Polish Hill Arts Fest: art activities and demonstrations

We’ve got some great organizations and individuals bringing free art activities, demonstrations, and projects to the festival!

The Mobile Sculpture Workshop, a pilot program of the Industrial Arts Co-op, will begin building their second major sculpture at the festival. The sculpture will be designed by eight local area youth, and its on-going construction will be displayed at various events over the summer.

mobile sculpture studio

The Mobile Sculpture Workshop was created by the Industrial Arts Co-op as a summer workshop aimed at demonstrating the techniques of safe and proper welding and metal fabrication to Pittsburgh-area youth grades 9-12. Eight sculpture apprentices have been chosen, along with three alternates, to help construct a large-scale sculpture for public display and installation in the Hazelwood area. You can learn more about the Mobile Sculpture Workshop by visiting their website and following their Facebook page.

Little House, Big Art



Little House, Big Art is a unique art and craft studio on the Northside where kids, adults and everyone in between can come in and make stuff in guided projects or in an open studio. The activities they are bringing to the festival include some paintables (canvas panels, wooden picture frames, and wooden snakes) and stuff for plastic and wood beading.

Carnegie Library


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will lead a Gardening Gloves activity at the event and provide materials from its Music, Film and Audio Collection for check out with your library card.

45 Days of Sleepwatch



45 Days of Sleepwatch
In March of 2015, Laura Zurowski found a series of 45 poems posted to Craigslist Missed Connections. Titled “Sleepwatch,” each poem explores the common symbols and themes that infuse our dreams. In this interactive project, visitors can read the original Sleepwatch poems, learn about the meanings of various dream elements, and create and share their own piece of writing or artwork in response.



Assemble, a community space for arts and technology in Garfield, will bring an interactive kids crafting activity and information about its free and low-cost STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) youth programs.   This is their third year at the festival.  We haven’t heard what they’ll be doing this year, but it’s sure to be fun!  (Photo from 2013 Polish Hill Arts Festival)

Land Art Generator Initiative


Land Art Generator Initiative will provide drop-in workshop activities that invite people of all ages to think about renewable energy and sustainable cities through the lens of art. Visitors will learn about the LAGI 2016 STEAM Prize and how to participate.

At the LAGI table will be images of large-scale public artwork proposals from past LAGI design competitions. Also on hand will be innovative renewable energy technologies (third-generation thin films and organic photovoltaics, etc.) that kids can play with and learn about. A station will be set up that will take kids through the design process and give them the tools they need to draw their ideas of an artwork for the city that can provide clean electricity. STEAM Prize flyers will be free to take away, providing all the information that kids and parents will need to be a part of it (opens on August 15).

LAGI Books and field guides will allow kids to look up more information about technologies and see additional examples of artwork proposals. Art+Energy Flash Cards will be available for kids to use and to take away.

Visitors will also get a sneak peek at the WindNest public artwork with desktop motel and prototype.



Polish Hill Arts Fest: Vendor preview #3


Here’s the next installment of the vendor previews!  Jason Bartlett returns with his evocative watercolor paintings.



The ladies of Siren Studio have an eclectic output, each with her own style.  Here’s Amanda Synpweic,

Amanda S. Fidgety Findings

Jamie Miller,

Jamie B Miller

… and Monica Cervone:

Rising Roots. M Cervone M

Guglielmo Botter lives in Italy, but has family ties in Pittsburgh and has been visiting here each summer, making pen and ink drawings of the city.  Learn more about Guglielmo and his work here.



Elizabeth Klaczak will bring her handmade soaps and bath products.



Candace Davis and Seth McBurney will have multi-media crafts, including planters, garments, and drawings.  They also collaborated to create the poster for this year’s festival!




Jordon Milchak of On the Skids, will have his t-shirts and designs. Check out more work here.





Trileodeon is the multi-media work of the very talented Niffer Desmond.  In her words, her work includes “awakening arts, learning toys, healing tools, inspiring apparel, eco conscious home decor”.  Learn more on her website, and see more of her work in her Etsy shop.




Jude Vachon will have reusable tote bags, envelope clutches,  bike streamers, fabric headbands, and more.



Sharing a table with Jude will be printmaker Jeffrey Krusl.  See more of Jeffrey’s work here, and learn about his art practice here.



Polish Hill Arts Fest: the music!


Just got final confirmations from bands, so without further ado, here’s the performance schedule!

12:15   Pandemic Pete
Pete Spynda plays a “hybrid of traditional folk music and contemporary dance music from around the world. Dj sets are borderless, combining cutting edge dance music from remote regions of the world with traditional folk music.”  Pete will be on hand all day to keep the music coming between band sets.  Click here to listen to Pandemic.

