How do you
communicate your observations about life? When you're happy do
you say, "I'm in the pink?" When you're sad do you "sing
the blues?" Do you tell others you plan to "paint the town
red" when you're excited about going out on the town?
event uplifts or dismays, inspires or infuriates, we all express our
"art" in unique ways, and Pittsburgh offers numerous examples
that help to expand our understanding of important events throughout
history. In dance, painting, performance, sculpture, writing, and music,
each work and action of art, captures the values, goals, and experiences
of the artist at that particular place in time and history.
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discover art in as many shapes and sizes as there are artists! Some
create unique and individual works of fine art, while others re-create
time-honored designs and perform the traditional dances and stories
defined by folk
art. Some create messages of popular appeal and others provoke
controversial debate. The artwork might be etched on a cave wall or
hung on a refrigerator with a colorful magnet. It is contained within
the walls of museums and galleries, on the stages and concert halls
of the city, and on the shelves of our libraries.
else might we find artwork and art actions that hint at our history?
Murals painted on the sides of houses depict life in Lawrenceville.
The stained glass creations at Calvary United Methodist Church capture
the passion of that congregation's faith. Musicians on the street corner
in the South Side express their art in song. The grand designs of downtown
skyscrapers celebrate an era of wealth and prosperity in the city. Graffiti
on North Side underpass walls express political viewpoints. Indian women
at a Hindu temple in Monroeville paint their hands and feet with traditional
Mendhi designs to recognize their upcoming marriages.
houses of worship on Fifth Avenue in Oakland use art to express
Terra cotta tiles on Rodef Shalom
Mosaic images from the Bible cover Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic
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Some art is
an act of individual expression. Perhaps the poet tries to describe
an elusive emotion using a particularly evocative combination of words.
A dancer or musician may convey emotion without using words at all.
The painter or photographer captures a single frame of time and lets
others in the world see the image as it appeared in their own mind's
artwork does not have to realistically interpret a picture of the "real
world." Some artists intentionally exaggerate an image. This is
called caricature. They reshape it, augment it, to emphasize the emotions
the image inspired in them. Some of the Modernists chose to forego realistic
images completely in favor of colors and shapes that inspire emotions
on a visceral level.
part of our lives . . . in more forms than we can imagine . . . spanning
time, geography, and social class . . . artwork exists. And each work
of art helps us wash away a little more of the dust from our everyday
lives, and celebrate the soul that lies underneath.