polli, who created the original work, has created the new light work which turns the Garrison Place alleyway into an imaginary underwater future world of big data.

Visitors to the Canal “swim” below a wave of thousands of shimmering lights that transform color and animate in response to real-time changes in the local weather conditions from a weather station Downtown.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership commissioned this piece as a wonderful opportunity to reuse elements of work that was much-loved by Pittsburghers and visitors alike. The project is part of a larger initiative to enliven Downtown alleyways with lighting, artwork, and pedestrian enhancements. Garrison Canal can be viewed in Garrison Place, between the 900 block of Liberty Avenue and Exchange Way.

Garrison Canal continues the effort of many in Downtown to utilize art to encourage exploration of our beautiful built environment” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “Enhancing unexpected places through art makes a neighborhood unique, enjoyable and accessible for everyone.”

Walking Tours & Publications

Thanks to our friends at the Office of Public Art and Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, you can download free self-guided walking tours and a variety of publications detailing even more public art on display in and around Downtown. Visit their website.

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