I S S U E 4 // S U M M E R 2 0 1 7
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A Letter From The
PUBLISHER It's been 12 months and we have wrapped up issue number four - we hope you enjoy it! I want to thank you all for your support and contributions throughout these first 4 editions. LOCALarts was born out of helping a friend with a gallery show produce a brochure and as we dove into it the lack of coverage of the arts became apparent. As I researched I discovered a need, but also some skepticism. I was told how this had been attempted before, how needed it was and all the reasons it would’t work. I think it was a blessing that I was a complete outsider and that I was starting my (ongoing) education from ground zero. I reached out to several individuals and they introduced me to artists, gallery owners, curators and others. Early on I learned of the gap between artists and the general Pittsburgh population. I kept hearing how Pittsburghers don’t buy art. Maybe a lot of that comes from our blue collar roots. I joke that just two generations ago every house had three pieces of art; a family portrait, a picture of The Last Supper and in the basement a picture of Dogs Playing Cards. As someone who has been involved in marketing my whole working life, I understand the gap, maybe not how to bridge it completely but hopefully to close it a little. LOCALarts isn’t meant to be an artist to artist publication, it’s goal is to make these LOCAL artists and events more accessible to individuals who may be unfamiliar with this somewhat inclusive world. I will never forget my first solo trip to a local art show. I walked in and immediately felt like a stranger in a strange land. It seemed to me that everyone knew each other, either friends or just through some “secret society” of artists. I learned in short order how open to new faces these events are. I’m happy to say I can now walk in and usually know more then a handful of people along with being able to pick out those who show up at every event for free beer, cheese and crackers.
PUBLISHER Jeff Rose email@example.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Rodney Burrell firstname.lastname@example.org
COPY EDITOR / PARTNER Carrie Rose email@example.com PARTNER Laura Early firstname.lastname@example.org
ART DIRECTOR Jordan Mitchell email@example.com PHOTO DIRECTOR Julie Kahlbaugh GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Dan Gajudo Kalie Berkey ARTS WRITERS Eric Boyd Hayley Woodman Enzo Knight LITERARY WRITER Arlan Hess FILM WRITER Krista Graham SPECIAL THANKS Dr. Patricia Sheahan Deborah Kiss Holtschlag Carolyn Pierotti
Questions about LOCALarts or advertising
I look forward to the next 4 issues and where it takes us. Thanks for all of your support. Jeff Rose Publisher 412-215-6687 4
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opportunities? Contact us at (412) 215-6759 or
Cover Image by Julie Kahlbaugh
ARTS PGH ISSUE 4 SUMMER2017 15
06 Art Happenings
Everything (mostly) you need to know about what’s going on in the arts.
10 Sara Connor
19 Concept Art Gallery Ready, aim, bid.
22 Art Shows
In Pittsburgh, there’s an art show for everyone. Here’s your list.
24 The Pittsburgh Opera
Pointillism gone wild.
Almost 80 years of singing in different languages.
15 Mia Henry
28 Adrienne Weir
Grit, amongst other things.
16 Jeff Jarzynka An interview with an art curator.
The works of Sheena Carroll.
Acting is life.
We go behind the curtain at PBT’s production of Alice in Wonderland.
32 Summer Reading List
37 Fresh Paint
Feed your brain with words on paper.
Our interview with the emerging artist, Maiya Denne. arts | Issue 4
EDITOR'S Notes ART AND SOUND
Delectable musical parings to enhance your creative experience
A Letter From
THE EDITOR I cannot rest in twilight, nor the days of my journeys, as the crippling effect of life has plagued my existence. To be forthright, and honest, we shall come beneath our pleasures, guilty of no more or no less, the villain of truth can we never evade. This is where I started, and this is where I shall end, the written word. A snotty-nosed teenager, full of angst and an unhealthy obsession with Rage Against The Machine. No friends or support system to channel my need for something ignescent. I turned to writing, and that was my fire. My art was my pain, and to this day, it still is. Art, as the outside world may see, is beauty beyond reproach; eloquent words, paintings, or sculptures manifested into reality. But for many artists, our muse is the darkness, and with that darkness, we produce light. I suppose, in essence, creating a positive out of a negative. Our insecurities developed into a brilliant piece of writing, or a traumatic incident deliberated into a powerful painting, or dance number. When we go to an art show and engage in a piece, how do we translate into the work? I challenge everyone who decides to attend an art or theater show within the next 3 months to take a moment and process what the artist, director, or performer is trying to get across, and what it means to your life. Too many times we breeze through shows, both in the visual and performing arts, and never truly internalize how something so beautiful, or tragic, can translate into our lives, but I assure you, there’s always a connection, if you’re dedicated to exploring yourself and whichever medium is placed in your senses. We all use fuel to move through this world, and art is perhaps the most beautiful tragedy we may ever experience in our existence. Appreciate it while you can, art is momentary and experiences are fleeting. In this moment, I am jealous of air you breathe, longing to dance under your moon and stars, the wind invades my skin and the sunlight completes a momentary thought of bliss. In this moment, I live, but I am jealous of life. In this moment, I am free.
Rodney Burrell, Editor-In-Chief 6
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Ernest Hemingway The quintessential man’s man, surviving two plane crashes, writing about the horrors of war, and not being afraid to tap into his emotions, Hemingway was, in fact, the most interesting man in the world. James Blake The Colour in Anything A Haunting narrative to Hemingway’s epilogue of musings, and his overt sense of seeing this world for what it was, and what he didn’t want it to be. Jean Michel Basquiat One of the pioneers of the art movement in our country, he created a deep visual narrative, and spoke to politics, culture, and ambivalence. In the wake of his death, he has become one of the most famous pop-culture icons on the planet. Recently, someone spent 110 Million (With an M) dollars on one of Jena Michel’s paintings. Rage Against the Machine The Ghost of Tom Joad Basquiat was relevant in his efforts to undo the divisive nature of society at that point and time. He painted with a message, and pioneered change. His work was fluid and angry, much like this song.
