Pittsburgh planning ‘artistic intersection’ in Shadyside to commemorate gay pride
Pittsburgh is looking to remake the intersection of Ellsworth and Maryland avenues in Shadyside with an artistic design commemorating the neighborhood’s history of gay activism and the 50th anniversary of riots in New York City that touched off the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States.
The Public Art and Civic Design Division of Pittsburgh’s Planning Department is seeking proposals from artists to design and create the intersection for a maximum $20,000.
Proposals must be in by 4 p.m. March 29.
City officials want the project to be finished by the end of May in time for a pride parade in Shadyside and the anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall Riots, which happened in Greenwich village over six days starting on June 27, 1969.
“The idea is to use this project project to memorialize this event and the place that Ellsworth Avenue has in the history of LGBT+ rights and activities in the city,” said Councilwoman Erika Strassburger, who represents Shadyside.
It would be Pittsburgh’s second “artistic intersection.” Pittsburgh last year commissioned local artist Guy Ruff to redesign the intersection of Brownsville Road and Parkfield Street in Carrick. Ruff created the image of a colorful swan and triangles in the street symbolic of “love, fidelity, grace, and beauty.”
Strassburger said the Shadyside project began as a simple request for repainting a crosswalk at Ellsworth and Maryland in the colors of the Rainbow Flag, a symbol of the LGBT rights movement. She said the paint had faded and several business owners requested a new paint job.
The request conflicted with city requirements for all crosswalks to be painted in a black and white “piano key” design, highly visible to drivers.
Strassburger said officials decided on an artistic design after subsequent meetings with staff and constituents.
Yesica Guerra, the city’s public art and civic design manager, said officials want the intersection to serve as a civic gateway to Shadyside.
“We hope they are going to be creative with colors, shapes, forms, different things that will make this a beautiful intersection and commemorative of the LGBT+ community,” she said.
A jury consisting of representative from various city departments and Strassburger’s office will choose the artist after reviewing design proposals, Guerra said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .