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Personality test: Fran Gialamas

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
Artist Fran Gialamas at her studio in Aspinwall.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
The Herald
Artist Fran Gialamas at her studio in Aspinwall. Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin

Much of the work of artist Fran Gialamas can't be viewed in a gallery. The Fox Chapel painter and printmaker is also teacher, arts advocate and past president of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. She joined the organization in 1958, while still a student at Chatham College in Shadyside. She quickly realized the value of artists banding together to create their own opportunities.

Her work is drawn partly from memories of the hulking industrial vistas from her childhood in Youngstown, Ohio. She creates photo assemblages using archival images of steel mills and workers, altering the photos with text, found images, hand coloring and fragments of color.

Her work has been featured at the Fein Gallery in Pittsburgh, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown and the Ceres Gallery in New York, where she is preparing her seventh solo exhibit. Her latest work, “Steel-Life II,” was selected by a jury as part of the Art on the Walls Program. It can be seen in the offices of the Greater Pittsburgh Art Council in the Cultural District. Gialamas' work is part of the David L. Lawrence Convention center art collection, the Grable Foundation, and several private collections.

The star who would play me in the movie version of my life and why:

An older Tina Fey, because I feel a deep kinship

The piece of memorabilia from my childhood I wish I still had:

First roll-top desk

The superpower I wish I had in real life and why:

The ability to fly, because I don't like to drive

I can't live without my: iPod, cellphone, DVR or laptop?

My cellphone

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

An artist

Favorite brunch food:


Favorite guilty pleasure:

Reading mysteries

Something I would do over if I could and why:

Learn to type

My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:

Troy Polamalu, inspiring convert to Eastern Orthodoxy

Favorite lunchtime spot:

Luma, in Aspinwall

Top thing on my ‘Bucket List' to do before I'm gone:

April in Paris, and a summer in Greece

In five years, I'd like to:

Have an art gallery

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is:

Diversity of neighborhoods, and great warm people

Childhood hero and why:

Wonder Woman (She was a woman!)

The oldest thing in my refrigerator is:


My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Devonshire at the Union Grill in Oakland

If I could live my life as someone else, it would be:

Marcia Tucker, founder of New Museum in New York City

Celebrity crush:

Alec Baldwin

Exercise I hate most:

All exercise, except gardening

The last book I read:

“Just Kids” by Patti Smith

Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

Harry Schwalb, Coco Chanel, David Brooks

If I was auditioning for “American Idol,” my song would be:

“Easy to Love” (Big Cole Porter fan!)

The first band I saw in concert (when and where):

Desi Arnaz, Palace Theater, Youngstown, Ohio

The best concert I've ever seen:

Pittsburgh Gospel Choir, at Carnegie Music Hall

My most memorable fashion mistake:

Rubber boots with mink

The song that always gets me out on the dance floor and why:

”Embraceable You” (Big Gershwin fan)

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:

Lori and Alan Hornell's home. Their home is filled with art, found objects and gourmet food!

Saturday mornings you'll find me:

Doing something fun with any of my four grandchildren

Best new gadget I've tried recently:

Kindle Fire

In high school, I was:

An intense student, active in many organizations

The most famous person I ever became friends with:

Philip Pearlstein (contemporary painter)

The movie that always makes me cry:

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

My most treasured fashion accessory is:

Cashmere scarf from Harrods

My most embarrassing junk food:

Never eat it!

What you'll always find in my glove compartment:

A flashlight

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

“Annie Hall” or “Casablanca”

One word my mother would use to describe me:


If I wasn't an artist, I'd be:

A writer

My favorite Pittsburgh pizza:

Sharp Edge, in East Liberty

My favorite website:

Kythera Hotel and Spa, Kythera, Greece

My favorite “bad” movie is:

“Prelude to a Kiss” (1992)

My first job:

Gift wrapping at McKelvey's Department store, Youngstown

My worst job:

Ticket sales at a community swimming pool

My favorite cable channel:

Turner Classic Movies

Life would be better without:

Divisive partisan politics

I'm deathly afraid of:


If I could tour with any two bands, they would be:

I could only think of one, ABBA

I never travel without my:

Trader Joe's Columbian Instant Coffee

People would be surprised to know that I:

I am of French descent

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