How Lawrenceville Artists Have Held Strong Through Neighborhood Revitalization

Oct 27, 2016

Joe Kelly, a furniture maker in Lawrenceville, was part of neighborhood efforts to bolster the area's artist community through revitalization efforts.
Credit Lawrenceville Art

As Pittsburgh neighborhoods, like Lawrenceville, undergo revitalization, art can often reflect changes.

Furniture designer Joe Kelly has been there since the beginning. Kelly spent a lot of time investing in the changes that helped make Lawrenceville one of the city’s most popular – and valuable – neighborhoods.

“Well, this was post-steel industry decline,” Kelly said. “This was a distressed area at that time.”

Kelly said he and other industrial artists in the neighborhood joined forces to boost neighborhood appeal.

“Because Lawrenceville was thought to be a rough neighborhood, we changed the whole perception and branding of the neighborhood,” he said. “I took my entire board of directors to CMU and we went through a whole branding process with the industrial design department.”

Artist Linda Price-Sneddon recently moved back to Pittsburgh. She said she worried about the negative side effects that can sometimes come along with neighborhood revitalization – like getting priced out.

But Kelly said from the beginning, he encouraged local artists to buy their properties.

“Inevitably, artists do get priced out of a neighborhood like this as it grows, but if you own your property, you don’t,” Kelly said.