About The Audit:

The Department of City Planning is currently engaged in an audit to identify inequity and bias within the city's permanent collection of public art, monuments, and memorials.

Beginning in 2020, the audit resulted from public discussion and subsequent city action around statues in the city's collection which were removed and/or concealed from public display following decisions by the Art Commission. Issues of equity and representation were present in prior city conversations, but impassioned and intense discourse in these instances led to a reactive approach from the city, leaving little room for well-developed and community-informed action plans. A prepared and proactive approach will allow the city to facilitate meaningful dialogue and leave space for communities to determine future policy regarding what is represented in public space.

About The Process:

Phase One (2020 - 2021)

The Department of City Planning convened a small group of volunteers to identify pieces in the collection with an immediate need for evaluation (pieces that present a clear and dominant narrative told at the expense of other groups). The discussion and research outcomes of Phase One identified the need for:

  • A dedicated researcher to create the city process and conduct the full collection review
  • An advisory committee composed of thoughtful and diverse voices to guide the overall analysis and ensure representation of the city's current and historic communities

Phase Two (2022 - 2023)

Planning for Phase Two took place in 2022 with the city reaching out to vital community partners and laying the groundwork for releasing the calls for a researcher and the Advisory Committee. With these roles in place, Phase Two officially launched in June 2023. During this phase, the collection will be audited in its entirety, and objects that warrant assessment and decision-making will be reviewed.

This phase is currently ongoing. Outcomes and next steps will be shared as Phase Three planning begins in 2024.

Phase Three (2024)

Once the work of the researcher and the Advisory Committee is complete, Phase Three will engage communities to understand their feelings and perceptions of objects in the public realm. These listening sessions and conversations will guide the development of the city's approach to caring for and presenting the current collection and future additions to it.


Participants

Advisory Committee:

Kent Bey

Samuel Black

Lenora Dingus

Mary Martin

Miguel Sague Jr.

Kirk Savage

Sara Tang


Audit Researcher:

Keenan Saiz


The City Collection:

The City of Pittsburgh’s Public History, Art, & Design Division maintains and preserves the city-owned collection of monuments, memorials, and works of historical and modern art. The inventory is an evolving document that is continually updated as the collection grows and changes. The most recent collection inventory was released in 2023.

View the latest inventory of the city's public art and memorials here.




Equity Audit Mailing List

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