An Artist Battles Blight With a Coat of Gold Paint

Oct 8, 2014

The House of Gold sits on the corner of Park and Swissvale avenues in Wilkinsburg. Artist and architect Dee Briggs, who lives next door, acquired the house through a vacant property program and with the help of others painted it gold.
Credit Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

To drive through Wilkinsburg is to tour the ravages of a post-industrial Pittsburgh, a suburb of the comeback city that just hasn’t come back, yet. Houses stand empty, there are open lots, drug deals go down in broad daylight. And then, glimmering on a corner lot: a house painted gold.

Standing out front, Sandra Nelson admired the new paint job. She lived in this house from the 1970s until 1986 and had watched over the years as subsequent owners abandoned the property and it began to deteriorate. When she drove by one day and saw her house resplendent in gold, she sought out the person responsible for the makeover.

Read a full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities