|Commissioning Entity||Neighborhood Allies|
The Placemaking + Temporary Public Art Program is a pilot program and a collaboration between Neighborhood Allies and the Office of Public Art. This initiative commissioned six artists, or artist teams, to collaborate with an organization that serves residents from one of six neighborhoods: the Hill District, Homewood, Larimer, Millvale, Wilkinsburg, and the Southern Hilltops (Allentown, Beltzhoover, and Knoxville).
Together, the organization selected from each neighborhood and the artists/artist teams designed a temporary public work of art that deeply engaged community residents. The process took approximately two years. During the first year, artists learned about the communities in which they worked, and during the second year, collaborated with residents and their community organization to create and implement a temporary public art project.
The Millvale partnership was between artist Ann Tarantino and three community organizations: the Millvale Community Development Corporation (MCDC), the Millvale Community Library, and the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka (SPMMMV).
Inspired by the water that runs through Millvale – a crucial part of its history and identity – Watermark connects community assets such as Riverfront Park, Grant Avenue Pocket Park (GAP Park), and the Grant Avenue business district with a single blue line. Viewers who follow the line in its entirety can appreciate the beauty of the Allegheny River at Riverfront Park, experience a light and audio installation at GAP Park (which sits directly over Girty’s Run), and find other unique perspectives throughout Millvale.
Watermark is a wayfinding tool that enhances the gateway to Millvale, increases community enjoyment, and celebrates local waterways. Tina Walker, an MCDC board member, describes the artwork’s impact: “Following an entire year of engagement with community leaders, residents, business owners, government officials, artists, community organizations, and funders, this initiative has brought newly found excitement to Millvale; has changed relationships, and has helped to create new friendships. With ease of accessibility, it has prompted many opportunities for everyone to socialize, shop, exercise, and enjoys the sights and sounds of nature, and invokes a deeper understanding of the impact that public art has in our community.
By bringing attention to the environment, the initiative has stimulated thoughtful imagination and lively discourse by encouraging people to reflect on the importance of the flow of water through their community... its peacefulness, its meanderings, and our connections to it. It has raised awareness of Millvale's bond to its watershed, and the importance of water to the past, present, and future of Millvale and all of Pittsburgh.”
Ann Tarantino is an artist with an active exhibition record, both in the U.S. and overseas. Her artwork and public art projects appear in settings ranging from museums and galleries to botanical gardens, city streets, and zoos. Twice featured in New American Paintings, she is a 2016 recipient of a Fulbright award for artistic practice in Brazil. She is Assistant Professor of Art at The Pennsylvania State University, where she teaches courses in drawing and painting and curates university gallery spaces.
Biography provided courtesy of the artist.