Although faded, the portable 20-year-old mural "Literacy Windows" still hangs in Braddock -- its third stop around town.
The mural, created in 1993, shows four hands holding books that depict the advantages and obstacles of learning to read. It was created by artists Carolyn Speranza and Lisa Link with the help of five student artists, Heba Ali, Hajara Bey, George Kanakis, Emily Lambert and Daniel Yauger, at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. Some of the students are depicted jumping toward the books in the foreground.
The idea of literacy came from Janine Stern of the Times Project Organization. She raised $40,000 and commissioned Ms. Speranza and Ms. Link, who had never worked together before.
The images they created were scanned into computers and put together using an early version of Photoshop.
Starting from the left, the first book shows the tools used to learn, such as books and computers. The second is covered in scrambled text, and words such as "embarrassed" and "confusion" are mixed in. The third is a child's alphabet book, and the fourth is a map of Pittsburgh with a staircase leading to space.
One of the first public artworks to be printed on vinyl, the mural was first located on the North Side at a Heinz facility and then moved to Goodwill in the South Side. It is now hung on a Trau & Loevner warehouse.