Garden to Garden ArtwayPittsburgh, PA
City of Asylum/Pittsburgh creates a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors. We provide sanctuary to endangered literary writers, so that they can continue to write and their voices are not silenced. We offer a broad range of literary programs in a variety of community settings to encourage cross-cultural exchange. And we anchor neighborhood economic development by transforming blighted properties into homes for writers and programs and by energizing public spaces through text-based public artworks.
Our newest community development initiative is the Garden-to-Garden Artway connector. The Artway is to be a literature-and-arts-activated walking path that connects our home-base on Sampsonia Way with our new Alphabet City literary center, which will be located in the local business district, and the Alphabet Reading Garden, to be located on Monterey Street in the residential interior of our Northside neighborhood. Through community-based residencies for international writers and musicians, free public multi-lingual literary and musical performances, and temporary and permanent public artworks, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh will animate the Artway in a way that celebrates the liberating power of creative expression and draws residents and tourists alike to our Northside streets.
We are working to fill the artway with events and temporary installations that will
inspire artists and community to engage with us in exploring home, community, identity, and creativity. We launched our Artway programming on June 8, 2013, with “Exiled Voices of China and Tibet,” a day-long celebration of literary arts and music that became an art-filled discourse on the nature and impact of freedom on the life of the individual as well as the community. Held in a tent on the site of the Alphabet Reading Garden, at the Western end of the Artway, the event created collaborations among Pittsburgh-based rap artist Jasiri X, exiled Chinese poet Huang Xiang and Melong Band (exiled Tibetan rockers), as well as poet and musician Liao Yiwu, activist Chen Guangcheng, editor/translator Tienchi Martin-Liao, New York Times journalist Andrew Jacobs.
The announcement of the Artway was featured in
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/art-architecture/aap-annual-show-leaner-and-edgier-this-year-688547/ ) and on our local public radio station (http://wesa.fm/post/grant-city-asylum-hopes-create-public-works-art-literature). Likewise, we were featured at the recent Americans for the Arts convention held in Pittsburgh, and were able to put the Artway project in front of attendees via tours and a panel on arts-based placemaking. This video introducing City of Asylum/Pittsburgh was seen by convention attendees:
The Artway is about creating spaces and opportunities for diverse neighbors to gather and where literature and art challenge and inspire us all to re-imagine and make a better home together. People on the Northside have been very willing to engage in that project with us since 2004, when we started with one poet reading on his doorstep to surprised (and curious) neighbors. With attendees from throughout Pittsburgh , and tourists from California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Ohio, our first Artway program, “Exiled Voices of China and Tibet” brought new people to our neighborhood, a trend we hope to be able to build on with other Artway programs in the coming months.