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Splash of volunteerism by Colorize Pittsburgh makes mark

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Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

Volunteers splashed color on a previously drab city wall in Troy Hill on Sunday, the first project organized by two city artists who hope to further Colorize Pittsburgh.

Leah Bevilacqua, 27, of Friendship and Stephanie Brunner, 27, of Lawrenceville developed Colorize Pittsburgh, a public art initiative that aims to beautify blighted urban spaces and encourage community volunteerism.

"We're giving people an opportunity to contribute to their own neighborhoods," Bevilacqua said. "So many people are driving by and saying, 'It looks great,' or just honking. ... We hope there will be more projects like this."

The huge wall — separating Troy Hill Road and Goettmann Street, between Penn Brewery and North Catholic High School — is now covered with a bright yellow, orange and blue checkerboard pattern. Volunteers pressure-washed the wall on Thursday, primed it on Saturday and applied yesterday 40 gallons of paint, donated by PPG Pittsburgh Paints. Sherwin Williams, Westmoreland Supply, Paul's Lumber in Bloomfield, Thomarios in the West End and J.R.'s Towing in Troy Hill also donated supplies.

"To ask people to come out and paint during a Steelers game, it doesn't happen," said Kelley Krapp, 28, a Troy Hill resident who managed to find seven volunteers to spend the day painting. "Everyone driving by is either going to a bar or from a bar, waving their Terrible Towels."

Bevilacqua and Brunner do not know where their next project will be, but they hope the Troy Hill wall — visible from the Strip District and other areas — will generate interest.

"Whoever wants it, we welcome it," Brunner said.

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