LOCALarts Issue 2

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I S S U E 2 // S U M M E R 2 0 1 6

UNICORNS & RAINBOWS Living as an Artist


A Collective of Notable Talent at the CMOA

TED PAPPAS His Storied Reign at The Public

SHARON LUTZ The Polar Bear Diaries

DANCE PBT’s Corey Bourbonniere Breaks the Mold arts | Issue 2



We Invented Patio Dining In The South Side

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Many people question if Modern Art is relevant for our society. Whether the ethos of its origin is rooted in elitism and not fundamental skill. Are multi-colored circles on canvas worthy of a solo show? Honestly, I don’t have the answer, but what I do know is that creating anything involves a sense of wonder and a whimsical thought process that the average person may find odd, or very much unconventional. The manner in which we create is so subjective. And that’s why art, is art. Is Modern Art lazy? No. Modern Art, in all forms, is an expression of humanity, good or bad. It’s less about what we classify as art, and more about how art makes us feel. What type of thought process is triggered when you see multi-colored circles on canvas? It might make you happy, it might make you wonder…why is this in a museum? Sometimes certain pieces make me feel anxious, angry, or perplexed. For me, the art did its job. It caused me to think and feel. Questioning Modern Art’s place and process is something I think is very necessary in our culture. It allows us to catch a glimpse of a haunted process that often evades traditional thought patterns. Sitting down with an artist to construct a thesis on why a roomful of balloons make sense to the Modern Art pool is a fun journey. And we take that journey in every issue of LOCALarts. It’s our job and duty to provide you with the most insightful and relevant content about the pulse of our city’s creative talents. From ballet to baroque, and everything in between, we’re here to educate, inform, and enlighten. And yes, we love every second of it. In this issue, take a peek at our coverage of the AAP’s historic exhibition at CMOA, exciting artist profiles, book reviews, and even a rookie’s guide to your first gallery showing. As always, email rburrell@local-pittsburgh.com if you have story ideas or are interested in contributing to one of Pittsburgh’s only print publications dedicated solely to the arts community.

Rodney Burrell, Editor-In-Chief




A neighborhood publication focusing on the creativity and ingenuity of the arts in Pittsburgh. For more information visit localartspgh.com or email info@localartspgh.com

PUBLISHER Jeff Rose jrose@local-pittsburgh.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Rodney Burrell rburrell@local-pittsburgh.com ARTS WRITERS Eric Boyd Mike Buzzelli Hayley Woodman Christine Smith Lorenzo Rossi FILM EDITOR Krista Graham CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Arlan Hess Carolyn Pierotti CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Zachary Visgitis Kimberley Parfitt COPY EDITOR Carrie Rose DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY Jordan Mitchell | Art Director creative@local-pittsburgh.com Julie Kahlbaugh | Photo Director creative@local-pittsburgh.com Kalie Berkey | Graphic Designer

Questions about LOCALarts or advertising opportunities? Contact us at (412) 215-6759

Cover Image by Josh Mitchel

ARTS ISSUE 1 CORRECTION: The Kim Barry interview and article was conducted and written by Marisa Prietto 4

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22 Tread On:

The art recap with Christine Smith

04 AAP

A showcase at CMOA of Pittsburgh’s talented art pool

08 LOCALfilm

Festivals, and more festivals

11 Book Reviews:

City Book’s Arlan Hess reviews Rust Belt Boy

14 Art Galleries for Rookies What to expect at your first gallery opening

26 Female Form

Paul Werkmeister showcases haunting photos highlighting the female form

28 Sean Beauford

Curator of awesome

30 Polar Opposite

Sharon Lutz shoots Polar Bears (and other stuff)

32 Rugged Brush

Can I pay my rent with paint? Probably not.

34 Stage Left

The Public’s Ted Pappas and his storied history with theater

39 Writer’s Corner

We highlight poetry from Zach Visgitis and Kimberley Parfitt

43 Go Here, See That

Our hand-picked gallery crawl

46 Mural Madness

Painting on the sides of building. It’s a thing. arts | Issue 2


T H E 1 0 5 TH

A S S O C I AT E D A R T I S T S O F P I T T S B U R G H A N N U A L E X H I B I T I O N AT THE CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF AR Written by Haley Woodham Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh

May 14th began the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s 105th Annual Exhibition, running until August 15th at the Carnegie Museum of Art. This year the juror-selected pieces were chosen by writer/curator Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, owner of the Finley Gallery in Los Angeles. “The longest and oldest continuous survey of regional art in the country,” the exhibition has hosted the likes of Andy Warhol and Mary Cassatt since 1910, and this year offers a similarly diverse range of artists. Over 650 pieces were submitted by 324 artists, ultimately resulting in the 63 accepted pieces of sculpture, painting, drawing, installation, and mixed media. Lehrer-Graiwer comments on the range of pieces in the exhibition’s mounted introduction, calling our attention to the way “a range of practices and styles” can upon closer inspection betray small yet significant relationships. Indeed, at first glance, it’s hard to find any cohesion between the curved bronze sculptures of Judi Rosen (01) and the fur-covered edges of Daniel Roth’s Search (02). But as you move throughout the CMOA’s upstairs gallery, you begin to discern the connections. Kathleen Kase Burk’s Sections With Connections comes to mind: an graphite exercise in tight realism-but sharing a type

of shadow-play with I Got All My Sisters In Me, a women-shaped curio in two pieces, hollowed out and refilled with Venus of Willendorf figures by Carole Stremple. Color is also at work in much of the art. Alan Horowitz’s Women In the Field sets elongated women in an almost impressionistic farmscape, combining a rainbow of color to find the near-fairytale in the everyday. Carolyn Frischling (03), an artist known for her digital prints, contributed a pale green iridescent orb that seems to undulate with the sloping hills and valleys of energy, her Appstraction.



