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.