FORGET ME NOT Caravaggio One of the world’s most prolific painters, Michelangelo Merisi AKA Caravaggio, was a bit of a trouble maker in his career, making more enemies than friends with his inflammatory paintings. His works are visually malignant, settling in unrest and discord, and eliciting varying emotions and challenging the eye to dissect each layer of angst. My favorite work of his, The Martrydom of St, Ursula. The depiction is St. Ursula being killed after she thwarts the affection of a high-ranking chief.
SOCIAL MEDIA Story ideas? Send them to rburrell@Local-pittsburgh.com Catch up with us on facebook.com/localartspgh @localartspgh
2008 East Carson Street Pittsburgh PA 15203 412-431-3337 mhartframe.com fine art . picture framing . professional art services
n art news
THE PITTSBURGH ART SCENE CONTINUES TO THRIVE.
WHAT’S HAPPENING? HERE’S WHAT’S NEW
Written by Eric Boyd
ON JANUARY 14TH THE NEW CITY OF ASYLUM BOOKSTORE OPENED IN THE NORTH SIDE. Located in the new Alphabet City building on W. North Avenue, the new store will highlight many of the writers in exile that City of Asylum has famously refuged over the years. Local and national authors will be well represented as well, both in new and used formats; the store currently carries more than 8,000 books and is a welcome addition to the North Side.
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ON FRIDAY JUNE 16TH THE MATTRESS FACTORY WILL BE HOSTING ITS 20TH ANNUAL GARDEN PARTY.
For the past two decades the fundraising event—complete with dancing, music, and over 40 local bars / restaurants to sample from—has allowed the Mattress Factory to continue its mission of hosting daring, innovative artists from around the world. Aside from being one of the hippest parties of the year, the museum’s evocative installations—as well various programs both artistic and educational—wouldn’t be possible without the proceeds from the event.
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PITTSBURGH DRINKS: A HISTORY OF COCKTAILS, NIGHTLIFE, AND BARTENDING TRADITION is a new book by journalist Cody McDevitt and bartender Sean Enright. Released on March 20th, the book explores the fascinating history of Pittsburgh’s drinking scene, from Prohibition (did you know the term “speakeasy” originated here?) all the way up to the present. The book had two buzzy launch parties: one at Lawrenceville’s Spirit Lounge on March 27th, and one at Wigle Whiskey at the Strip District on March 31st. McDevitt and Enright celebrated the new book with readings and signings, as well as music and guest bartenders making special cocktails.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM’S SOUND SERIES, NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS are playing at Oakland’s Carnegie Music Hall on Thursday, June 8 in support of their latest studio album, Skeleton Tree. Deeply affected by the death of his teenage son in 2015, Skeleton Tree is a stripped down affair; sonic landscapes brush against Cave’s even-more-cryptic-than-usual lyrics for a sound that will likely embower the music hall audience like a dark blanket.
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Written by Enzo Knight | Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
What made you decide on law as a profession? Nearing the end of my junior year at Allegheny College, I was a Psychology major with a double minor in Political Science and Communication Arts with no real sense of what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” One of my friends was studying for the LSATs (which are basically the SATs for law school), so I thought I’d give it a go. I subsequently visited Duquesne University School of Law and loved it. When I got the call that I was accepted, I was overjoyed. I have always loved reading, writing, deconstructing and reconstructing arguments, and presenting, and law is a wonderful because I get to do them all! There’s such a great divide between art and law, do you ever find it difficult to balance the intrinsic free spirited nature with the rigid uniformity of law? To play devil’s advocate a bit, perhaps there isn’t such a big divide. Consider some of the greatest legal decisions, advocates, and judges in America’s history. Didn’t they test the bounds of societal norms? Didn’t they compel us to feel something or challenge us in a new way? Although lawyers may get a bad rap (or at least some funny jokes), the true essence of a litigator is to help those in need navigate complex issues when they are lost or adrift. Doesn’t art do the same? Both challenge me intellectually and creatively. While painting allows me to decompress and express myself unrestrained, my legal background provides me with the platform to navigate networking and business opportunities that help me share what I love doing with others.
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Has your art side ever interfered with your law career? This question is timely because, by this past December, it became clear to my husband and I that I could not continue practicing law at a big law firm if Sara O’Connor Fine Art was going to continue growing. For example, I didn’t feel right agreeing to participate in certain shows outside of Pittsburgh because an unexpected client emergency could arise at any time (including weekends). Because I have always loved teaching, mentoring, and advising, I transitioned to a position with the Law School Toolbox and the Bar Exam Toolbox. These two sister companies are dedicated to helping law students and individuals studying for the Bar exam obtain success. This way, I get to share what I love about law with the next generation of aspiring attorneys while working remotely so I can travel and share my art with a wider audience than ever before. Although leaving the firm was bittersweet, I have never been happier. In fact, I was able to accept an adjunct position to teach Constitutional Law at Chatham University, which definitely would not have been possible without the change. So, cheers to 2017! What’s the best part about being an artist? A few things stand out. I get really immersed in the process. So much so that I often finish a painting only to realize that my hands, arms, legs, and clothes are sometimes just as colorful as the canvas I was working on. I also love speaking to kids who love my work. There is nothing quite like it. Their smiles are priceless. It was also really awesome to have Michael Rooker (from The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) choose one of my pieces for his granddaughter at the Steel City Con. Finally, I love the challenge of a large blank canvas. Beginning on a painting is one of the easiest ways to see how your possibilities are limitless and the future is yours to shape. It’s rather inspirational to have a full-time adult job that pays the bills and still be able to create mediums that can engage and illuminate, what advice or direction would you give to people looking to balance work and art? Why, thank you! First, you need to dedicate yourself to your dual pursuits, which means accepting and embracing hard work and long hours. Remember, you are not only working a full-time job and carving off time to create art. Any additional spare time gets filled up with traveling to and exhibiting at shows or researching new business opportunities. Second, true success does not happen overnight. My husband and I started selling at tiny shows and craft fairs just to see what would happen. Getting into the Three Rivers Arts Festival a few months later and selling my largest piece to date was an incredible accomplishment, but it was not a guarantee and it certainly did not happen overnight. Third, steer clear from the naysayers and do not quit at the first sign of rejection. Finally, check out The Abundant Artist, which has hundreds of free blog posts, podcast episodes, and instructional videos on selling art online. I have used it as a resource numerous times and I love its dual mission to teach talented artist to sell their art online and dispel the starving artist myth.
