In 2010 I was given the go ahead by Uptown Partners of
Pittsburgh -the community group of Uptown to design and create a
mosaic "Welcome To Uptown" Sign. Thus proceeded a lengthily process
of fundraising and site permission/control. The Uptown community is
a strategically located corridor connected to downtown Pittsburgh
as well as to the many nearby business and university
neighborhoods. Uptown in its hey day was a thriving area that went
into decay and poverty- and is now showing real signs of new growth
The site is on Fifth Ave at the Birmingham Bridge-where Uptown
Begins- a most important intersection where thousands of folks pass
by everyday on there way to Downtown, the South Side, and the Hill
District of Pittsburgh.
PennDot owns the land and had never been involved in an artist
project and land use contract before. After one year of
correspondence and a few nervous breakdowns we came to an agreement
on a contract that would work for everybody.
I designed the art-sign in the shape of a tree-The tree part
itself is 15' x 15' with a 9 foot trunk .The tree is created on
concrete board which will then be attached to a metal frame
/Skelton. The frame will be attached to a 16''steel pipe that will
represent the trunk and rise up to hold the tree frame.The unseen
trunk will sink 9 feet into the ground filled with a 3 foot
diameter of concrete.
I like the tree theme-for many reasons-Its particularly visually
effective from a distance-and It gives me a lot of freedom with
colors and themes-Any thing goes really- for this one- leaves and
flowers, bugs, animals, turtles, armadillos, penguins, and cherubs.
These days I am using more stain glass like-the beautiful
Youghiogheny River glass -made nearby -it's actually sometimes
cheaper and prettier than colorful mosaic tile. I find tile and
glass work great together for free standing projects. (Not for