.03 6

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D E V O T I O N T O C R A F T .” Everything All At Once (04), the winner of this year’s In Memory of Elsie Hillman Award, shares a similar palate of peaceful color in a large oil painting that evokes ideas of chakras and light. Lishi Robbins’ oil and acrylic painting of a greyhound, Early Retirement, sits not far off, awash in muted yellows and greens. At the center dividing wall is Ed Parrish, Jr.’s Sublime Neuvoh the work is hand-painted cast iron echoing psychedelic mandalas and concert posters from the 60s. Conceptual and installation art easily held its own at the exhibition, with pieces ranging

from a children’s shirt broken down into its parts and pressed 30,000 times by the keys of a typewriter before being reassembled (Lenka Clayton’s Hand-Typed Check Shirt); to Pati Beachley’s (05) pastel crochet on wire frames, 16 Yarns: We Never Talk Anymore, and, Pop des Tartes (06). Delicate, but dominating the entrance to the gallery is the massive draped mulberry paper installation of Theresa Antonellis’ One Breath One Life, scrolls that are handdrawn with calligraphic lines reminding us of a heart monitor. arts | Issue 2


To the left of Antonellis, Jennifer Nagle Myers (07) -- a versatile artist whose bio lists sit-specific performance and directing as two of her mediums-- has Waterfall Vision

markings. Absence (08), an abstract piece crafted by Rebecca J. Harmon and made of mixed media and resembling volcanic rock, hangs on the adjoining wall

slope down the gallery’s wall onto the floor, 84 slate tiles decorated with abstract yet purposeful

near the exit, a fitting cohesion of shade, shape, and imagination like the rest of its fellow participants. Along with pieces combining Krink and Galkyd on a massive canvas, and images captured on Impossible Silver Shade Instant Film, the entire picture of the 105th Annual Exhibition comes into focus when all of the pieces are brought together. A curiously fitting combination of talent, introspection, and devotion to craft.


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F film





THE UN-CUT FLIM FESTIVAL INCLUDED: Post Steelers Season Depression Disorder Completion Acceptance Handling Hillary Pilot

On Wednesday, April 27th at The Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks, David Ogrodowski and Raquel Bouvy gave us the Pittsburgh UnCut Film Festival. David and Raquel’s mission was to celebrate Pittsburgh Filmmakers and The Parkway Theater. Ogrodowski has been friends with The Parkway Theater and its owner for twenty years and is very vigilant about keeping film festivals at The Parkway in order to bring attention to the theatre and create a richer culture in the McKees Rocks area. 10

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Bob’s choice Reckless (trailer) Forever Young Pilot (trailer) Theo and the Professor Parkins (trailer)





The Nature of Things

How to Stop a Robbery

Surprise entry


Zara Gordon Pilot

After the Infection

Bad Drugs


The Festival ended with a filmmakers’ panel Q & A, a chance for filmmakers to pitch their upcoming projects along with awards and door prizes. The Pittsburgh Uncut Film Festival showed 20 films including feature lengths, shorts, new web series pilots and lots of trailers full of Pittsburgh-made sneak peeks of upcoming projects.




THE INDIE OAKS FILM FESTIVAL Just days later on April 30th, Ruthy Stapleton and Lance Park opened the doors for The Indie Oaks Film Festival at The Oaks Theatre in Oakmont PA. The Indie Oaks was as close to the Oscars as one can get. A glitzy affair, complete with opulent table settings and off-color jokes, the festival highlighted the best short films in Pittsburgh. What was lovely about both film festivals is that the creators attended and supported each other’s events, supporting the scene and everyone’s work. The Pittsburgh Uncut Film Festival and The Indie Oaks Film Festival were both jurored and had the audience vote for their favorite films. Although stylistically different in their approach, both festivals exhibited the works of Pittsburgh’s finest filmmakers. Perhaps next year (and I know they will all hate this idea) but both festivals could combine and show different films at locations around the city ensuring no one is turned away, but their individual home theatres can still be showcased. Just a thought… And, just in case you feel left out, don’t fret! Later in October, the Pittsburgh Uncut Film Festival will take a more curated turn as The Pittsburgh Uncut Film Festival and The Indie Oaks will make its comeback with the second annual Haunted Oaks Festival, showcasing the best of Pittsburgh-made horror films. So never fear, there are films to be seen, filmmakers to love, and you can even watch the showcased films and see more information at the Indie Oaks website.


Milk Man Grand Theft Cole the Robot Gala Affect Bad Drugs Ava The Package

Of Duckpins and Destinies Immaculate Reception Fifth Column Nakama Restart Last Man Standing Meeting The Parents

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B books


Stories of an American Childhood a review by Arlan Hess • www.citybookspgh.com

Seldom do site-specific memoirs link author to hometown so completely they become indivisible in the mind of a reader. More than three decades after leaving Pittsburgh for Boston, Paul Hertneky, an Ambridge native, revisits the hills and valleys of western Pennsylvania in Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood published this spring by Bauhan Publishing. It is hard to imagine young Paul growing up anywhere else.

author’s memory, Rust Belt Boy never resorts to gimmicky food porn. Hertneky releases his heroic childhood dreams after a dangerous adolescent experience in the mill – a suspenseful narrative climax that connects him to others who fled the Rust Belt, regardless of motivation or city, for more hopeful futures around the nation. That widespread diaspora was far-reaching. Cities from Buffalo to St. Louis to Milwaukee are still recovering, though Pittsburgh survived the economic downturn better than others. After reading this book, I am thankful and proud that I stayed.