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Tickets & Details: www.DoorsOpenPgh.org DOP 2017 is presented in cooperation with:
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Favorite Superhero? What’s your favorite type of art to create? That is a tough question, because I love all three of my styles: Pointillism, Marble Abstract, and Kooky Kritters. That said, I recently created a new Pointillism style that I cannot get enough of. If you stopped by my studio, you’d most likely find me working on one of those pieces using a blue and green color palette. Top 3 favorite Pittsburgh artists? Limit myself to three? From this amazing city? Impossible! When it comes to fellow painters, Burton Morris is an incredible American Pop artist and April Minech creates beautiful portraits of animals available for adoption through shelters and rescues. Both embrace bold colors in their work. When it comes to singers, I love jamming out to Daya, Wiz Khalifa, and Mac Miller. Finally, I love the aerialist work of Kelsey Keller, who also teaches her art form.
Edward Elric (from the Full Metal Alchemist), Wolverine, and (the ultimate superhero) my husband. One super weird thing about you that no one knows but you’re going to tell us anyway? When I was really young, I used to love playing with Perler Beads (those little plastic beads you iron to solidify a design or image). My version of playing consisted of me mixing all of the colors together, sorting them, and repeating the process over and over again. I loved how the colors interacted with one another and how one tiny bead of a contrasting color could make such a difference. Almost two decades later, following a stressful day at work, I thought almost wistfully of those beads. Fortunately, my husband had some paint laying around and I thought “what if instead of buying and sorting beads, I created something that lasted with tiny dollops of paint?” A few days later, I had completed my first pointillism painting (Marble Dust) and have not stopped painting since. How do you view art? By looking at it! Joking aside, I view art as an opportunity to take stock in something you enjoy. I tell fans and collectors, you do not need to “find yourself” or “the meaning of life” in my work. Rather, simply enjoy your visual experience. If you want to view my work, visit saraoconnorfineart.com or follow me on Facebook (Sara O’Connor Fine Art) or Instagram (saraoconnorfineart). On my website, you will be able to visit online galleries of my work and see an upcoming list of my shows and events.
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and that is the primary driver in my work. I won’t take a commission with “direction” other than size. What is the most important thing you want to get across in your work? I suppose that changes with the work. When I’m trying to get a specific point across the work tends to be more literal. With my abstract pieces I’d like people to get what they want to. I like that people add their own ideas, stories, emotions as they interact with the work - like a silent dialogue. For me, if other people find something, anything, in what I’ve done then I have accomplished a very special thing. Name 3 artists who inspire your work? I don’t know. Someone once told me my work was like the love child of Gerhard Richter and Joan Mitchell... I didn’t have any formal art history so I had to (embarrassingly) research them. To be honest I’m a very “in the now” sort so I’m mostly influenced by what’s happening/ who’s happening at present. That said, my inspiration comes from within and from the work itself. What do you think needs to change the most in the art community?
What inspired the name The Mine Factory? The building the gallery is in once housed a manufacturer of mining safety equipment. Calling the space The Mine Factory was a nod to the building’s history. The Mine Factory is one of many businesses in the 201 Braddock location. Some people think the building is called The Mine Factory - it’s not! For now The Mine Factory resides at 201 Braddock but that may change down the road - maybe it even expands. The Mine Factory is not bound by a location but by its mission to support the art community. What do you think The Mine Factory has done for the art community? I think The Mine Factory has been part of a grass roots effort on
the part of the arts community to create opportunities for one another. We have an amazing art scene in Pittsburgh and that’s due to a number of factors - affordability, location, foundation funding - but especially the artists supporting one another. I believe that Pittsburgh is at the beginning of an amazing resurgence in the arts; I’m excited by what I see. What have you learned as a full time artist? It’s a very hard business. I’ve also learned that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. When I paint I lose myself, everything is quiet and I’m as close as I can be to meditation. There’s nothing like it for me. Art as a business, does it ever cloud your creativity? Maybe. I’m sure in some instances. That said, I started painting for me
I’d like to see more events/opportunities that connect the different pockets of artists who are practicing in Pittsburgh. There is so much to be gained by artists interacting with other artists. I’ve had several events at The Mine Factory directed at bringing artists together. It’s always a blast and I believe leads to a stronger community. Favorite Superhero? Wonder Woman - duh. What could you eat 7 days a week? Anything Indian. One thing about you that not a lot of people know, but you’re going to tell us anyway? When I was 9 my family moved to Grenada to do humanitarian work. We got stuck in the middle of a military coup that resulted in the US operation “Urgent Fury”. It was an experience that still impacts what I do today. arts | Issue 4 17
What does an independent curator do? I am a conduit. I connect artists and audiences. I do this in a variety of ways, most notably and publicly through pop-up exhibitions that I coordinate and promote. But I’m also an art resource for individual and corporate art collectors who are looking to start, or add to their collection. Additionally, I work with interior designers and architects by infusing art into their projects – this can often lead to custom-commissioned pieces. I don’t have a brick and mortar gallery to call home, but I’m forging my own viable alternative to this traditional model. This provides me flexibility in how and where I work. It allows me to work with an amazing pool of local, regional, and national artists. How does the agency world differ from the art industry?
