Art All Around

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It’s no longer just the 700 block of Whitney Avenue. Beginning last month, that block became the Whitney Avenue Art Gallery (WAAG), where blighted properties are being transformed into a temporary, outdoor art exhibit.
Ten abandoned houses on Whitney Avenue are the canvases. The theme is “Houses in Waiting.” Artists led workshops to come up with ideas for each house, which were then painted onto plywood that was cut out to board up the windows. The project was conceived by artist and Wilkinsburg resident Lazae LaSpina. Ernest Bey of Wilkinsburg’s MAD DADS, led the youth workshops, while Kate Joranson, an exhibiting artist at the Mattress Factory, led the adults.
The theme “Houses in Waiting” intends the board-up art to act as a placeholder while interest is generated for a wide spectrum of homebuyers to invest in the neighborhood and take advantage of Wilkinsburg’s property tax abatement program.
LaSpina would like to thank the Whitney Avenue Neighborhood Group for their tireless efforts in landscaping the formerly overgrown yards with generous donations from Soergel Orchards and Garden Center and Garden Dreams Urban Farm and Nursery. Funding came from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Wilkinsburg Weed and Seed Initiative, Wilkinsburg Municipal Authority and Wilkinsburg Commercial and Industrial Development Authority.
For more information on the project, visit waag.weebly.com

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