past exhibits

November 2022

Kemuel Benyehudah – Black Athena

For this piece, my work is interested in contesting exclusivity around whiteness in the Ancient Greek classics. Borrowing from the work of radical Greek scholars such as Padilla Peralta & Martin Bernal, my work offers a counter-narrative to the Grand Narrative that Ancient Greece was a homogenous white society. Black Athena responds to the erasure of Black people in the Western canon and art history. Black Athena moves Ancient Greece away from its mythical one-dimensional construction as a white monolithic society and closer towards a multiracial cosmopolitan version.  According to the empirical evidence the ancient Greeks did not conceive of themselves as white, nor did they operate within the invented racial logics that white supremacist have since the advent of colonialism in the 15th century. The Ancient Greek Philosopher Herodotus described Ethiopians as being the tallest, most beautiful people he had ever gazed upon.  Black Athena is a modern re-telling of the goddess Athena, with the radical intent of making exclusive histories accessible to everyone, especially people of color. My work has broad implications for our contemporary discourses related to Critical Race Theory, the virtues of Humanities Education, including inclusive citizenship in a rightward tilting world. 


My name is Kemuel. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and recently moved to Pittsburgh by way of Philadelphia. I am an interdisciplinary culture worker whose work moves across a number of disciplines. My interests intersect the arts, contemporary social issues, and visual activism. The conceptual underpinnings of my work and practice explores and is interested in the activation of ideas and space to bring forward a new, just, cosmopolitan world.

Some of my recent experiences in the arts include working with the Mütter Museum; working on the curatorial team for the Arthur Tress Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books; co-jurying Women of Visions, Progeny of Change exhibition; a recent fellowship with the Visual Arts Coalition for Equity; currently working with the Mattress Factory in the education department. Plus, writing about contemporary issues in the arts as an itinerant writer. The goal of my practice is to invite critical reflection, civic discourse, and problematizing regarding the role of art and visual culture in society.

My virtuoso collaborator Venus Sol is a first generation Cameroonian-American raised in both Braddock, PA and Brooklyn, NY. The Pittsburgh native wears many hats including but not limited to: modeling, singing-songwriting, poetry, acting, and entrepreneurship. Venus understands that art is one of the most influential forces in our society and loves to find new ways to utilize a wide range of mediums to reach and inspire others.


Thank you to the following supporters and accomplices, Venus Sol, Sandra Baachi, Premiere Images, Bianca Black, Radiant Hall and StudioMe. Lastly, thank you to Brick for her generous support and help in executing this project.

August 2022

Zeal Eva – Of Bees and Butterflies

I am a visual storyteller who celebrates the Black experience through artworks that bring to life a nostalgic feeling of home. Through photography, painting, illustration, and sculpture, I explore the intersections of the natural world and the built environment to highlight shared Black experiences and document the present. My process is deeply impacted by my surroundings including the individuals in the community and the places I work. My creative practice often includes organic forms such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, as well as interior spaces which reveal themes of growth, comfort, and discovery. Traces of my hand are seen in my painterly brushstrokes and warm toned portrait staging to uplift the sentimental.



June 2022

LeFawn Barefoot – Miss Ruth Says

“she says this to me when we’re fighting for our freedom and the people are screaming in the streets. she says this to me when my littlest child went to the ancestors before me and i don’t think i can make it. she says it when she has her own tears but she makes space for mine. today i say to miss ruth: LIFE IS LONG AND WE ARE GOING TO WIN!!!”


LeFawn Barefoot is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from the Plateau of the Appalachians. Her current body of work is centered around ancestor veneration, snake medicine, mindfulness, and release.


LeFawn’s artwork can be found on IG


Photo by Kitoko Chargois for the Pittsburgh Foundation.













September – October 2021

Julie Mallis – Inner Workings 2.0

“Inner Workings 2.0” is a new digital print by artist Julie Mallis. This print is intentionally oversaturated, presenting a full color digital assemblage of 3D sculptures and drawings. Inner workings 2.0 is part of a larger exploration of digital works illustrating physical and spiritual bodily functions – hard at work, processing experiences and receiving signal.  It is a creative display of humanesque forms, rods and shapes.

Julie Mallis is the Executive Director of social justice based service organization, Repair The World Pittsburgh. They are a 40 Under 40 award winner in 2020 by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP.

They have been organizing youth programs and creative endeavors for the past 13 years in Pittsburgh. Mallis is a multimedia artist, VJ, DJ and educator working with digital media, paint, installation, performance, sound and audience interaction. Their work focuses on building community, audio-visual experiences, speaking truth, and imagining new landscapes.

Mallis has exhibited, performed and curated work across the United States including at The Andy Warhol Museum, The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Coaxial Arts Foundation, PhilaMOCA, MOCA Cleveland, Baby’s All Right, The Silent Barn, Fringe Arts and more. Mallis has a joint degree in Studio Art with a concentration in Electronic Time-Based Media and in Cultural Anthropology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mallis was the Creative Director of art gallery and creative hub BOOM Concepts, a space prioritizing the advancements of artists and entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds. Within that role, they helped develop and carry out monthly artist exhibitions and regular programming onsite and off-site from 2014-2018.

Mallis was recognized as Creator of the Year by the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 2016, alongside longtime collaborator DS Kinsel under their #MagicOrgans moniker. In 2018, Mallis was commissioned to paint a 1000+ feet mural on the ground of Strawberry Way in Downtown Pittsburgh. It features colorful imagery interlaced within an interactive game asking bold questions about equity and justice to the audience.

In addition to their work as an artist, they have built up and led the Positive Spin youth cycling program over the last decade, leading to the development of the Positive Spin Toolkit. Across two different organizations in Pittsburgh (Bike Pittsburgh and MGR Youth Empowerment) they worked tirelessly with Pittsburgh public schools and area charter schools to ensure students in grades 4-12 had enriching and engaging after school and summer activities related to bike safety. Engaging with all people about bike safety became central to their work for many years, resulting in them organizing and hosting Bike Pittsburgh’s 6th annual women and non-binary biking forum. This forum sought to add elements of solidarity, community, and understanding amongst women and non-binary people through the lens of biking and transportation accessibility.

These same themes of community, mentorship, solidarity, personal enrichment, and accessibility run through all endeavors Mallis is involved with. Whether at work or in the artist’s studio, their vision is constantly aimed towards how to better the future for themselves and other people, one day at a time.

Follow them at @JulieMallisArt or visit


July – August 2021

Quaishawn Whitlock – Buffering

BoomxQuaishawnI am an interdisciplinary Artist. My work is about the discovery and/or identity, representation, and struggle of Blackness. Blackness meaning the physical, mental and emotional identity of the black body. Investigation past, present, and the trends of the future.

The main practice of my work deal within the realm of Printmaking; screen printing, intaglio, and relief. Printmaking for me serves as language for research and discovery; as the practice is so rich with process that it lends itself perfectly to experimentation, but also even more so into the accessibility of the experience. Both in the sense of the personal opinion/ takeaway for the work but also in terms what is happening to reach the outcome idealized on the gallery wall.