Written by Enzo Knight Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
I think there are plenty of differences between the two, but I’d rather focus on the similarities. Both are forms of communication that express concepts, ideas, and emotions through a variety of media. I’ve spent the majority of my career devising creative strategies to connect products/services to consumers. Now I connect art to patrons – art is my widget. I guess a personal difference for me would be that while I’ve enjoyed my career in the agency world, it was a job. Working in the arts is more of a passion – my calling. What’s been the most difficult about being our on your own? Just that, being on my own (alone) - it can be a lot to juggle when you wear all the hats. With that said, I often don’t feel alone as it’s very much a collaboration between myself and the artists with whom I work - we’re in this together. I do look forward to getting to the point where I can employ an assistant or two. What’s your take on the arts climate in Pittsburgh? It’s heating up. It’s not news that Pittsburgh is considered one of the hot cities in the country right now. While the sports teams are still a hot topic, national press has focused on the many exciting things happening here in technology, healthcare, development, film, and food (of course). I think the arts scene is as strong. We have so many independent artists and musicians that have found Pittsburgh to be an affordable place to live, work and experiment. Additionally we have a foundation of amazing arts institutions and organizations that continually strive to connect with and engage with new audiences.
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tainly these objects can be enjoyed for their surface aesthetic quality, but dive deeper to learn about the artist’s inspiration, or technique/approach or use of materials. And buy what you love. What’s your favorite part of being a curator? Making sales! I love when someone is moved by a piece of art to the point of wanting to live with it and make it their own. There’s no shame in the commerce of art. It’s the fuel keeps the machine running and enables artists to continue to create art and to sustain and advance their career. The challenge is to create awareness around the arts scene and bring it to the forefront of the conversation. What do the arts need to survive this area? Patrons, patrons, patrons, and not just corporate sponsors. Pittsburghers need to “get aht of the haus” and buy tickets to live theatre, dance, and music. Don’t just browse the art, buy it! What do you think hurts the arts community most? Awareness. I think this gets back to what I was saying earlier. I think in general people enjoy (visual) art, but they don’t often know where to find it. Unlike other cities we don’t really have an area of the city devoted to a gallery scene, aside from the couple operated by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. What do you look for in an artist before you represent them? First and foremost I want to connect with their art. That is not to say
that I need to connect with it to the point of wanting to collect it myself, but I want it to stop me and make me think. Many times I can feel challenged by it. That can be a good thing. I also look for unique voices and perspectives, and I think about how an artist relates to others with whom I work. As I continue to build my brand, I want to offer a diverse mix, but with a consistent level of quality. What do you say to the beginning art collector when they attend one of your shows? Walk around and experience the work. Take it all in. Pay attention to what you react to and how. If you like a piece, ask yourself what is it about the piece that you like. If you don’t like a piece, ask yourself why, don’t just quickly dismiss it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or the artist or of the curator. Art is so much more than a picture on a wall or a sculpture on the floor. Cer-
“WORKING IN THE ARTS IS MORE OF A PASSION – MY CALLING.”
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What’s next for you? 2017 is looking to be an active year. I’ve been selected by The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, and Cohen & Grigsby to curate and produce a series of on-site art exhibitions at their locations throughout the year. I’ve just installed an exhibition on diversity at Cohen & Grigsby titled “Connects.” It features artists Sarika Goulatia and Gavin Benjamin. Additionally, I installed a solo exhibition for Mia Tarducci titled “Chapters.” It’s a survey of some of her most recent series of themes. I’ve also been retained by two non-profit organizations, POWER (Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery), and The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble to infuse visual art into their planned events this year. I’m also planning a handful of popups with other artists that will happen throughout the year. All exciting stuff.
CONCEPT ART GALLERY Written by Enzo Knight
Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
Concept Art Gallery, located in Regent Square, is a multifaceted gallery that not only shows art, they’re one of the only places in Pittsburgh where you can take part in a live auction, and finally live out your dream of wearing a monocle and getting into a bidding war with an 80-year-old woman who hates the world, but loves art. You can’t match her paddle strength, but she respects you for trying. The gallery was founded in 1972, and is one of the premier art spaces in the area, showcasing some of the region’s most distinguished artists, and facilitating sales not only in the primary markets, but also serving as a broker, and of course, producing live auctions.
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Concept doesn’t only auction off high-value pieces, you can get into the action for as little as fifty dollars, which is right where I would fit in. Upon walking into the space, I was greeted by a friendly attendant who offered me a bidding number and lot guide, which detailed everything being auctioned that day. Directly in front of me were about 30 or so people, listening to the auctioneer, and waiting to bid. Surprisingly, he spoke pretty slowly. I wasn’t disappointed, but the air did exit my proverbial balloon at his calming voice. He did have a gavel, though…And he wasn’t afraid to use it.
To the right were three people manning the internet bidding, and behind them, three more people handling phone-in bids. For a second I was feeling pretty special, and then someone bid $24,000 for a painting; suddenly I realized that everything I owned was worth $24,000, and I was rounding up. But don’t fret, even if you’re not an art lover, the auction delves into a wide variety of items for your perusal. Antiques, silverware, candelabras, rugs…I even saw an original one dollar Pittsburgh bill, which sold for around 150 dollars. The whole idea of the experience was pretty enlightening. There wasn’t a roomful of women in fur and men in top hats, although that would have been pretty boss. Lots of “regular” looking folks with irregular amounts of disposable income. At a minimum, the Concept auctions are something to experience at least once, just so you can add another layer of false depth to your online persona. #auction #biddingwar
For more information on Concept Art Gallery, visit conceptgallery.com 22
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ALWAYS A CLASSIC
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS! Patio Opening Soon
2228 E. Carson Street on Pittsburghâ€™s South Side 412-488-1818 | Free valet parking
Written by Enzo Knight | Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
art show reca
IMPACT @ Percolate
Darrell Kinsel, Jason Sauer, Marcell Lamont Walker, and Bob Ziller exhibited an eclectic and vibrant display at Percolate gallery.