Hertneky serves up as much in 223 pages as an Old Country grandmother can cram onto a dining room table at the holidays. Early in the book, he places Ambridge in the context of American colonial and pioneer settlement and the subsequent Industrial Revolution that erased evidence of a history so specific that most of us native Pittsburghers never learned it. After detailing his family’s 20C immigrant experience, Hertneky evokes school pierogi lunches so savory and mouthwatering it is only humane to caution that no one should read this book hungry. Though cooking plays a significant role in the

ts of the studen by the by the tation , backed the l presen servatory supported by er. A specia E. Rauh Con l Theat tra and Orches tsburgh Musica Richard d CAPA of Pit ists talente nal art professio


Now living in New Hampshire, Hertneky has spent most of his adult life away from Pittsburgh. However, like the work of James Joyce, the Irish author who left home at 22 but never stopped writing about Dublin, Hertneky’s emotional attachment to landscape transcends nostalgia. Joyce became synonymous with Dublin; Hertneky will become synonymous with Ambridge. You can take the boy out of the Rust Belt, but you can’t take the Rust Belt out of the boy.

rd, 2016 20th - 23


19, 2017 MAY 4TH 14TH, 2017

412.456.1390 pittsburghmusicals.com

COREY B o u r b o n n i e re Written by Eric Boyd Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh

While still in high school, dancer Corey Bourbonniere was presented with an opportunity that could affect the rest of his life. After a summer intensive at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Bourbonniere was asked to stay in the program. While there was some hesitation from his family about leaving home and missing out on his senior year, Bourbonniere eventually made his decision. “It was my dream, I wanted to follow it,” he says. At a time when the PBT was building up its school and its company of dancers—particularly in a field that often lacks males— Bourbonniere was warmly received and almost immediately asked to stay in the city and practice his craft in Pittsburgh. “I really wanted to be here.” Bourbonniere began dancing at a young age, primarily focusing on tap. By middle school he branched out into theatre and hip hop. Ballet didn’t cross his mind. 14

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“But one day,” Bourbonniere says, “I was in an afterschool program, and my teacher said her grandmother owned a ballet studio that was looking for guys to literally just walk across stage for a show.” While the gig was easy enough— get on stage, get off stage—the young dancer had no idea how much it would change his life.

However, while each dancer may be wholly unique, it is their ability to come together which truly inspires Bourbonniere.

wonder has only grown with time and practice, desiring more and pushing himself towards new experiences.

“People don’t want to see dancers that look like they don’t want to be there. They want to see a whole piece; they want to see a community.”

“You’re never really finished. There’s just so, so much to reach for.”

“I looked around there, thinking, ‘This is what I need to be doing.’” Up until that point, Bourbonniere had been taking various dance classes every week for an entire season only to put on a recital at the end. He never questioned his technique, but the path he would choose wasn’t so certain as when he watched that first ballet. “I wanted to do something like that. I wanted to tell a story with my body; not just smile and dance around, but inspire people as I had just been inspired.” After that, Bourbonniere began making the rounds to audition for various summer intensives for ballet schools throughout the country. He discovered the PBT through an audition held at the Boston Ballet School. “I was instantly sold,” he says. “Something about Pittsburgh drew me in.” Now, after nearly seven years in the city, Bourbonniere feels like this is his home. He has given several performances for the PBT now, including productions of Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes; he has had featured roles in productions such as The Nutcracker. He loves the people of the city and the people he dances with, proud of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s diverse and engaging company. “They’re all so different,” Bourbonniere says of his fellow PBT dancers. “Not everybody looks the same or dances the same. Everybody brings something to the table.”

Being in that community has been inspiring to Bourbonniere because, as described himself, he came into this school and this city as sponge, receptive to everything he heard and saw. “A teacher once told me, ‘watch the you think are good and watch the people you think aren’t: you can learn something from all of them.’ And that’s what I try to embody.” Though he may have left his home and high school for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Corey Bourbonniere’s sense of arts | Issue 2 15





FIRST GALLERY VISIT It’s a beautiful evening and you’ve found yourself walking through a local neighborhood. You hear the sounds of laughter, music playing, and you’re intrigued. As you approach, you peer into a window and notice that it’s a gallery. Artwork is hung carefully throughout, people are having in-depth discussions about “the local art scene,” and you wonder if you’re allowed in. I have many friends who have stayed away from galleries because they were intimidated. They felt as if they wouldn’t understand the language, and needed a Master’s in Art History to go in. I’m here to tell you that is not the case, and yes, you’re welcome to enter. 16

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If you enjoy a crowd, be sure to attend

what is called the “opening reception” for the artist. This is the night where the artist attends, the gallery owner is present, and the press may make an appearance. It’s a giant celebration for the artist who is showing. If you want to find out what the artist’s intent was when creating the work, look for the “Artist’s Statement.” It talks about what the artist’s vision was when they were creating their body of work. If you cannot find one, no worries! The gallery owner will be happy to explain the theme or topic of the work being shown. If you’re there on the opening night, seek out the artist. He or she will be more than happy to talk with you. It’s a process to complete any piece of art, and there is usually a good story behind what they created.

Having a “first” gallery experience doesn’t have to be a frightening one. Good gallery owners will answer your questions and advocate for the artists they represent. There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting, which will help you along the way.

If you are not one for big crowds,

Now that you are in the door,

mingling, and feeling confident, perhaps you want to buy a piece to take home. Collecting artwork is a very personal thing. My best piece of advice is to buy something that you truly love. Don’t worry about how it’s going to match your couch or rug. It’s an investment, and should be treated that way. If you truly love it, it will fit anywhere in your home.

Prices at a gallery will most

likely be on a label next to the artwork. Labels will generally include the title, size, how it was made, and price. If you do not see a label, the gallery owner will have a price sheet. Keep in mind, if you purchase a piece that evening or during the exhibit’s run, you won’t be able to take it home until the exhibit ends. Every gallery has a different policy and procedure, so be sure to find out what that might be.

exhibits generally run one or two months long and tend to die down. I usually will attend the opening, and then go back during regular gallery hours. I always find that there was something I missed the first time around. Openings can be very distracting, so going back when it’s quiet can be very rewarding.

Pittsburgh has so many incredible galleries, there’s always

something happening on the weekends, and the best way to find your favorite is just by visiting. Again a “first gallery experience” does not have to be stressful. Walk in with confidence, and know that the gallery owner is there to help you along your artful journey.