Screen printed Mixed Media Collage Chine-Collé
Cold Press Bright White Cougar Paper
16”x 20” (actual size)

May – June 2021

atiya jones – Snake Prayer (Domino)


Snake Prayer (Domino) further explores an isolated line aesthetic I’ve shifted towards during the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes the use of symbolism. Following its completion, the image read to me as a tarot card might, and I invite viewers to adopt a similar viewing approach, if accessible. Personally, I found myself wrapped in thoughts connected to mysticism, prayers for social transformation and prison abolishment; to know what protection really feels like… all laced with memories of our grand Auntie Erykah under a Pisces moon, soothing a sea of us with “Orange Moon.” If I zoom out a little further, I am a young girl listening to the swirl of dominoes atop a table, alongside my older sister Tobie. It’s late to be outside, but I’m allowed. I’m with her. A game about fractions and forming small connections- Each circle, a dedication to feeling/becoming/being Whole. It makes my mind wander, and actually brings a little peace.

When I remove my personal associations and beliefs about the imagery, it is at its core two sets of thirteen wavy lines decorated with circles, an orange circle and an independent horizontal line. May it be a prayer for keeping our storytellers earthbound + present.

We are all storytellers.

atiya jones is an autodidact creator of abstract organic accumulations. Her work serves as an abstracted representation of human migration, and more specifically the modern diaspora known as gentrification. Her work occupies the realm of mixed media, and incorporates ink-drawings, photography, collage, graphic design, and fiber.

When considering the Afro-American experience within our country, one must see that communities of color have most often been moved by force, for capital gain. Having personally witnessed the socio-economic/demographic shift of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and now, Pittsburgh, the artist questions how populations reconnect, rebuild and are reflected within their communities. By creating art, Jones creates value. As a woman of color, this is an act of defiance, empowerment and visibility.

Her work is about human connection. It is a visual depiction of healing, finding one’s tribe and building a life as a unit. It is about the magic permeating beneath the surface of self, and the search to find it.

It is soft, tense, mobile and still.

The Flatbush (Brooklyn), NY native is currently navigating life in Pittsburgh, PA.

March – April 2021

Danielle Robinson – Winter Solstice


Danielle Robinson has been an artist since the age of five. Drawing, painting and sculpting her way to Rodgers Middle School, CAPA High School (where she added photography to her creative endeavors), Columbus College of Art and Design (1year) and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (1 year). Danielle has worked with a variety of artists and musicians in the Pittsburgh area, and continues to grow her body of work.

“I hope with my art I can just encourage conversation. I paint black women and animals as I see them, integrated into the fabric of my life, as fantastic goddesses, beasts and super heroes. This is the way I see us. We are more than a shade of brown. The way I express myself on paper is a thoughtless process, I just create. I do love to combine some of my favorite styles of art to create something different and new. I combine graffiti-style, art-deco and African art as starting points in most of my work.”

January – February 2021

Rio Acuna Castillo – Stay Homo, Stay Home


During a year when people are struggling between looming quarantine apathy and ever-shifting speeds of panic, I wanted to make a piece about that space and what can coexist there. There will be room for grief and sorrow; for loss and possibilities; for connection and solitude; for joy and restriction. I think of queer grief and memory. How our bodies know the sweetness that is possible and the rough parts that are inevitable during global trauma. It’s weird to have to embrace the space in between, but I think that’s only because we are forced to see ourselves without distraction – in all our in-betweens. We’re forced to see what our queer love becomes when it is not something on display or on the dance floor; when even in solitude, it is surprisingly still magical.

To me, queerness means an unbecoming of all the world tells us we need to be, in order to get closer to who we truly are. To me, in order to get through this pandemic we need to let go of the life we’ve planned, so we can have the life that is waiting for us. But that’s hard to remember, so instead I tell myself the same story this year: That the sunlight that sustains our earth also comes from a distance. That in this solitude, there is space to release and pull close. That we get to be something that the world doesn’t watch. That we get to dream beyond these queer bodies or these screens. That we can stay home, and stay homo… even if our bodies are scared to figure out what that means.

Rio Acuna Castillo (they/them) is a Peruvian cultural worker in Pittsburgh, creating art as an organizing/accessibility tool to help people imagine what change can look and feel like. For many years, they organized with Spanish-speaking immigrants, providing urgent support and resources — especially to families targeted by ICE. Currently, Rio is the Communications Specialist for the Alliance for Police Accountability, works for Sisters PGH, and Pgh United. 

November – December 2020

James “Yaya” Hough – Untitled (LOOK!) from the Quiet Apartheid series


UNTITLED (LOOK!) is about the internal & external state of black bodies in this moment of social crisis & social change.  The simultaneous experience of trauma & empowerment energies within our bodies as we struggle against white supremacy.

James “Yaya” Hough is a contemporary artist & muralist. His art  making centers on issues of race, mass incarceration, & US history. James “Yaya” Hough spent 27 years in prison under a mandatory life sentence. During his incarceration, James continued to hone his craft and create art pieces that expressed his time and experiences in the justice system.  After his release in 2019, James is dedicated to using his voice and his art in the struggle for prison reform in Pennsylvania. He is currently the 1st artist-in-residence with the City of Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s Office and has work on display at MOMA PS1 for the Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration exhibition.

“I believe that great artists should strive to be agents of social change.We are not only society’s eyes, but also it’s conscience.”

– James Yaya Hough

September – October 2020

Miles E Saal – Yung Mulatto

Miles E. Saal was an artist and classically trained musician. After relocating to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2013, Miles quickly established himself as a significant contributor to the growing local Hip Hop community. Under his pen name, Yung Mulatto, he used his talents as a visual artist to create zines, record covers and other music-related marketing materials in support of the growing, local Hip Hop community. As a beat producer, he added to the Pittsburgh
collective scene by working with many musicians to help them shape their unique sounds. He stressed the need to work together to uplift the varied talents that Pittsburgh had to offer, earning in music and artistic circles the unofficial title of “Creative Director of the Local Hip Hop scene.”
Miles’ impact on the Pittsburgh Hip Hop scene was profound. In a December 8, 2017, post on the In the Rough online magazine, Ian Welch said, “Miles made the youth and creative scenes in the city tighter by connecting people with different people. He saw something in ourselves and brought it out of all of us to make the scene great.”
Miles also suffered from depression and unfortunately lost his battle with the disease on November 30, 2017, at the age of 21 years. #StillSaaling: The Miles E. Saal Memorial Fund was created in Miles’ memory to continue his work of supporting young and upcoming artists many of whom, like him are in need of mental health services. The fund’s mission is to support non-profit organizations and projects that focus on the arts community in efforts of outreach, education and treatment of mental illness as well as highlighting their creative productivity, especially among African Americans artists.

