Townsend Park is located at 803 Ernie Street in Pittsburgh’s Elliott neighborhood, adjacent to the West End. The park renovation includes landscape improvements, playground equipment, a new half basketball court, fencing, benches, pedestrian lighting, and a new ADA entrance.
As part of the Percent For Art program, a public art piece is being planned for the wall facing Chartiers Avenue. Earlier this year, a Request For Proposals was put out by the City for an artist to design and implement this project. Applicants were scored by representatives of City departments, the Council Office, and members of the Elliott community.
The selected artist is James Simon. James is a local artist based in Uptown. He passionately believes in the power of art to transform neighborhoods and his work can be found worldwide. Educated in the early 1980s in a private apprenticeship in Oxford England, Simon is known for his dramatic large scale works, such as the Liberty Avenue Musicians In Downtown. He works in a variety of mediums, including ceramic, concrete, bronze and mosaic. To create a design for Townsend Park, James will work with the Public Art & Civic Design Division (PACD) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) to gather community input and to develop a complete concept for a permanent art installation.
A few examples of James’ work can be seen here. For those interested, more are available at his website, www.simonsculpture.com. James would like to bring a colorful imaginative mosaic to the Chartiers Avenue wall. His compositions reflect a variety of themes – the compositions can directly relate to the neighborhood, or they can be something unpredictable from a different time, a different history, that drops in to visit the neighborhood.
Using the feedback he received from our online surveys, James is working on some initial design concepts. A final design will be presented at an upcoming Art Commission meeting.
In the artist's words:
The “Boy With Dog” celebrates a day in the life of a young adult with his very large adorable dog hanging out in a lush garden. The garden will be filled with colorful ceramic tile and glass flowers, animals, and birds. The boy with dog brings a work of art that is colorful fun and unique to the neighborhood.
The "Street Car" creates a colorful welcoming mosaic to the Elliot Neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The streetcar is a metaphor of community, that ties the past, present, and future of the neighborhood representing diversity, harmony and even alternative energy (electric transportation). The windows will have a variety of folks looking out celebrating a unique neighborhood of all age groups and ethnicities. A women will be exiting the streetcar with her dog, holding a bundle of beautiful flowers representing beauty and hope.