|Owner||Pittsburgh City Paper|
The ArtBox Project is a public art project hosted by the Pittsburgh City Paper. The Pittsburgh City Paper has acted as a unique and independent voice for the city of Pittsburgh since 1991. Pittsburgh City Paper offers a distinctive perspective on local news & politics, dining reviews, restaurant & event listings, music reviews, movie & film reviews, arts, entertainment, and opinions. The paper is available electronically online or physically in street boxes located in the various neighborhoods within the Pittsburgh area.
Since 2012 the Kaufmann Center has sponsored a yearly competition between local Pittsburgh artists. Each year, ten artists have been selected to have their art appear on Pittsburgh City Paper street boxes around the city. The Pittsburgh City Paper provides each artist with $150 for art materials. The ArtBox Project interacts with both the city and its public. Each of the ten ArtBoxes is placed in different neighborhoods of the city. This helps to spread art throughout the many different types of areas throughout the city. The Pittsburgh City Paper then publishes an article displaying the ArtBoxes and their artists. Readers will then vote for their favorite ArtBox. The article encourages the readers to go out to the many neighborhoods that house these ArtBoxes and view them in person. This not only leads to a physical interaction between viewer and art, but also augments public interactions with the many neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. The chosen artist wins $500.
Last year’s winner, Kent Miller, painted fantasy-like images of dragons, UFOs, volcanoes, and an upside-down city on his ArtBox. Every ArtBox is different because every artist has the freedom to display their own distinct and unique style and ideas onto the once-blank street box. Each year, Pittsburgh City Paper presents a vast array of different types of art onto the streets of Pittsburgh. However, one thing that most of the ArtBoxes have in common is the bright collection of colors that illuminate from the street boxes. The use of color in these public art pieces allows the piece to be easily and quickly seen. Newspaper street boxes are usually not something that many people notice during their day-to-day errands. The exciting colors on the boxes allow the public to notice the artwork as they walk or drive through the neighborhoods helping to create a greater interaction between viewer, art piece, and neighborhood. The ArtBox project helps give visibility to the many talented artists who live in Pittsburgh. Through their ArtBoxes, the artists and the Pittsburgh City Paper help to spread the impulse of art and artmaking throughout the city of Pittsburgh.
By Kirk Savage, Ph.D.
Kirk Savage is a professor of art history at the University of Pittsburgh. He has written extensively on public monuments in the United States, and is the author of two prizewinning books: Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape and Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America.