July – August 2020

Takara Canty – Oshun

“Completing a compelling fresh, piece of artwork is the only thing that satisfies this thirst to create. Unapologetically not caring if it is beautiful, but allowing an outpour of emotion in color and substance to create an existence of a story that first was cultivated through my mind.” Takara Canty

Thirty-five yr. old classically trained visual artist Takara Canty grew up in Garfield Heights in Pittsburgh PA. Her talent grew from watching her mom paint pictures in watercolor and acrylic, and quickly evolved to an appreciation of color, textures and forms. Inspired by prominent artists like Frida Kahlo, she decided to chase her dream as an artist.
Takara initially went to college to get a bachelor in studio art, but had a hard time working in a main stream studio art class environment. Dropping out shy a couple credits of a degree, Takara started to teach at risk kids art by providing them with non-traditional art projects in art class. Teaching them to
tap into their inner potential and to express themselves and emotions comfortably through their
She has been a professional teaching artist for over ten years teaching at risk youth k-12 grade, curated adult painting classes, painted murals, and installed mosaic pieces on buildings. Takara has had the chance to work with nationally renowned artists like George Gist, Therman Statman and James Simon, and partnered with Archo construction to complete and display installations. She has also done a host of live painting events and art shows curated through “Boom gallery”.
Even though Takara is a full-time master teaching artist, she still finds time to paint, tattoo, weld, sculpt,
sew, draw and create memorable pieces that invoke feelings and appreciation for art.

May – June 2020

Jameelah Platt – We Bloom in September


“We Bloom in September” is about the gathering of people, love, and the togetherness of a community. It is also about the way in which we rely on our memory to translate those nostalgic moments in time. Told through gestural, figurative painting, mark-making and vibrant colors, memory is reflected by Platt through dichotomies of being bright, muted, fragmented, well-defined, everlasting and fleeting. Within this work, color, the human figure and representation of transparency should be perceived as a mirror; to help navigate through the familiarity of the narrative and reflection of memory.
Jameelah Platt is a Pittsburgh native, and has attended the University of Art in Philadelphia PA. Some of her artist influences include Kerry James Marshal, Vanessa German and Kara Walker. These artists have a history of creating works that are figurative as well as narrative based. As an artist who constructs narratives, Jameelah often considers her works to be projected as a book, creating visual narratives for the audience to decode. She often experiments with color and texture as it relates to the current content with which she has chosen to work. Working with themes of nostalgia, intimacy, comfort, community and fear, Platt creates a language that is reflective, reminding the audience to investigate these themes introspectively.

Instagram: Mimi_zaza


February – March 2020

Sakony Burton – Nothing Lost to Father Time


Sakony Burton is a Pittsburgh-based graphic designer. Born and raised there, he attended Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School from middle to high school. Towards the end of his time there he would discover his love for graphics and photography, combining the two to create his brand which is now known as Désir.

Sakony has been designing cover art and fliers for
many of Pittsburgh’s local acts while still maintaining his own personal projects from design to music production. Using all experiences past and present as his muse.




January 2019

#notwhite collective – Manifesto Project II


Internationality is NOT being an other, it is being part of THE WORLD.
The bridge to understanding internationality IS TO EMBODY our humanity.
How will YOU become?
How will YOU build your muscles of empathy?
What will YOU dream?

November 2019

Carolina Loyola-Garcia (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

#notwhite11.jpgIt will come a time when notions of race will be obsolete. All human beings will be a mix of some sort, and the idea of any “pure” race will be a remnant of an ancient and dark time belonging in history books.

It will come a time when gender will be fluid and individuals will be perceived and valued based on their contributions to their communities, their ability to bring peace and well-being to their lives and the ones of those around them.

It will come a time when multilingualism and multiculturalism will be the accepted norm. Monolingualism will be something of the past, a sort of cute chapter on history books describing that time when humanity was so young and unlearned.

I work every day to get myself and my communities a bit closer to this undeniable future.

October 2019

Maritza Mosquera (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

#notwhite10Manifesto, Oh

to manifest
to make, create, and be.
To learn and unlearn it,
to man and un-man it,
to fest it?
to festival it?
To create and un-create it,
to think, be and do it.
To make it happen,
to realize that it’s already made.
you made it
you create it
you acknowledge it
you and a hundred billion cells each day
manifest it.
UnFest it
UnMan it
UnMake it
Woman it Woman!
festival it and create it
the future –
It is ours.

September 2019

Alison Zapata (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

Our dreams moving towards reality.  Our reality moving towards our dreams.  I dream of a world where the children I teach are born with access to opportunities and high quality education across the board regardless of where they are from, where they live, or the color of their skin.  I dream of a world where all people have access to amazing health care and do not need to suffer because they cannot afford to stay healthy. I dream of a world there is balanced distribution of wealth so those who labor endlessly do not need to do so in vain to make ends meet as the goal posts keep moving further and further out of reach.  I dream of a humane system that lifts people up so they can dream and their children can dream and dreams stop becoming dreams and move into reality.

August 2019

VERONICA CORPUZ (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

#notwhite08I dream of a time and a place
Where we may ALL feel safe enough to dream.
To feel secure and safe enough to sleep deeply
relax and breathe deeply
to trust the very surface upon which we lay
to dream freely
a true freedom
unfettered from fear
Where the default is not despair.
Where the default is not despondence
Where the default is not degradation
Instead of Internationality—
borders and passports
privilege of passing
free as a bird
I seek Intentionality
To be, to speak, to interact
with purpose
with clarity
but above all with love
Can you unburden yourself
of needing to be supreme?
Can you lay down all your judgements?
Can you look into the eyes of history?
Can you lay bare the naked truth and still breathe?

July 2019

Sara Tang (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

#notwhite07I dream of a world
where borders are really bridges to celebrate connection,
where different colors remind us of how we need all hues for a full vision of life,
I don’t dream of sameness and uniformity – I dream of Encounter, of Relationship.
I dream of celebrating diversity, flavor, and the never-ending wonder that comes from encountering a new friend with a different story.
That is what I think of when I dream of “inter-national”.
I think of how we are interconnected.  I think of how we belong to one another.
I think of how seeing a map of this world can be a vision of solidarity.  All those languages, all those ways of living and loving, all of our stories weaving in and out together in the great flow of where we’ve come from, where we are now, and we can dream to go together.

June 2019

Sarika Goulatia (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

#notwhite06.jpg“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes” Paul Lawrence Dunbar
I dream of a day when my borders don’t define me; but I define my borders as I navigate through them. I dream of being free of labels, where I am no longer defined by the color of my skin, the language I speak or the religion I chose to follow or not follow.International for me means existing freely in and out of nationalities, walking in and out of continents adapting to the lifestyle of different people, accepting and embracing those differences.International is when I spend less time cautiously positioning my words, my gestures, my clothes, my food, my surroundings so that I fit in and don’t appear threatening, unusual or unappreciative. When I can express myself freely – openly and uncontrollably raging about everything changing and nothing changing…Micro aggression and institutionalized racism often makes me angry with myself for feigning obliviousness, hiding my accomplishments, appeasing incongruities. The day I stop being the perfunctory minority who brings pleasant diversity to a white workplace, I will think of myself as international.

