Pittsburgh Artists

Bob Studebaker / 90.5 WESA

After struggling to make a living in Portland, Ore., artists Drew and Alyssa Kail moved back to Pittsburgh and found the area to be friendly to creators like themselves. 


Keith Srakocic / AP

The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival is underway all this week in Pittsburgh.

The event runs until June 11 and features exhibits throughout Point State Park, the Cultural District and the Gateway Center.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Artist Ron Donoughe has captured the city’s neighborhoods one brush stroke at a time. The plein air painter has visited each neighborhood, paintbrush in hand, in front of an easel and canvas for his 90 neighborhoods series, now on display at the Heinz History Center.

90.5 WESA’s Deanna Garcia recently spoke with Donoughe at his studio in Lawrenceville.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

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.

Gift of the Estate of Richard M. Scaife / Westmoreland Museum of American Art

A new exhibit spotlighting the work of folk artist John Kane has opened at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. We’ll rediscover the artist whose paintings celebrate Pittsburgh with Judith Hansen O’Toole, director and CEO of the museum and Jane Kallir, co-director of Galerie St. Etienne in New York City.

According to Hansen, Kane's rediscovery can be attributed to a sea change in the greater museum environment. 

"Museums now are much more willing to put on the walls works by artists who are lesser known and who the public might not recognize as 'great,'" she says.

Kallir believes Kane's work has endured due to his unique perspective, saying he painted from the point of view of the working class.

"[His work] proves that you don't have to go to art school to be a great artist," says Kallir. "It can be freer and truer and more spontaneous."

The Pittsburgh Biennial has begun at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) with a local artist showcasing his two-and three-dimensional works, and the Pittsburgh Glass Center is about to join in on the Biennial with a wide array of glass ideas.

The Pittsburgh Biennial is held roughly every other year, 2011 was the last one, and gives local Pittsburgh artists a chance to be featured by the galleries around the city.