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artist profiles


Katie Murken Photography by Karen Mauch


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My art is the visualization of collective memories that dwell inside of us all. Like an archaeologist who uses systems of knowledge to interpret fragments of the past, I use the universal languages of geometry, chance and color to draw new forms and meanings from common materials. I mine my surroundings for overlooked and unremarkable ephemera that strike me as having the potential for transformation. Castaway objects like phone books or plastic bags are so familiar and mundane that we fail to consider their deeper cultural meanings. By using artistic process to overturn the perceived value of such objects I make sculptures and works on paper that show you something you forgot you already knew. My installation Continua started with an interest in books and their relationship to time. I love how individual pages are like moments in time that layer and accumulate when the book is bound and placed on a bookshelf. I noticed a similar phenomenon with the color spectrum, which consists of individual colors that merge together to create a continuum. Phone books became an accessible material to explore this relationship between pages, color and time. Using the basics of color theory combined with chance operations, I created an algorithm to systematically dye and organize 900 phone books into stacks. The effect is sensory yet conceptual; it snaps you into the present moment while evoking deeper ideas about time and infinity.



I have always been fascinated by the natural relationship sculpture and architecture has to one another, especially, in an ever-changing industrial, urban landscape. My arts practice, both independent and collaborative, reflects this fascination. The physical and emotional stimulus of a city has always provided me with a sense of responsibility and motivation, and I have become over the past twenty-five years, an active participant in Pittsburgh’s changing environment. Responding to my surroundings is an integral part of my work and the satisfaction I receive from the constant play and interaction with people and their communities, within the frame of my artwork, helps to solidify my commitment of being a public artist. This process has enabled me to take a studied, holistic approach towards each new piece: from researching building materials, to working with a planning and artistic team, to understanding complementary placement and settings for public art. As I continue to evolve and grow artistically I become more aware of the history and evolution of each physical space and structure that I am responding to, and ultimately, developing what becomes part of my evolving body of work. My work ranges from large mixed media installations constructed on-site in industrial settings to formal sculpture commissions in more conventional public and private settings. Using a combination of recycled resources and objects, I connect materials within a carefully selected environment and re-configure them in a new and balanced manner creating an interactive platform for public discourse and response. Synthesizing these experiences to create sculpture has been an ongoing method for much of my career and has provided me with the opportunity to reflect on important historical ideas in a succinct, deliberative and challenging way, which resonates in my work. arts | Issue 2 19



John Shook, a Pittsburgh based artist, focuses on being diversified in his work, in both subject and medium (Diverse Medium). As an artist, he feels that the knowledge obtained from entirely different media of practice can be applied to many different facets of art. Shook regularly does live art at The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) in Wappinger Falls, NY, ranging from painting with acrylics, airbrushing, body painting and sculpting. He and his cousin, Richard Hower, have a permanent installation piece on their Wisdom Trail called Di-Vine Man, which is an 11 foot tall sculpture made from wood and various sized vines; and Star Gazer, a 300-poundstone with a carved smiling face looking upward towards the sky . This installation is viewed by people from all over the world. Along with Diverse Medium, Shook and his wife Alysa own and operate The Graphic Cellar, a studio providing Graphic Design, Muraling Services, & Industrial Design. They have been commissioned to do interesting projects such as producing custom masks and costumes, creating logos and branding for local businesses, and working on several high-end custom airbrushing projects for celebrities such as: Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, and Bon Jovi. Shook is currently part of a traveling exhibit called Blank Boy Canvas, a collaborative project with North American artists and Hong Kong’s Danny Yung, using his character ‘Tian Tian.’ The exhibit also has an arts initiative program for children and has already debuted in Toronto and Mexico City. The exhibit will tour the U.S. followed by China.


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As a self-taught photographer, getting started took a strange, and often physically difficult route. I can remember hiking through the local woods, trudging through snow and ice just to see if there was a certain spot that could catch the right light, or overlook the right landscape. Half the time the endeavor wouldn’t even pay off, but it taught me the most valuable lesson a photographer can learn. Sometimes you have to travel outside of your comfort zone in order to grow. Experimentation and emotion are two of the more important themes I try to convey in my work. Every artist wants to evoke emotion from their audience. In order to achieve that desired effect, I eventually began to use a more emotive process in order to create what, to me, are more meaningful pieces. Starting with an emotion rather than a concrete idea is a process that every artist should take once in a while. Emotion is the beginning and end of every art form.




My work is a testament to the steel industry in southwestern Pennsylvania and the people who labored there. When I was young my father took me up and down the river valleys of Allegheny County. I saw many of the older or closed sites from an industrial era that had begun over a hundred years before. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was witnessing a part of the fall of manufacturing in America through the late 1970’s and most of the 80’s. I use photography of the old mill sites taken by my father and translate them through lithography printmaking. I manipulate the prints in a variety of ways, exposing them to rusting plates of sheet steel (from which they absorb the rust as a patina) or coating them with varying degrees of amber shellac. The prints are mounted under glass on a background of steel shavings. The frames are welded steel angle-bar which has also been allowed to rust. Using actual elements involved in the steel making process lends something deeper and more powerful to the effect of my work than mere imagery alone. A ‘structured’ or ‘processed’ piece framed under glass that appears to be disintegrating is a metaphor. I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Over the course of working as a graphic artist and designer for many years I frequently return to the topic of steel history in Pittsburgh. I’m never disappointed when I do because there’s always something new to learn.

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Treading ART


UNSMOKE SYSTEMS ARTSPACE a spotlight UnSmoke Systems Artspace is a venue in Braddock, PA that provides a space for exhibiting and working artists to flourish. And you’re in for a treat when you go for a visit because the building boasts some of the coolest neighbors in town. Across the street you stare straight into the belly of one of our region’s last remaining steel mills, the Edgar Thomson Works. Its constant hum and billowing plumes mesmerize all. The Carrie Furnaces, a larger than life former blast furnace, lives just down the road and the mighty Monongahela runs parallel to UnSmoke, just behind ET Works. This beautiful and historically rich neighborhood has found its way into the news quite often lately. Mayor John Fetterman, who is known for his larger-than-life dedication to his community, just wrapped up a Senate campaign and celebrated Pittsburgh chef Kevin Sousa continues to work on his much anticipated restaurant. But let’s widen the cast of this spotlight.