May 2019

Fran Ledonio Flaherty (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II

International means that when I serve my children cheeseburgers and potstickers for dinner I won’t have to explain to them that American cheese isn’t really American, it was first called yellow cheese… though it isn’t really cheese anymore for that matter. International means I won’t have to explain to them that Potstickers is a made up word by an absent minded chef and are also called dumplings, pirogis, wontons, knish, matzo balls, Gnocchi, and kerplach. General Tso was not a real general nor was he Chinese but there must be a general somewhere name cho and the chicken was not named after him. and though pancakes are international, the house that it resides in isn’t.Manila envelopes are no longer made from Manila hemp or abaca and the boondocks are really pronounced bundokThat I was 16 when I first learned that FLIP didn’t really mean to turn or to move in a small quick motion but it was an acronym for funny little island people. Now Back to burgers with French fries which are not really French. And my kids say Mom you know McDonald’s tastes the same anywhere in the world. They’re wrong. The McDonald’s in Fan Ling town center in the new territories, Hong Kong has better coffee than any other McDonald’s in the world.

April 2019

Amber aka Dr. HollyHood (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II


fruit punch. thats what I AM.
NOBODY KNOWS whats in there but everybody likes me.
a little bit of THIS. a little bit of THAT.
so drink up. BUT drink responsibly.
I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE from an island youve seen on the travel channel.
i look like i speak LANGUAGES.
i have that GOOD HAIR. but my name is NOT BECKY.
and these baby curls are NOT MEANT FOR the hands of STRANGERS.
i am not INTERnational. my body, my skin, is where i exist for the time being.
check a box. fill a bubble. FOR WHAT?
I DONT FIT IN boxes and I CANT BREATHE in bubbles.
why DO WE CARE if the toast is french when WE REALLY NEED TO KNOW WHY there is HFCS in my aunt jemima. does she even know shes poisoning people?
why DO WE CARE if you are this or they are that when WE REALLY NEED TO CARE about each other?
why DO YOU CARE what I AM when all YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW is that I AM THE FUTURE? the people that are my color are going to save the world.
its gonna be a party and THERE WILL BE FRUIT PUNCH.

March 2019

Geña (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II


I dream of a time when I can go to any part of the United States and feel comfortable. That when I speak, my accent doesn’t startle, nor confuse, nor intimidate anyone. That being in any part of this country resembles the feelings that I get in too few cities where diversity is the norm. I dream of a time when I can feel that I matter, and yet am invisible. That I do not stand out because of my race or ethnicity, but because of who I am.





February 2019

Christiane Dolores (#notwhite collective) – Manifesto Project II


Recipe for a future James Bond movie. I walk in the footsteps of the King and dream of HUMANITY that sees itself as Human, first. The eradication of Systems of Power and Privilege based on conquering for resources and delusional ideologies. Where Religion is a personal relationship with whatever God and not a rallying Cry for Blood and Sublimation. All PEOPLES can move to and fro without fear or punishment, on this blue ball in space. All imaginary borders are erased and new maps made. Passports will become relics kept in a cigar box in an attic for a random someone to “discover”. Culture, Language, Gender are FREE to make new rivers, for one can be whom one is without the batting of eyelashes, the batting of flesh. When I/We can enter a room without feeling the energy shift, the eyes glare, the teeth sucked on, the bodies tightening, the practiced smiles; without being treated as an Other and instead greeted as a Somebody.

Christiane Dolores

January 2019

#notwhite collective – Manifesto Project II

In 2018, the #notwhite collective was an awardee of the Keyword: International Research Grant, a project of the Carnegie International and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST). As part of this project, the collective developed its first Manifesto, which was presented as a performance during the symposium held in October 2018 at the KST, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


In 2019 our year-long residency with the Sidewall Project will expand on the ideas generated as a result of our discussions, research, and sharing during the Manifesto Project. The series of the twelve images will use the collective’s portraits and excerpts from each of their respective manifestos to further our creative vision of inclusion and representation of all of us in-betweeners.


The #notwhite collective is a group of 13 women artists elevating the stories of each other. Those many of us who do not fit neatly in the consensus boxes, neatly in cultural categories.


WE are bi/multi-racial/cultural, immigrant or descendants of immigrants. We have come together, to question, to investigate, dig deep into what identity is within and without the construct and context of white—not in skin color, but as a system of oppression, a system we do not align ourselves with. Happening in our society is police brutality, gun violence, calls for bans, for walls, we hope to provide an artistic platform for difficult discussions on the complexities of cultural identity in the U.S.A. to move us towards humanity. We are the global majority.

December 2018

Kevin Caplicki – Winter in America
Winter is a metaphor for the times in which we are traveling. Inspired by Chris Stain and Josh MacPhee’s interpretation of Gil Scott-Heron’s album which bears this title, I used a burning barrel which is evocative of some of the social themes Scott-Heron tackles. Economic hard times today are similar to those of the 1970’s, when “Winter in America” was written and recorded. Their impacts are made invisible in most landscapes. The fires lit in burning barrels symbolize the perseverance and mutual aid of the downtrodden.

Kevin Caplicki is a Brooklyn-based artist born and raised in the Hudson Valley of New York. He is a printmaker, forager, saladmonger auto-didact with the help of friends. Preferring to work in social and collaborative environments he is a founding member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, Visual Resistance collective, NYC Ghost Bike Project, Miss Rockaway Armada, and Interference Archive.


November 2018

Jim Kidd – Balance
November1-JimKiddOne of the most important things in life is balance.

September 2018

Nathan Mould – the sacred of circling the square

September_NathanMould.jpgas always, beauty in imperfection
the constant struggle for perceived perfection
verses the natural perfection in imperfection
this is the ebb and flow between the underlying pattern, geometry, and order
verses the true chaos, anarchy, and disorder that compounds all
“the sacred of circling the square”
this piece would not be possible without the:
mount meru
seed, flower, fruit, and the bee between

August 2018

Pete Railand – Keep Families Together

August-PeteRailandThis image was created for an art build in Milwaukee with Voces De La Frontera,  Wisconsin’s amazing immigrant rights group. Voces put out a call that they needed an image with the words “Keep Families Together” on it (this was before the national news hit of kids taken from families in Texas).  A few months prior to that call from Voces I saw a photograph of a mother holding her child at a demonstration taken by Milwaukee photographer Joe Brusky. I contacted Joe to ask if I might adapt the image for a graphic, he agreed and approved of a rough draft of the image.  After carving the image out of linoleum it was eventually turned into a screenprint and thousands of prints were made for Voces to distribute throughout Waukesha County (a suburb of Milwaukee) drawing attention to Waukesha Sheriff Eric Severson’s decision to enroll the county in the federal 287G program.  287G authorizes the county to partner with the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The program is part of a broader crackdown on immigration that President Donald Trump has been focusing on throughout his presidency. Individuals do not have to be charged with serious crimes to be booked into a county jail, when detained they can be handed over to ICE agents;  the program has increased incidents of racial profiling in other communities that have signed on. This program ultimately paves the way for more families to be separated.

