About The Audit:

The Department of City Planning is currently engaged in a multi-tiered audit process to identify inequity and bias within the city's permanent collection of public art, monuments, and memorials; to facilitate community engagement and action; and to implement changes to future policy and planning.

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 an Advisory Committee. With these roles in place, Phase Two launched in June 2023.

During this phase, research was conducted on the entire collection, backed by ongoing discussions with the Advisory Committee. The Researcher focused on creating a methodology of guiding principles, applying these principles to the collection as a whole, and creating a report to be used as the Department of City Planning enters into the process of creating its Comprehensive Plan. Utilizing this, the Public Art sections of the Comp Plan can create a guidebook for how we think about what exists in the public realm, what we add to it, what questions need to be asked about the stories our public art tells and how those questions are revisited over time, how communities should be invited to interact with and shape what exists and is added to the city landscape, and what considerations should be prioritized when planning for new works of art and memorial. This report can now be found at the link below.

Phase Three (2024)

Phase 3 of the audit is still being shaped and will focus on engaging communities to understand their feelings and perceptions of objects in the public realm, what actions should be taken toward existing objects, and how the city can implement evolving strategies to approach ideas of memorialization.

How would you like to see communities engaged in this work? What should be prioritized when developing plans for how memorialization is addressed in the public realm? Please share your thoughts and feelings about this audit process using the feedback form below.


Audit Researcher

Keenan Saiz

Advisory Committee

Sam Black

Kent Bey

Lenora Dingus

Mary Martin

Miguel Sague Jr

Kirk Savage

Sara Tang

Phase 2 Report

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

If you would like to receive future communications and updates regarding the equity audit, please enter your information here.