Creative expression is alive and well in Garfield in the form of public art, ornate graffiti and outdoor murals! Penn Avenue is home to dozens of art galleries, studios, maker spaces and more, each with their own distinct character and flair and the best way to get to know them is at Next 3 Days (N3D) this weekend!
From the eclectic Penn Avenue Art District—along Pittsburgh’s oldest east-west thoroughfare—to lively Garfield Heights, this is your chance to meet the artists and explore all the public art that helps make the neighborhood shine.
Whether you’re a Garfield native or someone who wants to get to know the city better, you don’t want to miss this these murals and mosaics.
Glass Center Mural by Chris St Pierre Jordan Monahan
Located on The Pittsburgh Glass Center building, 5472 Penn Avenue
Warhol Flowers by Bob Ziller
Located throughout the neighborhood
The Pittsburgh Beautification Project was the idea of artist Bob Ziller. For several years he’s been the driving force behind those flower covered boards on abandoned buildings around town. Field of Warhol Flowers was done along a parking lot fence with the help of hundreds of kids.
The Bride of Penn Ave by Judy Penzer Jill Watson
5463 Penn Avenue
The truth is all of the above and none of the above. According to The Bulletin (A publication of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation) Judy Penzer never reveled what it was about, saying it’s whatever you think it is. Even the title of the mural came from others. When Ms. Penzer was told it was being referred to as The Bride on Penn Ave she made that the title.
Today the mural is a local landmark. The row of houses like the one depicted in the painting is now referred to as Bride Row. Originally there were nine identical, three story homes here. The most easterly one had a commercial addition added in the 1960’s. The mural uses the remnants of that original house to re-create itself in the mural. If you look closely you’ll see that most of the side of the house in the mural isn’t painted – it’s actually the original brick of the real house. Along with the mural, the eight other homes are considered a distinct architectural landmark for the area and there is a proposed project to restore and preserve the front facades and porches in this row.
Davu Ayomi by Tarish Pipkins
5424 Penn Avenue
A Pittsburgh native with a musical heritage, Davu Flint performs with his own ensemble and has several collections of music released. In an interview with Confessions of a Curly Mind (COACM) regarding copyrights and music sharing Davu is quoted as saying please take my music wherever you can find it. spread the word. tell ya Moms. please. His poetry can be found in the book Black Futurists Speak: An Anthology of New Black Writing.
The Gateway by Michael Walsh Jeremy Groznik
5149 Penn Avenue (Penn Ave and Evaline St)
This is a two piece sculpture installed on buildings across the street from each other – one in Garfield, the other in Bloomfield. It was a project of the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, and this paragraph in the Post Gazette Arts and Entertainment section by Bob Batz Jr in June of 2002: “The Gateway” is two large mirror-image stainless steel sculptures mounted on the outside walls of two buildings on either side of Penn Avenue (5149 and 5150) symbolizing a bridge between Friendship, Bloomfield and Garfield. The Penn Avenue Arts Initiative collaborated on it with artists Michael Walsh and Jeremy Groznik.
Angel of Garfield by Daviea Davis multiple artists
5212 Penn Avenue
Ms. Davis worked on “Angel of Garfield” along with Jessica Rutherford and ten teen-age first-time offenders from Garfield’s CISP program – it was their community service to work on the mosaic. The piece was glass on glass, and she intended for it to be backlit so that it would glow in the night. Daviea Davis has other public art work in Pittsburgh – two at the airport, one on Point Brugge restaurant, one in the waiting room at The Childrens and Family Court, and another at the Pittsburgh food bank, as well as several pieces in Chicago.
Spak Bros by Keith Knight
5107 Penn Avenue
Part of this mural is a homage to the neighborhood and to local graffiti artists past and present. And on the reverse side of the same building: “Welcome to the Phuture”.
Tuesdays Heroic Paragon by Kevinn Fung
4809 Penn Avenue
It was Thanksgiving day 1999 when local husband and father of five, Sydney Barlow, lost his life interceding in an argument. Mr. Barlow was protecting the children and families present to watch the annual Turkey Bowl football game when he was shot to death. His heroism was not forgotten by the community and they wanted this mural to be a tribute to him. Kevin Fung designed the image with emphasis on Mr. Barlow’s heroic and inspirational character rather than on the heart wrenching story of how he died. Using many small details and a nearby landmark to place the scene specifically in the Garfield neighborhood, he portrays an everyday hero stepping up to do the right thing. Mr. Fung wanted to show a simple act of heroism by an average Garfield resident. His message is that everyone should remember and appreciate Sidney Barlow’s actions, and anyone can be inspired to be an everyday hero themselves. The style of the mural was influenced by Thomas Hart Benton’s curving horizons and distortion of perspective.
Fabric of the Community by Jackie Kresak
4202 Penn Avenue
The Penn Main Business Association approached the Sprout Fund seeking a mural that would give their community a sense of identity. This area, known as the Penn Main Corridor, has struggled to distinguish itself as a unique community amidst a constant change coming from every direction. The site of the new main branch of UPMC’s Children’s hospital, only minutes from the Strip, and a stone’s throw between Bloomfield and Central Lawrenceville, Penn Main is caught between many distinct neighborhoods. Artist Jackie Kresak’s design of an unfinished quilt seemed perfectly suited to the neighborhood. Inspired by a quilt that her mother started but never had the chance to finish, the mural depicts Kresak’s hands picking up where her mother left off. Aptly symbolizing the Penn Main Corridor being bound together as a community, yet still being a work in progress, Kresak comments that sewing a quilt is like bringing together the different kinds of people and uniting them into one whole blanket or community. The purple folded block with the pin in it represents that it, like a community, is still under construction and changing for the better. The promise of the mural is that, like quilting, the growth of a community identity can take new directions and form new patterns out of the many pieces of itself.
Garfield Gator by withheld
408 N. Pacific Avenue (Kincaid St and Pacific)
It is not confirmed that The Garfield Gator is actually the title of this mural, but that’s what it is. It’s a representation of the local youth football team mascot. According to some locals, it’s rogue artist created it along a street in the Garfield neighborhood without the city’s permission.
Girl & Cat wheat paste by Elizabeth Barreto Ortiz
MWFA & Café Con Leche 2016 – Visiting resident artist from Puerto Rico
Most Wanted Fine Art Mondrian Front
5015 Penn Avenue
Changes color quarterly. Built, designed, and updated by Jason Sauer.
Tuesdays Heroic Paragon by Kevinn Fung- Irma Freeman Glass Mosaic Front
4809 Penn Avenue
Jerimiah Graffiti on the side of the International Children’s Gallery
5020 Penn Avenue
Legal piece done by MFOne.
Garfield Mural on Black Street painted by DS Kinsel & Dante Lombardi (Made with Community Volunteers)
5499 Black Street
Sanctioned public art projects. Organized by Renee Robinson, Knowledge, Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, Most Wanted Fine Art, and Garfield Jubilee Association.