REMBERING PITTSBURGH @ The Lantern
A journey through photographer David Aschkenas’s lens, Remembering Pittsburgh showcased photographs from 1978-1982.
CONTEMPLATING OTHER ARTISTS by Sean Beauford
Curated by Sean Beauford at Framehouse and Jask Gallery, artists Samira Shaheen , Sarika Goulatia, Sheila Shaffer, and Penny Mateer showcased various mediums.
NON-PUNK PITTSBURGH @ Space
A stunning display of Pittsburgh’s musical history at SPACE gallery, fully equipped with jam sessions. 24
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THERE IS MORE TO EXPLORE @ Unsmoke
A PORCUPINE IN PITTSBURGH @ Gallery Chiz
Artist Brian McCall welcomed a kooky array of sculptures to Gallery Chiz.
TEAPOTS! @ Morgan Gallery
Hosted at Morgan Gallery, Teapots! Is an internationally recognized exhibit delving into various teapot creations from around the world.
RITUAL & RELIC @ The Mine Factory
Artist Brenda Stumpf settled into The Mine Factory and offers a haunting visual into a parallel universe of multi-dimensional muses like the Black Madonna and victims of Jack The Ripper.
rt show recap
Artist Ryder Henry showcased a wildly engaging and entertaining array of 3D pieces, paintings, and other sci fi tapestries at Unsmoke.
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AN OPERA FACTORY’S
HISTORY OF MOVING FORWARD Written by Eric Boyd
When Pittsburgh Opera moved to the Strip District’s old Westinghouse air brake building, the local media dubbed the new facility an “opera factory.” The idea was that the company would run as much of their productions in-house as possible; everything from costumes to developing new talent could be taken care of within the walls of the new building.
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The word most used to describe Pittsburgh Opera’s mission, however, contrasts sharply against the imagery of an assembly-line. “This is a truly ephemeral artform,” Marilyn Egan, Pittsburgh Opera’s Director of Education, says. “After the curtain goes down on our Sunday performance, you’ll never see a production like that again.”
The history of Pittsburgh Opera can attest to the special nature of its craft. For years Egan and a small army of volunteers have helped maintain and grow various artifacts showcasing the company’s work over the last seven decades. Original librettos, headshots, and news clippings are all organized and kept for posterity to dig into the company’s long history. Founded by five women—Virginia C. Byerly, Carolyn Hunt Mahaffey, Priscilla W. Collins, Ruby N. Wickersham, and Marie M. Pease—as The Pittsburgh Opera Society in 1939, the company’s first production, The Tales of Hoffmann, took place on March 15th, 1940 at the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland. The company moved to the more spacious Syria Mosque in 1945—which no longer exists—and performed there until 1971, when downtown’s Heinz Hall welcomed them for a grand performance of Aida. Pittsburgh Opera finally settled into the Benedum Center, where they have performed since 1987. That year was particularly exciting for the opera.
“Luciano Pavarotti cut the ribbon for the Benedum,” Egan says, displaying a large golden pair of scissors Pavarotti used on October 6th of that year. The legendary tenor then performed a benefit concert to celebrate the new theater. Since then Pittsburgh Opera has stayed in the Benedum, but their operations didn’t reach the Westinghouse building until 2008. The large, industrial space is able to house everything from the opera’s directors and various volunteers to costumes and jewelry. They are even able to host some offices for their partner, Attack Theatre. Within this building they have been able to showcase a wide range of productions, from last March’s Turandot to the Pittsburgh Opera’s first-ever world premier of a new work, The Summer King, the story of local Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords legend Josh Gibson. One particularly exciting part of the building which unites all of these productions is a large, empty room nearly the size of the Benedum Theater’s stage.
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“This is where we rehearse,” Egan says. “This is the gem of the building.” The space appears rough—a spikemarked wooden floor complements bare brick walls punctuated by a door on one end and a roll-up garage on another—but it is a remarkable coup for the company which, unlike most, does not have to rent out a separate rehearsal space for their productions. Aside from the financial benefit, this also allows the performers a better chance to sink into their roles. “We’re going to do our best to put performers on the actual scenery to rehearse,” says William Powers, the Director of Administration and Artistic Operations. As an example, rehearsals for a production of The Grapes of Wrath included an old truck—an invaluable piece of the stage setting—to actu-
THE RAKES PROGRESS
ally be brought into the rehearsal space. Most other companies are not able to give their performers such luxuries. Powers assures that it results in better performances. “That improves the artistic product immensely.” Helping the production perform at its highest level is something Pittsburgh Opera strives for. “What people like about Pittsburgh Opera is that they can come here and have a supportive, nurturing environment which allows them to actually excel in their artistic abilities. [For instance] we have a very singer-friendly musical director in Antony Walker, a singer himself; he’s constantly breathing with the performers in a way where people know, when they come to Pittsburgh, they’re going to have a music director who is going to help them.”
The environment fosters such good will that many artists who start their opera careers in Pittsburgh end up coming back to stay.
“They love Pittsburgh,” Egan says. “They get very enamored,” Powers agrees. “A lot of our resident artists, who generally spend two years with us starting out, end up making Pittsburgh their home.”
