'Busnegie' Outside Pittsburgh Museums Offers Art To All

Jul 23, 2018

In October the Carnegie Museum of Art with unveil its world-renowned Carnegie International Exhibit, but a much smaller, unknown art show will take place at the same time, just steps from the museum entrance.

Millvale based artist Suzanne Werder is working to put visual art inside two Port Authority bus shelters located outside of the Carnegie Museums on Forbes Avenue in Oakland. Werder is the founder and curator of the “Busnegie Museum of Art,” and says the goal of the project is to make art accessible to everyone.

“I want it to be art that’s relatable, and I want the art to be able to be appreciated; even if you don’t have a degree in art,” explains Werder. “The Busnegie Museum wants to be as inclusive as we can and give people a positive art experience.”

The project will begin in October and will run concurrent with the Carnegie International, which is North America’s oldest exhibition of contemporary art from the around that world. Werder says she’s an emerging artist and wonders if she’ll ever make it into a prominent exhibition.

“So, I’ve been thinking about insiders and outsiders. For me the Busnegie Museum of Art is both a way to bring other people into having an art experience, but it’s also a way to get local Pittsburgh artists a little bit of national exposure with the arts professionals who will be coming into Pittsburgh for the International” explained Werder.

Werder is purchasing the ad space at the bus shelters with financing from a Soup N’at grant, along with donations and other funding.

“It’s a wonderful location, but that means the ad space is kind of expensive. For one month its $750 just for the ad space, then it’s another $150 for them to print the art on the signs that will go into the ad space,” said Werder.

Werder said her project will promote a social services program that she said not enough people on public assistance know about.

“For $1 you can get into the Carnegie Museum of Art if you receive government services and have an access card,” says Werder. “So maybe if people enjoy the experience, in the Busnegie they’ll want to get some more art, and that can break down the financial barrier, because it’s almost $20 to get into the Carnegie Museum, it’s worth it but, it’s out of a lot of people’s ability to pay for that, and I think art is for everybody.”

Werder will curate and solicit art from local artists to exhibit in the bus shelters. Each month will have a different theme, beginning with October’s theme “Journeys.”