Written by Christie Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh 24

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Nine years ago Jeb Feldman and Mayor Fetterman were winding down other art projects in the neighborhood when they realized

THE WEEKEND TREADINGS SUMMER EVENT PICKS The Weekend Treadings is a weekly, curated-event newsletter produced by Treading Art. Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe June 11th September 4th Frick Pittsburgh 7227 Reynolds Street, Point Breeze This wildly popular show at the Brooklyn Museum brings its provocative accessories to PGH.

John Riegert June 24th - September 4th SPACE 812 Liberty Ave, Cultural District 250 PGH artists created a portrait of the same person: John Riegert, who will act as docent and share stories about each work.

Deutschtown Music Festival July 8th & 9th This weekend-long showcase features 125+ bands at 20+ in & outdoor venues (free).

it made sense to consolidate a small gallery and artist studio program into one location. So in 2008 Jeb opened UnSmoke Systems Artspace as a part of the non-profit Braddock Redux. Jeb fused his expertise in community development garnered from his studies and experience with his interest in Braddock. “It was started as a community development project in order to bring positive energy to a community with a shortage of it.” The UnSmoke building was originally a Catholic school that was abandoned and deteriorating but its rooms were beautiful and the old craftsmanship still showed. “Its auditorium just really spoke to becoming a venue for creativity and the classrooms were already there for use as studios.” Word has steadily spread over the years that this community gem is a gallery where you want to show your work. Artists and organizations continually approach Jeb about the space, which has allowed him to program it without any marketing. People from all over the country and world have made it to UnSmoke partially because of its versatility and welcoming spirit. The submission process is laid back in comparison to other typical gallery-like organizations. Once Jeb determines an exhibition is a good fit he allows the artists to take the reigns and curate their own show. He has definitely uncovered a successful process. Every time I have attended an exhibition opening I am contin-

Unsmoke Founder Jeb Feldman

ually impressed. UnSmoke Systems Artspace is one of the best places in Pittsburgh to experience work that is engaging, thoughtful, enjoyable and skillful. Something I don’t think a lot of UnSmoke fans are aware of is that there are several creative spaces that are also on site. There are working painters and photographers but also writers and a small independent literary press called Braddock Avenue Books. Jeb hopes the large unused basement will someday be integrated into the studio program to add an industrial space and widen the scope of working artists. UnSmoke Systems Artspace hibernates its exhibition program during the winter months so now is the time to get out and explore. Upcoming in May is YOU/U with Ben Quint-Glick, GIanna Paniagua and Zack John Lee. Kara Skylling is curating a show in June. And July will host two exhibitions; one by Maranie Staab and the other by a Chicago group organized by Christine Bespalec Davis. ~Christine Smith arts | Issue 2 25

Treading ART


WARHOL & WEIWEI IN THE SAME ROOM The Pittsburgh art scene has long been in bloom with a thriving community of talented local artists. But this hasn’t always been balanced out by an exposure to the talents of the international art world. In order to have a healthy and sustainable local creative culture we need a mixture of the two. Over the course of the last couple of years The Andy Warhol Museum has presented a roster of quality exhibitions that offer perspective on artists close to home, not just Mr. Warhol himself, and those worlds away. I don’t imagine it is easy to run a museum that is dedicated to a single artist but they maintain an intriguing balance. At the Warhol’s epicenter is Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, now open. This blockbuster show comes to Pittsburgh from the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and sheds a layer on the influence that both artists have had on modern and contemporary life. We have a lot of experience with Warhol in Pittsburgh but how about Ai Weiwei? Weiwei is an artistically outspoken, politically charged, Beijing artist who has experienced constant government harassment and is one of the most famous living contemporary artists.


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FEASTival August 6th Celebrate what keeps landing Pittsburgh in the national press: food, music & art set along Chartiers Creek in emerging McKees Rocks (free).

Both Warhol and Weiwei share a fascination, on the level of obsession, with documenting and sharing their lives through different artistic practices. Re:NEW Festival September 9th - October 9th A month long celebration of creative reuse, transformation & sustainability (free).

If you’re not familiar with his abundance of work then you might be wondering how this fits into the scope of the Warhol Museum. It does on many levels. Eric Shiner, The Andy Warhol Museum Director, developed the idea based on a previous experience meeting Weiwei combined with his understanding of how the two artists connect. Both Warhol and Weiwei share a fascination, on the level of obsession, with documenting and sharing their lives through different artistic practices. Their identities are the content within their artwork.

Thrival September 20th - 24th A week of free innovation talks ends with a 2-day music festival that boasts not-to-miss headliners (free-$59).

Warhol toted his camera around snapping any and every morsel of his surrounding life. Weiwei uses social media to the same effect, going as far as to put himself under home surveillance. Weiwei uses these tools to create a global dialog through artwork to address social criticism, free expression, and secrecy versus transparency.

He is a constant critic of the Chinese government despite his past troubles and the continued danger of his outspoken voice. Jessica Beck, Assistant Curator at The Warhol, points out, “The atmosphere in Pittsburgh is ripe for a provocative exhibition like this.” You can expect side-by-side comparisons in the exhibition that reveal surprising ties between the two. Both sought sanctuary from personal challenges in New York and their use of the lens to document their surroundings has provided artistic commentary – Weiwei’s political, Warhol’s provocative. Treat yourself to the show’s wonderful balance between the dark and light. Jessica thinks that will be the, “biggest take away for visitors – that art has the ability to challenge, and inspire change.”

arts | Issue 2 27


AN EXHIBIT BY PAUL WERKMEISTER Written by JK Photography by Julie Kahlbaugh

In his newest exhibit, The Female Form, photographer Paul Werkmeister brings to life his vision of beauty in the female anatomy. Displayed on canvas were black and white images of various models, posed uniquely to expose different parts of the body. Every muscle and curve gleamed through the imagery, showing the manifold’s haunting beauty. His intrinsically dark, yet artistic eye continues to grow a substantial fan base in Pittsburgh, and he is recognized as one of the city’s best photo artists. We took a few minutes to sit down with Paul to chat about his latest exhibit and inspirations.

La: What about the female form inspired you to create this body of work? PW: The female form intrigues me. The shapes, lines and skin tones can make interesting overall geometric and symmetrical creations. This is what I was hoping to achieve through the shooting of this series. 28

arts | Issue 2

La: What’s the recruiting process, is there something specific you were looking for? PW: I was primarily looking for body types all shapes and sizes. It started with a specific model named Jacs Fishburne. When she and I collaborated, we got this series of incredible form studies. It inspired me to continue in that path. I mainly hired established models that I knew would be able to give me exactly what I was looking for. I also used local talent. La: What do you hope your audience will learn or experience from your exhibition? PW: I am hoping people see the beauty in the female form without the trappings of it being sexualized. Sure, the images are exciting in various ways but the attention to the lighting, shadows and forms were the upfront presentation.

For more information on Werkmeister’s work, visit www.miserphoto.com.

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artist feature


a m b i t i o n Written by Eric Boyd


arts | Issue 2

Sean Beauford isn’t the traditional curator. Most often, an art exhibit is put together in a way a DJ might compile a playlist; the magic of the show comes from the seamless and surprising combination of once-disparate pieces. Beauford, on the other hand, approaches curating like a producer: he has the ability to get artists to create brandnew works for his shows. Instead of starting with an image with an idea, Beauford begins with an idea of an image.

“For these particular students, I feel like they aren’t always given a fair shot, or that they’re afraid to dream as big as they want because of the limitations others have placed on them.” “I approach it differently than most,” Beauford admits. “I really like to collaborate with people. For me, that means actually working together to create something. I think artists like to collaborate as well, so they’re usually receptive to the idea. Some of the artists I’ve worked with even see it as challenge to create something new, inspired by a concept that’s not 100% theirs.” Coming to Pittsburgh from Mansfield, OH in 2010, Beauford’s interest in the arts was not new (“It was the only thing I was naturally good at growing up,” he says), but his entry into the world of curating didn’t occur until 2013.

“While visiting Wood Street Galleries, I realized that it would be a good place for a party. I was friendly with a lot of artists so I also wanted to do something that showcased their work. I reached out to the gallery, and a bunch of artists, and put together a one night exhibition featuring their work. I had a great turnout and people really enjoyed themselves. I realized that I was filling a void in Pittsburgh arts, so I did another exhibition a few months later and then kept doing them, eventually embracing my role as a curator.” Curating has led to numerous successful shows, including a show at the August Wilson Center earlier this year. Next, Beauford is organizing a show for students from Friendship Academy. The exhibit, opening this summer, is called Ambition. The show has personal significance for Beauford. “A lot of times people will put limits on others because of how they look, where they come from, or the school they go to,” he says. “This show will be about letting people be as ambitious as they want to be. For these particular students, I feel like they aren’t always given a fair shot, or that they’re afraid to dream as big as they want because of the limitations others have placed on them.” That commitment to both creativity and community has been important to Beauford, who believes that art can progress society because, as he says, “Understanding can make barriers fall.” Building a just and equal world through the arts isn’t just a profession for Sean Beauford. It’s a calling. “If you have an opportunity to do good, you have to take it.”

arts | Issue 2 31

pg photo graphy


POLAR VISION Native to McMurray, Sharon Lutz started her journey in photography when she was just a child. With a curious mind she rummaged



drawer in her parents’ kitchen to get to her mother’s box camera. Her mother soon noticed the connection Lutz shared with her camera and decided to get her a camera for Christmas; a Kodak 110 (Oh, the glory!).


arts | Issue 2

One of Lutz’s fondest memories as a kid, and a real game changer, was during a vacation in New Jersey to visit her grandparents. She recalls walking on the docks photographing the river while wearing her sunglasses. She started experimenting by taking her sunglasses off and on. Amazed at the effect the glasses had, she started to experiment by moving them in front of her camera. “At that point I was very curious,” said Lutz. On her 16th birthday, Lutz received a coveted Canon 650 camera (Yeah, it shot film.). She practiced

and excelled so much over the years, using trial and error as her professor, and enjoyed every part of the process. “I always chased things with my camera,” said Lutz. Two and a half years ago, Lutz suffered from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), and survived. After the ordeal, her perspective on life changed direction and a fundamental shift happened in her career. With the support of her husband George, she quit her day job to pursue a full-time photography business. Lutz stated, “If

it weren’t for the support of my husband, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” To date, Lutz has photographed everything from wildlife to astrophotography. Her photos of two polar bears from the Pittsburgh Zoo have won several contests including the daily dozen in National Geographic, and features in Hoerzu (a German publication) and Muy Interesante Visual (a Spanish publication). Despite Lutz’s wide spanning subject matter, she found her true love in the fringe sports arena. “I never knew one of my favorite things to photograph would be a skateboarder,” said a laughing Lutz. It all sparked a couple of years ago when Lutz got involved in the fundraising to build Pitcher Park, a skate rink located in Carnegie Park. Soon after the park was complete, she started photographing the skaters. Immediately, a love grew for it and she found herself spending a lot of time at the park. With the completion of Pitcher Park came a skateboarding shop in Carn-

egie called Flatbar Skate Shop. Lutz and the shop owner decided to collaborate and they began displaying her photography of skaters. Lutz’s long term goals include going to Iceland, seeing the polar bears in Churchill, and getting published in National Geographic. “Chasing hard and chasing fast. I am having the best time of my life.”