When creating images for use in movements I try to make work that strikes a universal, empathetic chord with the viewer, no matter their political persuasion. I like to think that this image attains that.

Pete Railand: printmaker, educator, bike rider, self-taught musician and stay at home dad.  Born in Milwaukee WI; raised in the north woods of Wisconsin in a town with one stoplight he has traversed the US too many times, living and working in Milwaukee WI, Albuquerque NM, New York, Red Wing MN, Oakland CA, Santa Fe NM, Minneapolis MN, Portland OR. He returned to Milwaukee after a 16 year absence, and wonders when he will leave. Currently plays music with slow speed doomers: The Old Northwest and Milwaukee’s most mysterious: Gnarrenschiff.  Pete is a founding member of the Justseeds Artist Cooperative.

July 2018

Heidi Tucker – Love is Love (Lyrics by Daniel Higgs)

July-TuckerThere is too much fear, too much hate in our world. It seems to get scarier and scarier these days. The collective anxiety can be overwhelming. These words hopefully lift someone’s head, give them some strength and remind them of who and what and why they love, that it’s everything, that’s it simple, that it’s complicated, that it’s hard, that it’s fluid. I’ve always appreciated the strong and simple repetition and sentiment of this song, and when I write it out it becomes this soothing mantra that plays over and over in my head. The author, Daniel Higgs is a musician from Baltimore that has been playing music for decades and has been an influential force in my life.

I’ve lived in Pittsburgh since 2007. I feed people, make things, spend a lot of time on the river with my family, and help build loving communities. While I was making this piece, I thought a lot about all the immigrating people in the detention centers and the children being separated, the families being accosted by ICE, about Antwon Rose and about all the strong and diligent people who are fighting back and protesting on behalf of all of these victims of hate and fear. Much love and empathy to them all!

June 2018

Cara Erskine – Breakfast of Champions, 1975

June-CaraErskine“Wheaties used to have a folded poster on the front of their cereal boxes. I still have one of Michael Jordan. As a child, I imagined myself on the cover someday. I made this collage in response to not really liking gymnastics or Mary Lou Retton. As an adult, I thought back to these childhood ‘hater’ feelings and realized that it was an egregious omission that tennis champion Billie Jean King was never on a Wheaties box, and so I plastered her over Mary Lou, as a protest. I wanted a lesbian, a dyke on this box, not a conservative talking head.”

~ Cara Erskine

“Athletes and sports advocates who have refused to be constrained by societal expectations of gender are celebrated by Cara Erskine. Whether admonished by the public for “unladylike” behavior, snubbed by sponsors, or forced to take humiliating sex verification tests (resulting, even, in the erasure of their world records), these gender outlaws and heroes have inspired, authored, and embodied Title IX, which ensures equal access to sports for millions of girls and women in the United States.”

~ Astria Suparak, curator of exhibition Power Forward, on view from May 23 – July 1, 2018, VisArts Center, Rockville, MD

To see more of Erskine’s work, visit her site

May 2018

Tommy Budjanec – Mobile Phone Wallpaper


Geometric shapes, vivid colorways, hand drawn lines, and half tones have always spoken to me. This piece is a collection/assemblage of all of these elements. I think of these as being flag designs that I would submit if I was summoned to design a flag. What these three flags represent to me is what a lot of things in my world looked like when I was a child in the 80’s.

I grew up in a rundown old steel town up the river from Pittsburgh named Ambridge. It was there that I started skateboarding in middle school. Like countless other skaters I, too, was exposed to new forms of creativity and graphic design that spoke to me. I attribute much of my design sensibility to skateboard graphics and the artists within the skateboard industry.

In high school I applied to the Savanah College of Art and Design, was accepted and moved to Savannah after graduating. After moving to Savannah I didn’t enroll in school. Instead, I skated more than ever and took trips to California.

Eventually, I moved to San Diego and a year later realized my teenage dream by becoming a professional skateboarder. During my time in the industry I helped start two skateboard companies and helped with the creative direction for both.

In 2002, I decided to move back to the east coast and landed in Pittsburgh. Along the way, I got back into making art and learned how to screen print art Artists Image Resources. I met a lot of really great individuals during my time working at AIR as an intern that would influence my work. Street art was a big part of my early years in screen printing and it helped me get invited to be a part of many art shows, too.

I no longer have an up to date CV, but to name a few that I was in, “Home Away” (group show) in 2007 at Space in Pittsburgh, “After Party”(group show) in 2007 at Space 1026 in Philadelphia, “Gestures”(group show) in 2008 at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, and “Totally Maybe” (solo show) in 2008 at 707 Gallery in Pittsburgh.

April 2018

Anna Brewer – In The Jungle


The work I make draws from a desire to create a visual crowd of corporeal creatures of human and non human characters that share in the chaos and calm of the world I’ve placed them. I revel in the energy that is present in a shared experience like that of a party, funeral, procession or march. The host? Well the host of these machinations is the Benevolent Dictator, my trusted companion who came into being when I was 20 years old.

The Benevolent Dictator is a caricature of power, authority and civilization, who both mocks and comforts us. It is the embodiment of what we loath and so desperately desire, a leader, a guide, someone to tell us what to do and tell us it’s going to be alright. From the personal to the familial to the government, distribution of power is something that’s always fascinated me. Often we willingly let people and ideas dictate us without really understanding why or to what end.

In my work, I strive to surprise and challenge my audience with provocative nonlinear portraits of my characters that are whimsical and colorful but also subliminally dark and hazy.

My larger paintings on average take a year to complete because each painting is a series of layers that are born of long sessions of observation and contemplation. I never know what the end result will be, I let short stints of intuitive painting inform and guide my way.

“In the Jungle” is a dual portrait of the Benevolent Dictator in the chaotic and vibrant regrowth of spring. Lately my characters have ended up facing themselves or some version of themselves within the piece, creating a tense and personal moment.  When you look closely you can see the remnants of previous layers peaking out in different spots to reveal notes about how the final image came to be. The piece was done using acrylic, oil and spray paint over the course of a couple years.

In summary, my work is about the amorphous qualities of power, the masquerade of the mind and body, the limitless eccentricities of human nature and the struggle to negotiate power and freedom in America.

