Artists looking for exhibit space, venues in need of exposure and individuals who want to know where art is now have a website courtesy of the Office of Public Art.
Described as a comprehensive "cultural concierge," Pittsburgh Art Places -- pittsburghartplaces.org -- is now on line with the most liberal interpretation of what constitutes art in a 13-county area. Theaters, bars that book live music, libraries, book stores, arts shops, museums, public sculpture, architecture, bridges, parks, landmarks and quirky streetscapes all qualify.
The Office of Public Art, with one foot in the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and the other in Pittsburgh city planning, announced the site last week in "a call for participation," said Renee Piechocki, director of the office.
Pittsburgh Art Places is free to all, with funding from the Colcom and Hillman Family foundations. It will be as inclusive and comprehensive as people make it.
"One thing people say over and over is that there's no single place to find everything that is going on in this town" in the arts, said Jeffrey Carpenter, artistic director at Bricolage Production Co., Downtown.
More than 200 entries are already listed. It's a do-it-yourself set-up. Representatives of art places can create a profile and description as well as add photos, videos and schedules. By the end of the year, the office will market the site to tourism organizations and hoteliers, Ms. Piechocki said.
The sweep of Pittsburgh Art Places comprises Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
"This site takes finding art to a new level," said Mitch Swain, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.
"People are looking for hidden gems that you might not find in a [typical] visitors' guide," said Cindy Tinsy Labrie, vice president of marketing for VisitPittsburgh.
In 2007, the Office of Public Art created the Pittsburgh Artist Registry for artists to get their profiles and portfolios before the public. The registry, which has a link on the new site, was only for artists but galleries began adding their own profiles, Ms. Piechocki said.
"That made us realize that [venues] had no place" to promote themselves, she said.
Among 201 entries, the site includes statues and murals, gallery spaces, concert venues, cultural institutions and landmarks such as the former Kaufmann's clock Downtown.
The list will include an archive of public art that has come and gone, including Toby Atticus Fraley's make-believe storefront, Fraley's Robot Repair on Sixth Street, Downtown, which was recently dismantled.
Each entry -- with the address in the upper left corner -- includes background stories about the works, the artists' biographies, photos of the work and videos.
Tony Tasset's 2006 installation "Magnolias for Pittsburgh" at Seventh Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown, is featured on the site with photos from the foundry. The entry that describes Susan Wagner's 1994 sculpture of the late Pirates' Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente links to a video of his 3,000th career hit three months before his death in 1972.
The site allows anyone to create virtual tours of their favorite art places.
Laura Zorch, educational programs assistant at the Office of Public Art, demonstrated how: "Say your wedding is on Saturday and you want people who are coming to see places in your neighborhood," she said, demonstrating how to create a profile, in this case "Laura's Fake Wedding," and to select sites in and around the wedding venue.
Historian and writer Charles Rosenblum has created a tour of selected architecture. Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald also have tours on the site.
Bricolage designed a pre-show tour for its audiences "as part of the package of coming to see our shows," said Tami Dixon, production artistic director for Bricolage.
Pittsburgh Art Places will help artists collaborate and stimulate the public to think, " 'Oh! Is that art?' " she said.
"It gives artists and small arts organizations who struggle with marketing dollars a way to get the message out beyond our regular audience every day."
Because of the site's potential for social networking and collaboration, it could spur economic development.
"It can be a development tool integrated into issues such as space for artists to work and perform," said David Pankratz, research and policy director for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. "It can attract investment under the heading of creative place-making."