Personality Test: Sara Beck Sweeney

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Pittsburgh definitely works for Sara Beck Sweeney.

With its liberal scattering of sculpture, paintings and street art, the Steel City is becoming a hot zone for artists yearning to express themselves. Sweeney's among them.

The North Side resident says she always had a knack and penchant for drawing and coloring, even as a child. Frequent trips to museums with her parents, along with support from teachers, friends and other family, helped evolve her love of illustration into a passion. The encouragement stuck over the years.

“I guess it was those visits and the Arts-to-School Program ... that really got my imagination going,” Sweeney says.

Today, hundreds of miles away from the small Michigan town where she grew up, Sweeney is surrounded by inspiration — much of it coming from Pittsburgh's distinctive bridges, rivers and countless homages to the steel industry.

“Aesthetically, I appreciate (Pittsburgh's) typography, the ever-changing weather and the architecture and other expressions of the people,” she says. “I want people to see the unique beauty of this city in my work.”

Sweeney will be showing her work along with a few other artists at a Jan. 19 CD-release party for Jessica Lee at Little E's Jazz Club, Downtown.

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

Catherine Keener. During a celebrity likeness game, my family chose her for me and I can respect that.

Pick one:

A. Go-Go's

B. Goo-Goo Dolls

C. Lady Gaga

D. Yo Gabba Gabba

Go-Gos, for nostalgia. My sister, her friends and I would dress up and do mock rock concerts as the Go-Go's.

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

Muppets drink glasses, although I feel like they were found to be toxic.

The superpower I wish I had in real life:

Teleportation, so I could travel quickly and painlessly.

My favorite reality show:

“So You Think You Can Dance”

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

Live to see my kids fully grown, settled in their lives, and generally content.

In five years, I'd like to:

Have a separate studio/gallery space

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh:

I love that my family and I can live comfortably in the city … and how accessible everything is from our neighborhood – the North Side

My favorite Pittsburgh athlete:

Franco Harris, a fellow North Sider.

My favorite sandwich, plus fixings:

Turkey Rachel

My most memorable fashion mistake:

At some point in grade school, I had a mullet. Terrible!

The oldest thing in my refrigerator:

Tabasco sauce

When I was 10, I wanted to be:

An anthropologist

The best concert I've ever seen:

Beirut at the Altar Bar was my favorite show in recent memory.

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

It's not hard to get me out on the dance floor.

The last book I read:

I'm reading Miranda July's “No One Belongs Here More Than You”

Three people I'd love to have dinner with:

Stephen Colbert, Laurie Simmons and Megan Sugiyama (old college friend that I haven't seen in way too long)

In high school, I was:


My favorite “bad” movie:

“Army of Darkness.” Some people I know find it unwatchable.

My favorite website:

Right now, it's

Movie I could watch every time it appears on cable:

“The Princess Bride”

The person I'm most often mistaken for:

I'm told that I resemble Celine Dion, but I'm pretty sure no one would ever mistake me for her (I think that I'm about a foot shorter and/or significantly wider)

Celebrity crush:

Ryan Gosling. I heard an interview in which he talked about doing poorly in school. He said that he would have been fine had there been no fluorescent lighting and he were allowed to run back and forth at the back of the classroom. My crush was born.

The first band I saw in concert:

Living Colour in Ann Arbor, Mich. I didn't have a license yet, maybe it was 1989?

Pick one:

A. Pirates

B. Penguins

C. Steelers

D. Other

E. I hate sports

Pirates. I'm a dreamer.

Favorite Pittsburgh-area landmark:

Point State Park fountain — I miss it!

My most embarrassing junk food:

Cookie batter. I live dangerously.

My first job:

Data “clean-up.” I sat at a conference table by myself and made cold calls to update the company's Rolodex for a summer.

My worst job:

(see above)

I never travel without my:


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

“The xx” and “Beirut”

People might be surprised to know that I:

Love to play sports, with very possibly the only exception being golf.

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