In 2021, the City of Pittsburgh will begin an expansion of its Art in Parks program, with the implementation of high-impact public artworks in the City’s five regional parks: Frick, Schenley, Emerald View, Riverview, and Highland. This program is made possible by the RADical ImPAct Grant, which was launched in celebration of the Allegheny Regional Asset District’s 25th anniversary with the intention of funding bold, forward-looking, creative projects that will have a radical impact on the region.
Below is an overview of each park, along with some context of the existing public art within its boundaries. The public is invited to offer their thoughts in advance of upcoming public art projects in these regional City parks.
Pittsburgh’s five Regional Asset District Parks together make up around 2,000 acres, accounting for much of the City’s forest and green space. They also provide numerous recreational and cultural amenities, and hold much of the City’s collection of public art and memorials. Maps of each park can be found at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy website.
Highland Park sits on what was once farmland owned by the Negley family. One of its most famous features, the reservoir, was built in 1879, and people soon began gathering in the area around it for recreation. It opened as a City Park in 1893, with many of its key features being built in the following decade, including the entrance gate, Lake Carnegie, and the first picnic shelters. The Highland Park Zoological Gardens (now the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium) also opened at this time, and remains one of the area’s best-known attractions.
Public art & memorials in Highland Park include:
- Giuseppe Moretti’s Horses on Stanton Avenue and Welcome, the grand entrance pillars
- Laura Jean McLaughlin and Bob Ziller’s Animal Adventures mosaic wall near the zoo
- Ben Grubb’s arched metal sculpture by Lake Carnegie
- Eliza Miller’s cut-steel sculptural awning at the swimming pool
- A historic stone monument to the Negley family and other early settlers
Riverview Park was created in 1894 in Allegheny City, thirteen years before it was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh. At the time it was a mostly grassy area known as Watson’s Farm. Now, it is mostly made up of dense, hilly woodlands. There are numerous trails for hiking and jogging, and the only equestrian path found in Pittsburgh’s City parks. The most famous site within the park is the Allegheny Observatory, a historic landmark and institute of astronomical research.
Currently there are two pieces of public art in Riverview Park:
- The vibrant animal murals by Ramiro Davaro-Comas on the Activity Center doors
- Sandy Kaminski and Linda Wallen’s astronomy-inspired pavement art in the playground
Emerald View Park is the newest of Pittsburgh’s Regional City Parks, being officially created in 2007. It was made of the consolidation of existing parks, greenways, and parcels of land. It features many trails winding up and down its hillsides, and beautiful scenic overlooks of the City and its rivers.
The grassy slopes near the grandstand hold an abstract sculpture by James Myford.
Frick Park is Pittsburgh’s largest City Park, containing land that Henry Clay Frick, the park’s namesake, bequeathed to the City of Pittsburgh at the time of his death in 1919. The park was officially opened in 1927. In addition to the many trails and recreational features, the park also houses the Frick Environmental Center, and the famous Blue Slide Park.
Frick Park contains public art from 2018’s Art in Parks program, as well as two war memorials:
- Saige Baxter’s metal sculptures near South Braddock Avenue
- Murals of caves in the tunnels of Blue Slide Park
- The Veterans Monument at Forbes Avenue and South Dallas Avenue
- A Regent Square Honor Roll at Henrietta Street and Milton Street
Schenley Park was created in 1889 with land donated by philanthropist Mary Schenley. A log cabin which sits in the park and was once owned by Schenley is considered to be the oldest home in Pittsburgh. The park is also home to Phipps Conservatory and the Bob O’Connor Golf Course, and sits adjacent to the City’s largest universities.
Numerous items in the City’s inventory of public art and memorials sit within the park, including:
- Giuseppe Moretti’s Panther statues and Hygeia World War I Memorial
- An abstract wall sculpture by Edward Bordas
- The statue of Neptune in the fountain next to Phipps Conservatory
- John Massey Rhind’s statue of Robert Burns
- The sculptural monument to Shawnee Chief Catahecassa
- The George Westinghouse Memorial
- The Colonel Andrew Leroy Hawkins Monument
Let us know your thoughts on public art in each of these parks using the fields below. Possible areas of input include:
- Types or concepts of public art you would like to see in this park
- Examples of existing public art you particularly enjoy
- Specific locations within the park where you'd like to see new public art
- Needs or areas for improvement within the park that public art could address
The City of Pittsburgh is soliciting qualifications of individual artists or
artist teams to realize object-based sculpture or site-specific installations
and landscape works in each of the five Allegheny Regional Asset
District (RAD) parks within the City of Pittsburgh. The call can be accessed through Beacon by clicking this link and searching for “Art in Parks”: https://pittsburghpa.gov/beacon/index.html.