Highmark First Night Pittsburgh invites people to share their vision for the future | TribLIVE.com

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh invites people to share their vision for the future

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
The Dream Wall Project is a traveling public art installation where people share their thoughts and dreams for the future. It will be part of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Sara Aziz, director Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, talks to the media at a news conference on Dec. 3 about this year’s event on Dec. 31.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
A giant puppet looks at the Dream Wall Project, a traveling public art installation where people share their thoughts and dreams for the future. The wall and the puppet will be part of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Artist Cheryl Capezzuti poses with the giant puppets she designed for the parade for Highmark First Night Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
Courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Prismatica is an interactive modern ice palace made up of giant prisms which will be part of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.

A traveling public art installation known as the Dream Wall Project is a new addition to this year’s Highmark First Night Pittsburgh events on New Year’s Eve.

The project, which promotes the idea of inclusion, is the work of artist and photographer Anna Schuliger, a Marshall native who lives in Wilkinsburg.

“The project gives space for people to communicate their feelings in a divisive time when there is talk of walls to separate us,” she said. “We are building one that unites us.”

From 6 to 11 p.m., the wall will be housed at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center on Liberty Avenue. Guests can write a word, or phrase, draw a picture on a black tile to express a dream for the future. Schuliger will then add lights to the square to represent “writing in the stars.”

Details of the wall and other happenings at the annual event were announced at a news conference on Tuesday in Downtown Pittsburgh. Hosted by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust every Dec. 31, First Night brings more than 40,000 people to the city for dozens of events.

Schuliger contacted the cultural trust about being part of First Night. She also plans to make a permanent installation of the wall somewhere in the city.

“This is only a section of the wall,” said Sara Aziz, director of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. “It will be much bigger and will look so pretty through the windows at the August Wilson Center. We love showcasing local artists. There is so much talent in Western Pennsylvania.”

Another local artist who is a staple at the event is Cheryl Capezzuti of Brighton Heights. She leads the making of the giant puppets featured in the First Night parade. This year’s theme is “Take Flight,” which plays off the puppets Capezzuti made for a project at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The designs are created from waste at the airport, from old safety manuals to empty snack wrappers and used boarding passes.

“I never realized how much people threw away at the airport,” she said. “This was fun because anyone who knows me knows I enjoy using recycled materials.”

The evening will include fireworks at 6 p.m. and 11:50 p.m.

There will be various types of art, including comedy, dance, music, magic, theater, visual art, as well as hands-on activities for every age in indoor and outdoor venues.

The complete schedule of events is online at firstnightpgh.trustarts.org. Admission buttons are $10, $40 for VIP. Children under 5 are free.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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