1:00  Urgent Notice
Elias Khouri is a 14 year old Polish Hill guitar whiz who has only been playing for a year and a half.  He’ll do a short set for his first public performance.  We think he’s pretty amazing — check it out!

2:00 Tilley Hawk
Tilley’s playing a short set of country music.  We don’t have a clip to share, but based on her other gig (she’s the singer for the punk band Zeitgeist), it’s sure to be awesome.


4:00 The Hills and the Rivers
They describe themselves as “Post-apocalyptic river folk. From the roots to the branches, the springs to the sea.”  Listen to some of their music here.


5:00   Timbeleza
A percussion group specializing in Brazilian rhythms, from the samba batucada of Rio’s famous Carnaval to the samba reggae and funk-infused Bahian music of the north coast.  Timbeleza has played at the festival every year since 2009, and they’re big neighborhood favorite.


6:00   Mathew Tembo and the Afro Routes Band
Mathew is from Zambia, now based in the Midwest, and his music fuses indigenous Zambian vibes with contemporary sounds.  Check out his website to listen.


7:00 May Day Marching Band
This Polish Hill-based group of musicians got its name from association with the Polish Hill May Day Parade.
Check out some of their music here.

may day marching band

8:00 PARTY!
A (mostly) Polish Hill based, female fronted cover band playing 70s and 80s hits, some pop, and some metal.  They’ve been a big hit at Oysterfest, Pumpkinfest in homestead, wrestling events, and lot of shows, so while they’re not the usual PHAF fare, we’re glad to have them here.  Maybe they will take requests.  Until recently PARTY! was known by another name; here’s some video.



Need info on how to get here and where to park?  Here it is: PHAF2015_gettinghereandparking


Next portion of the PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard roadwork starts on Saturday July 11




OTMA traffic advisory


 On Saturday July 11, a new portion of the PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard roadwork will begin, which will entail new lane closures and detours.  Here is the informational Traffic Advisory from Oakland Transit Management Association, which is the public contact for the project.

PennDOT District 11 is announcing a new traffic configuration will occur on Route 380 in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, will begin on Saturday night, July 11 weather permitting.

Beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, all traffic between North Craig Street and approximately Herron Avenue will be shifted into the eastbound lanes. A single-lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction of the eastbound lanes as crews conduct roadway reconstruction in the westbound lanes. This traffic configuration will be in place through late August. At that time, all traffic will be shifted into the newly constructed westbound lanes, so eastbound reconstruction can begin.

Additionally, on Saturday, July 11, a long-term single-lane closure will occur in both directions on the structure that carries Route 380 Baum Boulevard over the Neville Street ramp to the PAT busway in between Morewood Avenue and North Craig Street to continue structural steel work activities. This long-term restriction will be in effect through December.

This $12.24 million roadway reconstruction project of Route 380 (Baum Boulevard/Bigelow Boulevard), between Morewood Avenue and Herron Avenue, includes full depth reconstruction from the eastbound off-ramp of the Bloomfield Bridge to the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT Busway, reconstruction of the Baum Avenue bridge deck and milling and resurfacing of Baum Avenue from the bridge to Morewood Avenue. Additional work includes reconstruction of ADA curb cut ramps, traffic signal upgrades and pavement reconstruction at the Bloomfield Bridge. The overall project will conclude in August of 2016.

Motorists are advised to use caution, slow down and be prepared for changing traffic patterns when traveling through the area.  Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Visit www.otma-pgh.org  for more information or to sign-up to receive eAlerts (updates, news, ETC) about the project.

Polish Hill Arts Fest: vendor preview #2

Here are more of the 30+ vendors who will be at the arts festival!  First up is Small Press Pittsburgh, represented by writer and organizer Karen Lillis.  Karen will bring a wide selection of books from local authors.  Learn more about Small Press Pittsburgh.



Poison Apple Printshop is artist and printmaker Adrienne Rozzi, who creates original handmade art and fashion inspired by witchcraft, magick, and the occult. Check out her website to see more of her work.

Poison Apple Printshop Moon Patches

PA_Maydays Magic Circle Screenprint

PA_Midnight Spell Tshirt

Adam Waddell is a returning vendor whose distinctive ceramic and multi-media work is always a favorite.  See more of Adam’s work in his Etsy shop.