There’s something about being in a studio. It’s a dream of many an artist to own their own, and many of us get our starts in one. The first time I truly felt like an artist was in the drawing studio at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Decades old lacquered floors chipped by stools and dripped with countless drops of paint scuffed under our benches and drawing boards every morning at 8. We smeared charcoal across huge newspaper tablets and learned to see with line and shadow. Some of us had been drawing for years, others just for the semester.

ged g u R ush Br I S T AS G IN




Some of us kept it up. That was six years ago, a strange amount of time in your early twenties, but the feeling lingers. It’s that energy you get when creating, and being around other creators...the sense of community and camaraderie. It comes and goes, sometimes with a day job, sometimes with various projects.


arts | Issue 2

Written by Haley Woodham

? H T Y

What do you create to get by; what do you create for the love of creating; what do you create to not stagnate? Few of us in this generation are working in the fields we studied in college: unsurprising in a time where the familiar statistic thrown at us is one of changing jobs an average of ten times by the age of forty. Many that consider themselves artists are holding jobs far removed from their degrees out of necessity. The ideal of the artistic personality is to make a living from our art, but much of the time it’s not possible. Sometimes disheartening, but not altogether disenchanting, the idea of the starving artist is alive and well. Suffering for your art can be seen as a badge of honor, a sign of naïveté, or a necessary evil on the way up. I suppose the question is: What is living as an artist? Is it making a living? Is it

living by our ideals—our aesthetics? As usual, I think the answer is a bit of both. In our dreams (and a few of our realities) we wake up to create work that is in demand and that allows us to live comfortably enough to keep the cycle going. But for the majority, reality is working a 9 to 5 job or two, and coming home exhausted to pets and partners, family and friends, and trying to squeeze in a little relaxation before we crash and start over the next morning. In our free moments, we doodle, or we come up with that next great idea. On our day offs, we try it out around making breakfast, or jogging, or cleaning house. Around that show we’ve waited for all week or that band that finally came to town. When things work out, we make a series, a gallery show, we throw a remarkable pot, or sing a better note than usual. A working artist may spend most of their time creating

for other people, finding moments here and there to create from a more personal place in the heart. When I asked my friend, artist Tara Helfer (www.tarahelfer.com), what her thoughts were on the subject, she said, “Living as an artist is rewarding, but not in ways you’d expect...it’s not glamorous and it takes a bit of fighting and failing to get used to it.” People can pan in a moment what it took you weeks to make. They can identify with it so much they completely erase you from the equation. Yet we keep it up. Oftentimes, there’s no question about whether or not to create, but simply when or how? It’s a drive to make and experiment; to live as an artist, that’s all you need.

arts | Issue 2 35

Ted Pappas and The Pittsburgh Public Theater (The Public) have a long history together. Pappas has been with the theater since he directed the musical Wings in 1994, and became Producing Artistic Director 16 seasons ago. Pappas doesn’t reflect on his long and varied association with the Public. He’s too busy looking forward. He isn’t just looking ahead to the end of this season, but next season and the next five years. And he’s planning every detail.

Ted Pappas 36

arts | Issue 2

FLA Written by Mike Buzzelli



with The Public

The Public is known for its meticulous attention to detail. Hayden Tee, who starred in 1776 and Camelot at the Public, said, “The public theater is one of my favorite theaters in the world to work at. The attention to every detail is not matched anywhere else and that is largely due to the expert direction on stage and off of Ted Pappas.” Tee is currently starring on Broadway in the iconic role of Javert, the fanatical police inspector in Les Miserables, making him an expert on obsessive. Pappas said, “We are meticulous. Down to the magazines that were chosen in Nathan Detroit’s newsstand in Guys and Dolls. Those were magazines of the era. We replicated the wall paper in the Diary of Anne Frank. Our designer flew overseas and recreated the color palette of the actual house.” The details were exquisite. Audience members remarked that the set was a slightly larger replica of the three-story annex where the Frank family hid in Amsterdam. Pappas said, “One of the reasons we strive for perfection is the audience is so close. You can see what’s on the desk, what’s on the coffee table, the backs of the dresses, what have you. It all has to be perfect. The audience expects it to be perfect.”

“The best part of my job is giving actors opportunities to play great roles. Seeing their tremendous range and versatility.” arts | Issue 2 37

Guys and Dolls

The O’Reilly Theater, designed by architect Michael Graves, opened at the tail end of 1999. The 650-seat theater features an open stage surrounded by the audience on three sides, and there’s not a bad seat in the house.


The attention to detail has paid off. Pappas said, “We are granted the rights of shows that are difficult to obtain. We have access to plays and musicals other theater companies can’t get because of our reputation.” As Producing Artistic Director, Pappas gets to pick the season. He said, “I get to pick what I want to direct, and it’s an honor to choose the directors for the remaining shows. I have the best job!” He paused and said, “The best part of my job is giving actors opportunities to play great roles. Seeing their tremendous range and versatility.”

The Public has attracted some serious star power. Since its inception in 1975, the late Leonard Nimoy, Jean Smart, Cloris Leachman and Marsha Mason have all trod the boards. It is attracting some rising talent as well. Tom Lenk, Teagle F. Bougere, and the aforementioned Hayden Tee have had some star turns at The Public. Broadway actor Eddie Korbich just finished a run as Truman Capote in Tru. It’s attracted a lot of local talent as well. Tracy Brigden, Artistic Director of the City Theater in Pittsburgh’s South Side, recently directed the Off-Broadway play Disgraced at The

Diary of Anne Frank 38

arts | Issue 2

Public. Brigden said, “Ted is a wonderful friend, collaborator and supporter of me and my work. I feel so grateful to direct at the The Pittsburgh Public Theater and the team he has assembled to realize the work there is top-notch.” She added, “It’s a gift to go across the river and be so welcomed and supported and only have to worry about directing!” Pappas is loving Pittsburgh. He said, “The audience is what attracted me to Pittsburgh, the discernment and generosity. The language of ideas helps give Pittsburgh audience what it craves. Pittsburgh has a loyal, savvy audience that relishes variety, language and beautiful productions.”