ANNA W. BREWER, (b. 1988, State College, PA)


1013 Grand Avenue,

Pittsburgh, PA 15212

March 2018

Gerardo Garduño – End of the Road


Born in Mexico City, Gerardo moved to the U.S. in 2013. A resident of Pittsburgh, PA since January 2017, Gerardo has been very proactive in exhibiting his works in galleries and art spaces throughout Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, as well as The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA.
A self-taught artist, Gerardo’s primary media are graphite, pen & ink, acrylic paint, and watercolor on paper. With these tools he crafts kaleidoscopic vignettes coupling the repetition of geometric shapes and patterns with surreal, kaleidoscopic visuals. Out of the stark polygons and their regular dimensions spring forth anatomical depictions of insects and birds, bones and remains among fruits and fungi; interspersed with more sacred geometries and jutting architectural marvels and even entire civilizations! Garduño’s provides portals to alternate dimensions, allowing the viewer unexpected little peeks into everyday slices of life – his naturalistic style mixing a dreamlike whimsy with an ephemeral melancholy. An air of familiarity manifests in the calm chaos of Garduño’s neatly organized visual language.

Garduño, on his inspirations:
“I explore compositions found in all different levels of traditional Mexican iconography to discover new meanings that resonate with living in a contemporary context. Color and line structures hence become very important as they make ordinary objects mixed with intricate geometric patterns in surreal scenes into a symbolic language that is uniquely of today. This type of visual experimentation allows me to explore the complex relationship between human perception and nonexistent worlds, to potentially carve out a new critical view without leaving history behind. I am inspired by artistic practices that include figures such as contemporary German artist Tobias Rehberger, Italian renaissance figure Hieronymus Bosch and even the mathematically driven M.C. Escher.”

February 2018

Josh MacPhee – Amilcar Cabral


This poster is a portrait of African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral. Cabral was the leader of the PAIGC, the liberation movement of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Much of Cabral’s writing and speeches have been collected and published in English and are still available. Unlike many of his contemporaries who feel dated, his ideas still resonate deeply, especially his writing on culture and politics. He was murdered by the Portuguese secret police before he could see the liberation of his country.

Each layered pattern in the print is cut from the inside of a business envelope. As a kid I worked in a junk mail factory, one of the most tedious and meaningless jobs I’ve ever had. I like the idea of using that same junk to create something both beautiful and rich with significance.

Josh MacPhee is a designer, artist, and archivist. He is a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative (, the co-author of Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, and co-editor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He helps run Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements (

MacPhee began the Celebrate People’s History poster series in 1998 with Liz Goss. MacPhee, then actively putting artwork on the street, and Goss, a Chicago Public Schools teacher, both were looking for a way to create imagery and posters missing from their respective fields, particularly celebrations of people, groups, and actions that are important to understand the history of social justice struggles but have largely been erased or marginalized by mainstream representations of history. After the initial poster of Malcolm X, MacPhee ran with the project, inviting additional artists to design posters and regularly wheatpasting them in the street. As of 2018, 115 different poster designs have been printed, created by over a hundred artists and designers from more than a dozen countries.

January 2018

Leslie Stem – No Time Like The Present To Change Everything

January-LeslieStem.jpgLeslie Stem practices graphic design among other things. This banner is a public resolution for 2018 – an invitation to revolution.








December 2017

Alive You Took Them

December-AliveYourTookThemOn September 26, 2014, in Iguala, Guerrero; Mexican police kidnapped and forcibly disappeared 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college. More than three years later they remain missing. The Mexican government has claimed that the students were incinerated in a garbage dump, without presenting scientific proof to back the claim. Their parents have refused to accept the results of this faulty investigation and continue to search for their children.

Alive You Took Them: Searching for the Ayotzinapa 43 is a graphic novel about a parents’ tireless search to find their disappeared sons. Through first hand accounts it tells a story of human resilience and serves as a graphic challenge to impunity.

The graphic novel, produced by a collective of illustrators and journalists in Mexico, shows how a mass kidnapping of 43 young men, from one of Mexico’s poorest and most violent states, has come to represent the failed “war on drugs” in Mexico, the battle for public education and the struggle to change a country from the bottom up.

Alive You Took Them recounts the more-horrifying-than-fiction of the attack on September 26th in Iguala, through the stories of student survivors, the parents of the disappeared and journalists who report on the case. The graphic novel uses a web of art and prose—all rooted in the testimonies of those impacted by the Ayotzinapa tragedy—to create a graphic novel faithful to a complex reality.

Alive You Took Them story spotlights the Mexican government’s efforts to cover up its crimes, while also focusing on displays of solidarity with the parents and their struggle for justice, both from within Mexico and globally.

An offset version of the first chapter is available for purchase online via Just Seeds and at Copacetic Comics in Pittsburgh.  The fourteen chapter book will be released in English and Spanish in 2018.

For more information about the project you can write the collective at

or via social networks

November 2017

arthur katrina – Audre Lorde (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)

Audre Lorde, Gambda Adisa. Born February 18, 1934 in New York City, died November 17, 1992 on St. Croix. Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.

“And when we speak we are afraid
Our words will not be heard
Nor welcomed
But when we are silent
We are still afraid
So it is better to speak
Remembering we were never meant to survive.”

arthur katrina is a multimedia artist from providence, ri, presently working in oakland, ca, and the space between. they are committed to the anti-preciousness of printmaking, dubbing and reproducing multiples. consistent threads in their work include: documentation and affirmation of less-represented realities, collage and sampling as a form of imbuing and tribute, utopian fantasy as a deliberate and un-naiive survival tool, re-imaginings of the city, inversions of the gaze, queer frames of celebration and pain, and the liminal, supernatural, and sometimes hilarious places of grief and longing.

October 2017

Darren Myers – A Loose Distance (Paint Science 1.13.16)
October-DarrenThe Paint Science series was a photographic documentation of the reactions between various pigments, bases, solvents, dyes, etc… Over a 2 year span, around two hundred of these topographical experiments where recorded.

Darren Myers is an artist and wood worker living in Pittsburgh PA.

September 2017

Chris Stain – The Battle of Blair Mountain (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
September_ChrisStain“After years of inhumane living and working conditions, in 1921 the coal miners of Appalachia answered the call to organize. The largest armed uprising in US labor history, 12,000 workers from West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio flooded Kanawha County, WV to set up a union by force. Vehemently anti-union, a local sheriff and the coal companies attacked the miners. Thousands of armed and angry miners rushed into the lush hills and winding paths of Blair Mountain to fight for the union. Federal troops were called in and the miners dispersed in order to avoid further bloodshed. At the time the struggle was seen as a failure, but in retrospect the Battle of Blair Mountain led directly to a much larger and stronger union movement.”

American Born. 1972. I was raised in the working class neighborhood of Highlandtown in Baltimore, MD. My interest in art began with NYC subway graffiti in the mid 1980s. Having learned printmaking methods in high school, I eventually shifted my technique toward stenciling. In 2000 I began exhibiting my work. Adapting images from photographs and working with spray paint, stencils, and paper to create interior/exterior works, I seek to convey an authentic contemporary document that illustrates the triumph of the human spirit as experienced by those in underrepresented urban and rural environments. I work and live in Queens, New York with my wife and two children.

