Pittsburgh is not only a city of rivers and bridges, it's also a city of murals. There are 376 (excluding graffiti), according to PghMurals.com, a website that keeps track of the artwork that has popped up on walls and houses around town.
These works run the gamut from abstract to representational, political to whimsical. Some are based on famous paintings, others came from the artists' experience and imagination. Many were group projects by young people, intended to beautify hard-hit neighborhoods and give the participants a sense of ownership.
Fifty-six of the city's murals were supported by The Sprout Fund, which underwrote the projects from 2003 to 2010. The others came from a variety of groups and individuals.
"We built the website PghMurals.com in an attempt to share what we knew about Pittsburgh public art -- there's so much of it and there was no common map -- and to promote the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and advocate bicycling in the city," said one of the site's founders. He goes by the blogging pseudonym of Vannevar Bush, taken from an engineer who, in the 1940s, theorized the advent of the wired age.
"I ride my bike a lot," he continued, "and I pick a different place very day. I started seeing murals all around. My friend Shannon Grayson [also a pseudonym], a photographer, started riding with me and taking pictures. Our hope was that riders who wanted to plan a day trip could go find a mural."
The Post-Gazette sent six summer interns out to see a dozen murals and to learn what they could about the artists and their works.
The murals and their stories:
First Published August 17, 2013 4:00 AM