His choices for next season are eclectic. Pappas said, “We have a world premiere, a comedy, a massive musical, Shakespeare and current Tony Award winner.” Next season exemplifies the exuberance from the masterpiece of The Fantasticks to the extravaganza of Between Riverside and Crazy, to the massive musical of Twelfth Night and to the American classic, Death of a Salesman. Pappas said, “Between The Public, the City Theater, and Quantum and the rest we have a pretty sophisticated theater audience here in Pittsburgh.”




The Fantasticks

Off Broadway’s longest running musical about two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into falling in love by pretending to feud.

Between Riverside and Crazy

A 2015 Pulitzer Winner. An irrepressible ex-cop Walter Washington is facing eviction, City Hall, and the recent death of his wife. Clinging to both his grievances and the palatial rent-controlled apartment he shares with his ex-con son and a ragtag surrogate family, Walter needs to shake the past—but isn’t ready to move on.

Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare’s cross-dressing comedy. Twins Viola and Sebastian are are separated in a shipwreck. Viola, disguised as a boy, falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man.

Daddy Longlegs

From the Tony-Award winning director of Les Misérables, this is an intimate new musical based on the classic novel is a heartwarming Cinderella story about a witty and winsome young woman and her mysterious benefactor.

Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller’s classic American tale and winner of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and widely considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.


...And a Surprise Sixth Show. A mystery wrapped in a riddle. With Ted Pappas at the helm, this could be anything! arts | Issue 2 39

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A Hushed Bloom The artist must ne’er feel charged

Echoing Actions, Will you Ever Falter?

to clarify his art

Tearful eyes

For such works may include hidden secrets

a sad view

from the heart.

You cannot be found

It is the artist that sees

true as I

what others dismiss

do miss you

Portraying a moment

through this lonely town

taking a risk.

My heart sighs it cries too tears fall to the ground Were they lies told by you? Dreams of love made sound? truth confides tears soak through dreams as they fall down Are your eyes tearful too? Lost the heroes crown? Agonize

Pain is true

Hiding in the crowd

arts | Issue 2 41



Curtain Call

Holding Out for Halley

Seated cross-legged, side by

Each piece of the planetary puzzle persists

side on the edge of wooden

in a perilous position of Newtonian free

porch, spying out singular stars

fall. Halley’s Comet plummets past Pluto

that seemed to be sinking,

on its perpetual pilgrimage through galactic

surrounding us like drawn

pandemonium. Bitter body bursting

curtain at play’s end, you held

with icy veins weakens in the welcoming

onto my ring finger loosely,

company of the spectral Sun’s golden

tracing the print I’d left littered

mane; ionization instigates the flow

across each inch of your

of Halley’s hair which leaves behind

upstate home. That cold

a trailing tail that blazingly sails

night, teetering on jagged

in the supersonic solar wind storm.

peak of Winter’s months,

Crystalized cobalt comet enslaved

welcomed a wave of warmth.

to an elliptical existence, Halley dreams

I remember—no, remembrance

of a hyperbolic holiday away from our

is invoked through choice— I

attractive local star.

cannot forcefully forget the way

2061, the 31st time she streams across night’s

your silhouette danced against

canvas, painting a plasmatic portrait

the backlight of flickering

with profound purples briefly brandished

street lamps. Each perfect piece

for all of the world’s restless eyes; and I’ll

of your puzzle taking its due turn

be 47 years older and know

in the spotlight: feminine curve

opportunities like these

of lower lip, exotic arch along

rarely transpire twice

nose, deep and dark irises

during such a fleeting

that secretively brightened

and fiery life.

arts | Issue 2

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Lc LOCAL crawl

We’ve hand-picked out a handful of exhibits running this summer that will intrigue and entertain. From high heels to Fiber, there’s something to pique everyone’s interest.

The Frick: Killer Heels

(Running until September 4th) Take a journey through the steadfast and sometimes raunchy history of the high heel. From vixens to super heroes, the heel has fascinated men and women for ages. Enjoy this illuminating decoupage of artistic shoe wear through the years. thefrickpittsburgh.com

Pittsburgh Glass Center: Turned On. (Running until September 11th) Well, that says it all. When lighting and sculpture meet, something special happens. What that specialness is, you’ll have to find out for yourself. We liked it and you might, too. Featured artists to include Amber Cowan, Corey Pemberton, and Leo Tecosky. pittsburghglasscenter.com

arts | Issue 2 45

Pittsburgh Center for The Arts: Fiberart International 2016 (Running until July 31st)

78 artists from 14 countries will be displaying their fiber creations for the Pittsburgh art community, and all who love it. Fiber Art is art that consists of natural or synthetic fibers. Fiber Art is typically very visual, with capabilities on a grand scale, and tends to offer attendees an experience no to be forgotten. center.pfpca.org

Concept Art Gallery: Summer Print Show

(Running until September 3rd) A comprehensive exhibit of traditional and modern art prints. It’s not the sexiest thing in the world, BUT, it does offer a great place for first time art buyers to get their feet wet, or if you’ve been looking for an interesting, yet original piece that won’t break the bank. conceptgallery.com

James Gallery: Transformation

(Running until August 6th) An evolving collection of various mediums that intertwines an engaging and eclectic mix of works that appeals to all art lovers. jamesgallery.net


arts | Issue 2

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Interested in starting an art collection, decorating a space, not sure where to start? Let Purple Room Fine Arts be a resource and a guide as you begin your journey. We offer consulting services to home owners, businesses, and events coordinators. • Art acquisition for your space on a permanent or temporary basis. • Art rotation services for businesses, direct buy, commissions, and rent to own. • Curating and coordinating art events and exhibitions. Feel free to email me purplepierotti@yahoo.com or contact me at

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