Like Pittsburgh itself, Pittsburgh Opera is blending old and new in a way that artists can appreciate. Like the rafters and brick of their Westinghouse “opera factory”, this company is original; as the old air brakes literally helped drive this country into the future, so too does Pittsburgh Opera look ahead to keep the musical arts as vibrant as ever in our region.
arts | Issue 4 29
Written by Krista Graham
arts | Issue 4
Dog Bytes’ Indiegogo campaign says “In a creepy story about poison, eggs, and holes, a step daughter acts out a revenge fantasy.” But with the awards it’s racked up at film fests around the globe, it’s clear that there’s more to this series than just one mysterious tagline.
Melissa Martin and Adrienne Wehr have long been collaborators. Back in 2000 they released The Bread, My Sweet which was very successful and you can even catch it on Starz, Encore, Itunes, Hulu and Netflix under the title The Wedding for Bella.
Winner of the Award of Merit at the Best Shorts competition, Gold Remi Award winner at Worldfest Houston, Excellence Award winner at Depth of Field International Film Fest, and winner of Best Dramedy at the Sicily Webfest it’s clear that this strange little Pittsburgh series is taking a bite out of the world’s film scene.
The film had global distribution and Adrienne is proud of the fact that The Bread, My Sweet showed “Pittsburgh is/was making indie films that are not always zombie oriented.”
With Adrienne Wehr, Pittsburgh’s most famous Indie leading lady (and multi disciplinary artist) at the helm it’s no wonder another piece connected to her is going far.
“I’VE LONG BEEN A CHAMPION OF THE INDIE REALM… IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PASSION OF THE FILM MAKER” According to Adrienne, Dog Bytes started out as a stand alone short film, made with her dear friends. “Tammy Tsai was one of my favorite yoga teachers. She had kept it carefully hidden from me that she was in the performing arts.” But when Tammy finally cracked and admitted that she too had “the bug” and a long history of arts education, Adrienne was quick to pull her resources. “(Tammy) wanted to get her SAG card. One way of doing that is to create a SAG project.” Adrienne decided to be a consultant producer or “guide dog” as she said and introduced Tammy to Amy Hartman who wrote the first screen play and Melissa Martin who directed the first stand alone short and then went on to write and direct the series shorts 2-5.
“The Bread, My Sweet ran in theatres for two years and that fueled the engine for distribution throughout the nation.” “I’ve long been a champion of the indie realm…it’s all about the passion of the film maker,” Adrienne says. She has a huge emphasis on respect, destroying the hierarchy in film, and creating positive creative energies that cultivate great artistic work. “I always say that a single day of a large bloated budget studio film could create ten independent films.” Now with indie films that have taken over the world The Bread, My Sweet and The Immaculate Reception both garnering worldwide attention through the festival circuit, a long history with Pittsburgh creative teams, and a decade of working behind the scenes on Mr. Roger’s, Adrienne and her fabulous, homegrown team of independent film makers who happen to be completely amazing women are ready to show the world Dog Bytes. On her Dog Bytes character Adrienne says, “Jane was a really lovely experience especially that first episode. To play a character that says nothing…it’s just nice to perform physical energy through the body and not through language. That was my chore with Jane.” “Throughout the series, we do learn more about Jane…she’s been a bad girl.”
Adrienne’s character Jane has been abused, taken captive, and first appears with a dog collar. Later in Season 1 though Adrienne says that “Jane is coming back to life.” Frank Ferraro and Adrienne Wehr are teaming up again for a new multi disciplinary play called In the Company of Ghosts coming to the New Hazlett Theatre September 2017.
In a creepy story about poison, egg s and holes, a step daughter acts out a And of course, the revenge fantasy. re are dogs.
- Bill O’Driscoll,
Pittsburgh City Paper
dysfun Grotesque and vio ction in the back woods. lent with a “Breaking Bad” sense dark humor...these wome of n, while not dogs, do bite bac k.” www.youtube.com /user/dogbytesthes eries “Bizarre tale of extrem
- Adrian McCoy,
Raindance Webfest Rio Webfest
Grand Rapids Film Festival Youngstown Film Festival
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
GOLD REMI AWARD
Depth of Field International Film Fest
Webfest Berlin Laughlin Internation Film Fest
Athens Indie and Video Fest Long Beach Indie Film Festival
Web Series Festival Global San Diego Film Festival
Westchester International Film Festival
A Bad Lady Flicks
Berlin Independent Film Festival Three Rivers Film Festival
Woods Hole Film Festival Cape Fear Indie Fest
AWARD OF MERIT
Best Shorts Competition
WIFM International Short Film Competition
WIFM Pittsburgh Short Film Competition
“Frank created all of the original music and served as the sound designer for Dog Bytes. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with him.” So with each multi disciplinary finger in a pot, Adrienne and company charge on to new works. As for Dog Bytes, Ms. Wehr encourages you to “make a sexy tax write off” and contribute to the series Indiegogo Campaign. For more information on the series, and how you can become an Executive Producer or just support your local Pittsburgh filmmakers, you can visit: https://igg.me/at/dogbytes.