Darren Myers is a new vendor and a Polish Hill resident.  He’ll have his hardwood bowls, cutting boards, and some raw slab furniture made in collaboration with Ben Grubb.  Check out more of Darren’s work in his Etsy shop.DarrenMyers_1

Myers_Grubb_sycamore bench

Candle With a Cause products are custom designed for the non-profit organizations that are featured on each label. The holders are made of post-consumer glass and the candles are soy wax.

Line Sheet Final Copy

Reyghan Pierce is a young Polish Hill artist who’s been showing at the festival for four years.




Sharing a table with Reyghan will be Maeve Gannon, a painter and ceramicist.

Maeve_Clay and Fabric Doll


Maeve_Ceramic Work

Eryn Hughes of Apothecary Muse will bring her handcrafted small batch herbal soap, insect repellent spray, skin salves, natural deodorant.  See the full range of Eryn’s products in her Etsy shop.



That’s it for now — we’ll preview the rest of the artists and craftspeople next week!

Polish Hill Arts Fest vendor preview #1

We’ve got another great lineup of artists and craftspeople this year.  Some are returning vendors, and some are with us for the first time.  There’s some great work coming to the festival this year — here’s the first preview.

Kirsten Lowe-Rebel makes prints, pillows, and handcrafted jewelry with Pittsburgh themes.  You can see more of here work at her Etsy store, or her website.

Lowe_Rebel_Kitchen towel BLOG

LoweRebel_16th st bridge pillow BLOG

LoweRebel_batch of cuffs BLOG

Renee and Cathie of Animoon Workshop create one-of-a-kind jewelry, home décor, and collaged gifts from reclaimed and natural artifacts.  They have vended with us before, and it’s great to have them back this year.  See more of their work.

AnimoonWorkshop-bullet necklace



Owlet Organics is another return vendor.  Amanda Comeau makes adorable organic clothes and items for babies and kids.  Check out her website to see more.




Garick Tai-Lee and Charlie Alessi are Polish Hill residents who’ve shown at the festival for several years.  Their gorgeous ceramic work


Lee_Alessi_ShinoMagic Vase


Jared Ondovchik is also a Polish Hill resident and returning vendor.  He shared some information about these handcrafted knives: “The first picture is of a butcher’s knife hand forged from 3/16″ thick 1084.  It was finished with a mustard patina and a rosewood handle. The second knife was forged from an old file.  I drew the handle way out and wrapped it back into itself to give it an organic look.  I even forged a leaf on the end and framed it inside the handle.”



“The third picture is of a 8″ chef’s knife that I am really proud of.  It was forged from 1095 and has an ironwood handle with brass hardware.  The tang runs through the handle and is peened over the bottom piece of brass for a permanent seal.”

Stay tuned for more festival previews, including more artists and craft vendors, the musical acts, and the activities!

The Bigelow Boulevard roadwork is schedule to start tomorrow. Here’s the first traffic advisory.



OTMA traffic advisory

The PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard roadwork starts tomorrow, June 30.  Here is the full text of the first Traffic Advisory from Oakland Transit Management Association, which is the public contact for the project.

Route 380 Baum Boulevard/Bigelow Boulevard/Bloomfield Bridge Reconstruction Project begins Tuesday, June 30, 2015 in Pittsburgh.

PennDOT District 11 is announcing a $12.34 million improvement project on Route 380 (Bigelow Boulevard, Baum Boulevard, North Craig Street and the Bloomfield Bridge) in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, will begin on Tuesday, June 30 weather permitting.

Roadway reconstruction work will occur on Route 380 (Baum Boulevard/North Craig Street/Bigelow Boulevard) between Morewood Avenue and Herron Avenue in the City of Pittsburgh.  The project includes full depth reconstruction from the Bigelow Boulevard eastbound off-ramp to the Bloomfield Bridge to the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT Busway.  Additionally, reconstruction of the Baum Avenue bridge deck and milling and resurfacing of Baum Avenue from the bridge to Morewood Avenue will occur.  Other work includes reconstruction of ADA curb cut ramps, traffic signal upgrades and pavement reconstruction at the Bloomfield Bridge.

Beginning at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 the ramp from eastbound (outbound) Bigelow Boulevard to the Bloomfield Bridge will close to traffic for 44 consecutive days for roadway reconstruction.  Traffic will be detoured.  Posted detour:

— Motorists will continue eastbound on Bigelow Boulevard past the ramp

— Continue straight onto North Craig Street

— Turn left onto Baum Boulevard

— Follow Baum Boulevard to Liberty Avenue

— Turn left onto Liberty Avenue and follow to the Bloomfield Bridge

— End detour

Single-lane restrictions for structural steel work will begin at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30 on the Baum Avenue Bridge over the PAT busway.  Long-term single-lane closures on the bridge will be implemented at a later date.

