Garden to Garden Artway

City of Asylum Pittsburgh

Funding Received: 2013
Pittsburgh, PA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
April 23, 2014

By Elizabeth Baisley

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.

One of the key community assets on the Artway this summer will be the Alphabet City™ Tent, which will house programs from late June through October. A new initiative—though temporary space for readings, music, film, and more—the Tent will be homebase for City of Asylum’s community-based artist residencies. Community members and partner organizations will also be able to use it to present diverse, inclusive, local performances, exhibitions, and events. Performances at the Tent are scheduled through City of Asylum’s offices. In our immediate neighborhood, there are few locations that can be used by community members that don’t require a fee, and response to having the Tent as an option has been favorable so far.

As placemakers, we want to establish the Artway as a space in which our community can expect to be participants in and shapers of our neighborhood’s unique culture. This has meant developing planning processes that are inclusive as well, where various members of the community and partner organizations are involved at different levels. Two of our community-based artist residencies actually began with community meetings, though they were conducted in different modes: one a convening of community members through partner organizations (for Oliver Lake’s residency) and the other a convening of community members through a general “call for volunteers” (for Allstar Refjudzi Band). We continue working with community members on executing the residencies, communicating both through partner organizations and with individuals.

Recent Wins
Programming the tent and planning for the various needs of several dozen ensembles, visual artists, filmmakers, etc. has meant that we have increased our staff, hiring a programming associate as well as a secretary. It has also meant a recent and welcome increase in the numbers and diversity of our creative partners as well as our volunteer base.

Even before we are able to build our permanent space, we can create a temporary free space in which to perform, communicate, and participate in the culture of our community.