arts | Issue 4 31
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Summer Reading 17’:
The City Books Short List! Written by Arlan Hess
Jennifer Jackson Berry, The Feeder: This prize-winning book reveals a poet with no fear. With pieces about pregnancy, infertility, and physical pleasure, Berry’s collection is some of the most authentic poetry readers will ever find. She is Editor-in-Chief of Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Katie Fallon, Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird: This work of literary non-fiction examines a year in the life of a North American turkey vulture. Including scientific data and interviews with raptor experts, Vulture is an ideal read for environmentalists and sustainability enthusiasts. Fallon is the founder of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia and lives in West Virginia. Sarah Gerard, Sunshine State: A collection of essays about growing up in Florida in the 70s and 80s, this book straddles the line between personal and geographical history. Whether a reader has been to Florida or not, everyone will connect with Gerard’s exploration of physical and psychological homes. Adam Grant, Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World: Whether a reader is taking a break from job or school, Grant’s 2016 book will help people renew their sense of imagination and purpose. He describes how to create spaces and cultures of originality to breed new ideas at home and in the workplace. Abeer Y. Hoque, Olive Witch: An attention-grabbing memoir written by a former Pittsburgh resident about the search for home, both literally and figuratively. Electrifying and bittersweet, Olive Witch was selected by TIME Magazine as one of seven notable memoirs for International Women’s Day 2017. Cathy Malkasian, Eartha: From the author of Temperance and the Percy Gloom books comes another graphic novel that makes the reader forget this is a work of fiction. When the title character leaves her homeland to find out why residents of a distant city have stopped dreaming, readers learn what it’s like to believe again in humanity. Leonardo Padura, Heretics: A darkly comical part-detective, part-historical novel about a missing painting and a missing girl, this tale sweeps through centuries and across continents all while exploring the tensions between tradition and modernity. Padura is one of Cuba’s great contemporary writers. Adriana E. Ramirez, The Swallows: In a collection of intoxicating poetry ranging from adolescent scars to the memories of birds, Ramirez writes about migration and the conditions that push us away from home. A Mexican-Columbian, Ramirez is a nationally ranked slam poet and runs the Pittsburgh Poetry Collective. Sofia Samatar, Tender: In her third book, Samatar offers a collection of 20 short stories about the nature of landscape. Obviously influenced by some of the greatest science fiction writers of the last thirty years, Samatar creates evocative worlds readers may or may not recognize as our own. Contemporary speculative fiction at its finest. Nell Stevens, Bleaker House: When the author won a threemonth grant to go anywhere in the world to write, she chose Bleaker Island in a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic where she could not only write but, hopefully, find something to write about. This witty volume is the result of that adventure. 34
arts | Issue 4
Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
2016-2017 i want you to see my biopsy scar i promise, it is very small because the surgeon apologized to my mom for scarring the breast of a 16-year old virgin i want you to see my biopsy scar i promise, it is well-faded just like the memories of the first boy who saw it i want your fingertips to glide across smooth skin before hitting a linear, raised bump your palm is almost the size of the bandage I wore cover it up help me heal, too
“you’re a processor,” she said she did not elaborate but she holds me as the Paragon of Potential© i am not well i do not like to admit it but I have to remind people all the time high-functioning/highly motivated/higher education/new lows my downfall will be historic and they’ll all say that they never saw it coming
Clemente Bridge I have become a projection of compression and congestion. I am the same dead, white view from my badly placed window. I have not rose from this bed in days. I am sick of Pennsylvania winters. I am sick of Pennsylvania springs, which are also Pennsylvania winters.
A High-Functioning Individual
I will jump off the Roberto Clemente Bridge and hear my bones crackle like rock candy between teeth as the sheet ice buckles. I will close my eyes and see cold, feel cold, be cold. I will be the feeling I hide from under the covers while dreading the sunrise. arts | Issue 4 35
Pittsburgh Ballet Theater produced Alice
in Wonderland as part of their 2017 season, and gave LOCALarts an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the historic Benedum Center, and allowed us a sneak peek as the performers prepared for their final dress rehearsal before opening night. The atmosphere is jovially chaotic, with performers sitting down for hair, make-up, and wardrobe. The masseuse is busy working out last-minute tightness, and thereâ€™s a surprising amount of laughter with an underlying tone of nervous energy.
arts | Issue 4
The stage was intense, and the stage manager was doing what stage managers do, run around like it’s the zombie apocalypse. The crew performed last-minute checks to the extremely intricate set. Some of what we were unable to photograph because of either safety concerns or trademarking. And then all of the commotion stopped for a moment, and an awed hush loomed over backstage. It’s show time. As the performers descend on stage, the gentle clicking of a camera shutter flutters as the company’s photographer takes press shots. The director watches the performance, taking mental notes. The tech crew sits and evaluates in a quiet chatter as lighting from a computer screen illuminates the seating area. The performance stops periodically to make adjustments, and people quietly shuffled in and out of the theater. Written by Enzo Knight Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
It’s a grind that could take all night to get right, but it’s what they do, every time, every performance, year after year, in order to bring an audience the best translation of art to stage and remain a leader of the dance industry in Pittsburgh, and beyond.
arts | Issue 4 37
Written by Enzo Knight Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh
Why art? Art was always my favorite subject back in high school, so once I started college and began taking studio classes it quickly turned into a love of mine and something I couldn’t go a day without doing. What’s the most definable quality about your work? My craftsmanship. My ceramics professor in college, Duke Miecznikowski, always taught us that good craftsmanship is the best thing you can do in your work. So I always try to make my pieces as well done as possible and use my glazes as a final finish on my work. Who do you look to for inspiration? At first, it was a few of my college professors. However, now that I am newly graduated, I turn to my mom for inspiration, as well as a lot of artists I find online. Quite a bit of inspiration also comes from nature and things I see in everyday life. What’s your perception of the art scene in Pittsburgh? I definitely think the scene in Pittsburgh is up and coming, and that it’s a great place for a new artist to be starting out in the art world. There seems to be a lot of opportunity to share, learn, and collaborate with other artists.
arts | Issue 4
Fresh Paint NEW & EMERGING: MAIYA DENNE What will be 3 steps you’ve taken to make it as an artist? First, I went to California University of PA and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, where I not only learned technical skills, but also made some very good networking connections. Next, I found my niche, which is pottery. For the third step, I continue to do something everyday to keep evolving my skills and I want to find a way to make my work stand out from other artists. This will lead into the development of having my own business. My art is successful because… I take my time in each and every step of the process so that the final outcome shows my hard work and dedication
to having good craftsmanship. If you’re not creating, what are you doing? I usually sketch a lot when I’m not making pottery, and I’m always online whether it be Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, etc., looking for new inspiration for the next pieces that I will be creating. One thing not many people know, but you’re going to tell us anyway. I would not have gone to school for art if it weren’t for my parents telling me that they saw potential in me just from the art that I made in high school.
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GALLERY GUIDE Welcome to the LOCALarts Gallery Guide. We created this space to highlight and appreciate all the galleries doing great things in the Pittsburgh area. Our goal is become a place where art lovers and artists can find out about upcoming shows, open galleries taking artists submissions, and events that otherwise may not see the light of day. As we begin building our listings, we may have unintentionally left out some galleries. If we did, please accept our apologies in advance, and please make sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our next edition.
SHADYSIDE / REGENT SQUARE / BRADDOCK / WILKINSBURG / Unsmoke Systems Artspace unsmokeartspace.com/contact
Concept Art Gallery
GLASSWEEKEND'17 Wheatonarts, Millville, NJ June 9 - 11 2017
IN THE GALLERY June 16 - September 30, 2017
Robin's Nest Gallery & Gift Shop robinsnestpittsburgh.com
BLOOMFIELD / GARFIELD / EAST LIBERTY / HIGHLAND PARK / OAKLAND /
May 30 - June 30, 2017
412 . 441. 5200
412-361-8664 Gallery 4 thegallery4.us
Carolyn Reed Barritt: Black & Blue (main gallery) Theodore Bolha: Before we Were Born (2nd floor gallery) Reception with the Artists:
Saturday, June 3rd, 5-8pm July 11 - August 11, 2017 Heather Kanazawa: Investigations of Life (main gallery) Group A: NOW (2nd floor gallery) Reception with the Artists: Saturday, July 15th, 5-8p
412 . 687 . 8858
Mark Evers Antiques and Art Gallery
Four Winds Gallery
Maser Galleries masergalleries.com
http://www.bunkerprojects.org 317 S TRENTON AVE, PITTSBURGH, PA 15221 PURPLEPIEROTTI.COM
412 . 606. 1220
arts | Issue 4
GALLERY GUIDE fieldworkgallery.com
709 Penn Gallery
International Children’s Art Galleries facebook.com/icag5020/
412-403-8568 Modern Formations LLC modernformations.com
Most Wanted Fine Art most-wantedfineart.com
THAT TYPE SHOW May 27— Jul 22, 2017 Featured Artist | Steph Neary Lizzie Solomon | Will Van Zee Scot Phillips | Danny Devine Meg Prall | Cameron Clayton Dana Depew | Ron Copeland ARTSMITHSPGH.COM
Silver Eye Center for Photography silvereye.org
412-431-1810 Artisan Tattoo Gallery artisanpittsburgh.com
Lotenero Art & Design Studio
412-417-6021 Shaw Galleries shawgalleries.com
DOWNTOWN / LAWRENCEVILLE / STRIP / WEST END /
412-944-4159 Society for Contemporary Craft contemporarycraft.org
Borelli Edwards Art Gallery/be Galleries www.begalleries.com
412-687-2606 Gallery G Glass Inc www.gallerygglass.com
Le Poire Fine Art Studio & Gallery
Gallery On 43 Street
South Hills Art Center
The FEIN Art Gallery
Future Tenant Art Space 412-567-8861
412-661-0641 Penn Avenue Pottery 412-281-9394
CAPA Gallery 412-338-6129
412 . 341. 2299
412-328-4737 Mostly Mod & ARTica Gallery
Art of Steel 412-288-9945
Revision Space 412-735-3201
413 S MAIN ST, PITTSBURGH, PA JAMESGALLERY.NET
412 . 922 . 9800 SPACE spacepittsburgh.org
Crown Antiques & Collectibles
412-434-6425 or 6426
Nations Art Gallery & Framing
707 Penn Gallery
Wood Street Galleries
arts | Issue 4 41
GALLERY GUIDE NORTHSIDE / MILLVALE / Introspec ralphproctorgallery.com
844-278-6996 Mattress Factory Art Museum
SOUTHSIDE / MT WASHINGTON / HOMESTEAD / MT OLIVER / ALLENTOWN / Fireborn Studios
ART SUPPLY STORES /
Utrecht Art Supplies
1930 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Harts Art on Consignment 412-431-0453
Michael Berger Gallery michealbergergallery.com
412-235-7482 South Bank Galleries 412-488-6688 PSA ARTISTâ€™S CHOICE EXHIBITION OPENING
Vessel Studio vesselstudio.net/contact
July 8th 6pm- 9pm and runs to July 29th 2017
MILLVALE ARTS IN 3 VENUES
Michael Hertrich Art and Frame 412-431-3337
In one day July 22nd, 2017 WWW.PANZAGALLERY.COM
412 . 821. 0959
The New Bohemian billearl.com
724-816-7944 Eclectic Art & Objects Gallery 412-734-2099 Artists Image Resource artistsimageresource.org
Sojourner Art Gallery sojourner-gallery.com
Top Notch Art Supply 411 S Craig St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-683-4444 Artist & Craftsman Supply Pittsburgh 5603 Hobart St, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
412-421-3002 Pittsburgh Center For Creative Reuse 214 N Lexington St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208
412-473-0100 LOOM 2124 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-586-4346 Crystal Bead Bazaar 4521 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Studio Eight27 412-945-0827
460 Perry HwyPittsburgh, PA 15229
Jessie Best Galley jessebest.com
SEWICKLEY / Eclectic Art & Objects Gallery eclecticartgallery.com
arts | Issue 4
Stamp Fanci 412-931-1109 Blick 5534 Walnut Street Pittsburgh, PA 15232
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