Roadway reconstruction work will begin tentatively on July 8 on Bigelow Boulevard between North Craig Street and approximately Herron Avenue.  All traffic will be shifted into the eastbound lanes.  A single lane will be maintained in each direction in the eastbound lanes as crews begin work in the westbound lanes.  Reconstruction work will continue through late August.  Once the work is complete, all traffic will be shifted into the newly constructed westbound lanes so the eastbound reconstruction can begin.

Additional work in 2015 that is currently unscheduled includes:

Roadway reconstruction of North Craig Street between Bigelow Boulevard and the Baum Avenue Bridge.  A 91 day closure will be required.

Multiple weekend closure of Blessing Street for roadway reconstruction.

Reconstruction work on the Bloomfield Bridge ramps at Bigelow Boulevard.  Two separate long-term ramp closures will occur.

The project will conclude in August of 2016.  Work occurring next year includes the deck replacement of the Baum Boulevard Bridge and the milling and resurfacing of Baum Boulevard between the bridge and Morewood Avenue.

Motorists are advised to use caution, slow down and expect changing traffic patterns.  Work zone safety is everyone’s responsibility.

To access PennDOT Traffic Cameras in the corridor visit http://www.otma-pgh.org/resources/links.

Visit 511PA.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major roadways before heading out

The OTMA will have a project website which should go live soon.

Volunteers needed to help the City of Pittsburgh survey all 700+ city steps


The Department of City Planning is in the process of conducting its first ever comprehensive data collection on the city’s 700+ public steps.  The collected data will be used to assess conditions and prioritize the steps for maintenance and repairs.  Surveying the 700+ steps in 66 of the city’s 90 neighborhoods will be an extensive process.  To expedite this process, the Department of City Planning seeks volunteers from local neighborhoods to survey the condition of the steps and to provide city officials with valuable insight into the usage and condition of their local steps.  Volunteers will work in teams of 3, each an assigned task to ensure consistency of data.  Training and an instructional field guide will be provided to all volunteers.

Volunteer duties

— Dedicate a few hours on the date of the survey (TBA)

— Walk up and down several sets of steps

— Survey the state of the treads, rails, and structural supports

— Electronically record data using an Ipad

— Take photographs of the steps

— Inform the City Official of the usage and utility of the local steps

Interested in helping?  Fill out the Volunteer Form. See the Step Survey Flier and Field Guide for more information, or email Catherine.crevecoeur@pittsburghpa.gov.

This page also features a map with all the City steps.

(Photo of the Downing – Herron steps, from this site)

Public meeting on June 23 about PennDOT Bigelow Boulevard road project


On June 22, PENNDOT will begin a two-year infrastructure and maintenance work on Bigelow Boulevard and Baum Boulevard.

PENNDOT will be holding a public informationsal meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott at 5308 Liberty Ave (at Aiken). This is a public meeting for residents to learn about the scope of the project including its tentative timeline, detour routes, and regular working schedule. It will also provide an opportunity for residents from affected communities to ask questions and raise concerns.

This will be a lengthy project and even neighborhoods not containing the construction itself will be affected by detoured routes and increased traffic as drivers will be looking for ways to avoid the construction delays.

Supervisors of the project will be providing regular updates to District 7 Council office as well as being open to questions/concerns from the community throughout the project. Residents will have an opportunity to meet the supervisors and others associated with the project at the June 23 meeting.

For an overview of the project, read the Post-Gazette article here.

(Photo of Bigelow Boulevard by Bruce S. Cridlebaugh, from PghBridges)


City of Pittsburgh Community Budget Forum in Polish Hill on June 3


At the West Penn Recreation Center on Wednesday June 3 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. there will be a community forum to gather input for the City’s 2016 Capital Budget.  This budget includes funds for things such as infrastructure projects, and the forum is a chance for residents to advocate for projects that affect our neighborhood.  The session is open to all Pittsburgh residents will include:

— A brief overview of the budgeting process
— Small-group discussion of budget priorities and residents’ needs
— An opportunity for residents to ask questions of an expert panel
— A survey, where residents can add their ideas and opinions to the budgeting process
— Refreshments

The forum will be held in the Senior Center on the lower level of West Penn.  Residents who plan to attend should pre-register.  Email sally.stadelman@pittsburghpa.gov or call 412.255.4773.  Walk-in registration will also be available the day of the forum.

If you can’t make it on June 3 but want to participate, the next forum will be on June 22 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Southside Market House, 1 Bedford Square.