 August 2017

Gabe Felice – 1945-1673
August-GabeFeliceWhere they are captured
Along the phases of outcomes
Existing beyond false memory
Seek silent while waiting
For this patient capsule grows
Forest plants when
Gathered up 
Along the map
Lead to the Giant’s cave


This creative process develops and deconstructs itself in many directions of layered colors, lines and shapes.  

The occurrence of accidents or “coincidences” during the process are viewed as signals from the Psychic Energy Field from which automatic instructions are derived and utilized within the design.  

Extra Senses of Perception and Psychic abilities are intentionally invited to join forces with the imagination – providing images of guidance and questions for the viewer to define.


 July 2017

Erok Boerer -The Battle of Homestead (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)

I created this piece in the early 2000s, during the early part of the Bush era, at a time when I was exploring and learning the wonders of linoleum cut printmaking. Josh presented the opportunity to create a People’s History poster, so I jumped at the chance to highlight the importance of the Battle of Homestead, both for its obvious significance in US labor history, but to also create an image for the people in the City of Pittsburgh to reflect on their radical labor roots. As I write this, I’m also planning on going to a park named after Henry Clay Frick, the man who ordered the attack on the striking workers, and who lived (even after Alexander Berkman’s assassination attempt) to benefit and get richer from this decision that pitted poor people against each other. While the irony is not lost on me, it’s important for us to remember that we are all benefiting from the contributions and sacrifices of these brave Pittsburghers who put their lives on the line. Their work is clearly not done, but will hopefully continue to inspire people everywhere who are fighting for their basic dignity, wherever they may be looking for it. I’m excited to see this piece, get the light of day again on the 125th anniversary of the Battle.
John McLuckie, steel worker and Burgess of Homestead at the time, provides the poster’s quote that succinctly sums up the conflict and how the rich are able to exploit the poor and desperate for their own gain:
 Carnegie Steel, July 6, 1892
“That was a war between laboring men because these pinkertons were there under pay and the person who employed that force was safely placed away by the money that he has wrung from the sweat of the men employed in that mill, employing in their stead workmen to kill the men who made his money.”

Erok has been an on-again, off-again visual producer, who’s obsession with freeing the world from the inevitable auto-choked dystopia has led him toward spending most the previous decade advocating for better biking and walking. He’s called Pittsburgh home since the mid-90s.

 June 2017

Parker Day -“Where’s the Party?” (Subject: Cameron Tyme Edison) from the series ICONS

I believe identity is a malleable construct, the invention of which I explore through photography. I costume my subject and craft a narrative about the character they’re becoming. When they step outside of who they think they are, something new and authentic comes through. I’m looking to capture that presence, true emotion caught in the trappings of a manufactured circumstance.

Despite it’s saturated hues and often humorous subjects, there’s a darkness and gentle undercurrent of rage that permeates my work. I’m interested in the idea that we have the power to shape our own realities but despite our abundant potential, we often feel beset by our circumstances. This gives rise to tensions and inner conflicts. It’s these feelings of frustration and the search for meaning I want to explore in the face of the absurdity of our existence.

“Where’s the Party” started when Cameron messaged me, saying she wanted to be a “gender fucked pop 50s greaser boi”, even drawing a sketch of what she envisioned. When she arrived for the shoot, that persona came to life through our collaborative styling, hair and makeup wizardry on the spot. I provided the wardrobe, including an old comic book tee that belonged to my dad decades ago. My directions while shooting were “more lecherous!” Bad posture! Chin down, looking up, leering.” Cameron tapped into an intensity that is simultaneously seductive and repulsive, just what I wanted.


Parker Day is a Los Angeles based photographic artist whose work explores identity and the masks we wear. Through costuming and exaggerated expressions, Day toys with the truth of who and what she portrays. She deliberately eschews Photoshop in favor of in-camera capture on film. Lurid color bathes her work and heightens the surreality of her subjects while the grain and grit of the photographs make them palpably real.

Parker Day’s series of 100 portraits entitled ICONS is being shown in solo shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland in 2017. Selections from the body of work have been shown in group shows internationally. not a cult. is proudly publishing the forthcoming ICONS monograph. Parker has received press from publications such as The New Yorker, Juxtapoz, Vice, i-D, Paper, and Dazed, among many others.

May 2017

Meredith Stern – Jane – Underground Abortion Service (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
May-SternThis piece is a celebration of the Jane Abortion Collective which operated in Chicago when abortion was illegal. Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion, there have been numerous laws which have made abortion increasingly inaccessible. We may be facing a future where abortion is once again illegal, and it is important to remember and learn from the past. The Jane Collective demonstrates the power of collective knowledge put into action for communities to manage our own healthcare needs.

Mural text: 1969–1973. Feminist, underground abortion service, one hundred plus members performed over eleven thousand illegal abortions in Chicago.
“Those of us who were members of Jane were remarkable only because we chose to act with women’s needs as our guide. In doing so we transformed illegal abortion from a dangerous, sordid experience into one that was life-affirming and powerful.”—Laura Kaplan

Artist Meredith Stern obtained a BFA in Ceramics at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is a member of the international printmaking group called The Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. She has a practice that includes printmaking, ‘zine publishing, gardening, and utilitarian ceramic ware. She has received grants from RISCA, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the Puffin Foundation. Her work lives in the Library of Congress, Harvard University, the MOMA and in dozens of museums and universities. In 2012 she curated a portfolio of writings and visual art on gender justice called “This is an Emergency!” Most recently she created a portfolio of prints of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

April 2017

Janine Biunno – USX
April-BiunnoJanine Biunno is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY whose work typically analyzes and interprets the semiotics of the built environment. Janine’s artwork addresses the subjective practice of understanding and representing the architecture, infrastructure and density of urban space, and how our general perception of those physical spaces is altered due to the increasing influence of the digital realm. Janine’s work typically manifests itself two-dimensionally as prints, zines, and other works on paper as well as in installation form.  The final works are often abstract though derived from reality. The shapes utilized in her work are primarily sourced from quotidian urban phenomena; voids between buildings, shadows cast through structures, and other overlooked aspects of both iconic and ubiquitous architectural form.

This particular composition is based on the design tactics of “Dazzle Camouflage”, a dissimulation technique utilized in World War I and II to protect warships. The confusing painted geometric patterning made it difficult for opponents to determine the speed and in what direction the ship was traveling. This “dazzle” scheme for Sidewall was built entirely using the same shape repeated and layered in black and white at a variety of different scales and orientations. The source of the repeated shape (a triangle with indented corners) was the footprint of one of the most prominent elements of Pittsburgh’s skyline: the U.S. Steel Tower.

View more of Biunno’s work at

March 2017

Dalia Shevin -You belong/ Tú perteneces
March-ShevinI started drawing this image to honor the precious queer lives of the 49 people murdered in a homophobic hate crime at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL last summer. I finished it in the wake of the 2016 election, sick with grief, in the knowledge of the dramatic escalation to come of the already horrific and systemic campaign of terror perpetrated every day upon the most marginalized members of our communities and our country.

This tiny gesture is but one of the things I can contribute as an artist, as a citizen, as a human.I cannot know if it will help—help us to act, to speak, to live in resistance fueled by love, to let the most vulnerable among us remember that their and our lives matter. I only know that unless we are vocal and explicit in our refusal to accept the rising tide of oppression and state violence against our neighbors, our loved ones and ourselves, we acquiesce, and our silence speaks in a deafening roar. I only know that I needed to say to the people around me, in the best way that I know how- You are seen. You are loved. Your life matters. You belong.

February 2017

John Jennings – James Baldwin (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
february-jenningsJohn Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside.  His creative and academic work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings is currently a Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Jennings’ current projects include the Hiphop adventure comic Kid Code: Channel Zero, the supernatural crime noir story Blue Hand Mojo, and the New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred.

The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda, but detourned to embody principles of democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of history. The posters tell stories from the subjective position of the artists, and are often the stories of underdogs, those written out of history. The goal of this project is not to tell a definitive history, but to suggest a new relationship to the past. Today CPH posters grace the walls of dorm rooms, apartments, community centers, classrooms, and city streets. Over 100 different designs have been printed in the past 19 years, adding up to over 300,000 total posters. More information, and posters, available here:

January 2017

Jesus Barraza – Tlaloc 

Water is life, defend your life. It is so simple: we are connected to the land we live on, and if the land gets sick so will we. Water is one of the primary things necessary for life to exist: if we poison the water, or if we suffer drought caused by climate change, we will cease to exist.

This graphic is part of the Wellspring portfolio, by members of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.

To read more about Barraza and view other works, you can visit the following websites:

December 2016

Paulo O’Brien – Good Morning Sunshine
 December-Obrien.jpg For many queer men and women who have died, their surviving family members would throw away any incriminating evidence. Lovely photographs like this one would be separated from anyone that would recognize them, let alone care. Surrendered to waste bins, curbside boxes and second hand shops, forever more to be seen, but never known.

There is a term for when there is no one still alive that remembers you. Second Death.

 That concerns me. I resuscitate vintage snapshots taken by anonymous photographers of unknown men. I can’t remember them exactly as they were but the images manage to tell me just enough of their story that I speculate. I know that these men existed in a different time with different ideas about affection, sex, gender and identity.  I know that they may not have had a sense of themselves as gay or queer as I do of myself. But there is always a detail, a glance, a smile, touching knees, arms thrown over each others shoulders clutching a little too tight, which causes my eyes stop and my imagination to blossom; I start to construct who they could have been. A false nostalgia, yes, but it’s the least I can do to acknowledge the love and loss of these vintage bad asses.

See more of O’Brien’s work at

November 2016

Maggie Negrete – I Just Want A Bowl of Pasta



October 2016

Matthew Buchholz – Flee America

october-buccholtzI like to think that my work remakes and comments on history by incorporating shared pop-culture memories into visual records of the past. At times it can seem like there’s no distinction between “true” history and a collective pop history. Science fiction takes this one step further by introducing elements of otherness that we project onto our own social fears and concerns. To that end, the work I do can be seen as remaking history, but with monsters and UFOs. My goal is to create an entire world of images documenting a time when the creatures from 1950s & 60s science fiction films were actual menaces to society.
Each piece starts with an original, unaltered image, usually from the 19th or early 20th century. I look for a piece that I find visually and historically interesting, then I start to look at the negative spaces in the composition, and think about what icon from a pop science fiction consciousness would look work in the space.
This Flee America piece is adapted from a quartet of “Flee America” images inspired by WPA posters from the 1930s urging people to “See America.” It’s fun to take the tourism angle and turn it on its head buy urging viewers to stay home.
Alternate Histories
Where the past comes…Alive!

September 2016

Peter Oresick – Messiah Over Pittsburgh


Born in an Ukrainian Catholic Church for which iconography is a central part of the architecture and spirituality, I’ve been mesmerized by icons since I was a young boy but never imagined painting them myself. Years later, in 1990, I met a monk from St. Vincent Abbey, Peter Pearson, who offered a workshop in icon painting which became a turning point in my artistic career. I painted icons exclusively in the russian style until 2012 when I merged my passion of Western Pennsylvania history and literature with iconography. What captivates my interest in this style of painting is the depth of it’s narrative history, spiritual intensity, the coats of sheer color, the ritualistic nature of it’s process, and the fixed- yet alive glowing eyes of the subject.

Peter Oresick (American b. 1955 – 2016) is a poet, painter, publisher, and professor. His books include Warhol-o-rama, Definitions, and Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Emerson College.

August 2016

Richard Pell & Bob Lansberry – Sanity Check or The Resurrection of the Bird God

August-richpellFor the last 20 years my work has concerned itself with how power and authority are portioned out in a technologically mediated world. I investigate these issues as a builder, curator, collector and story teller. In the course of doing this work I have the opportunity to engage with people whose experience of the world is very different from my own. This is where I learn the most.

As a student at Carnegie Mellon in the 90’s I spent a lot of time wandering around downtown pittsburgh with a tape recorder looking for street preachers. That’s when I first met Bob Lansberry. He quickly gave me and 7 or 8 other students an impromptu lecture on the invention of radio transmission by Rudolph Hertz who discovered that certain people can hear low frequency radio inside their head. Lansberry believes he is a descendent of a population of people who were recognized for having this genetic ability to hear higher frequency sounds and have been used in radio mind-control experiments ever since. He began protesting mind control and mail censorship on the streets of Pittsburgh in the early 1970’s. His sandwich board messages were etched in the collective unconscious of Pittsburgh for decades. People knew the phrases, “Why can’t Lansberry get mail?” or “Does Silent Radio Control Your Mind?”, but few knew what they meant.

Bob’s story blew my mind. It resonated with me. If I were in his position, constantly hearing voices that are outside my control, I’d be looking for answers too. He seemed to recognize me as a fellow traveler. I showed him an art project that I was making at the time. It was a booklet of postcards. The cards were printed with text, code and images that if they were sent through the mail, the sender would be committing an actual crime, entitled, “How To Become An International Arm Trafficker and Other Exciting Careers”. He looked gravely disappointed and shook his head. “Boy, they’ve got mind controls all over you. Don’t you ever doing anything so stupid again.” Point taken. After that I shot a few hours of interview footage with Bob and basically became Bob’s archivist.

There’s something in Bob’s messages that to me pose unsettling questions that escape easy answers. “Does silent radio control your mind?” Well, does it? How would you know? What does it even mean? These are Borges stories reduced to sandwich board length.


July 2016

Reyghan Pierce – Sedna


I created this image based on a moment within Inuit mythology. There is a myth about a girl named Sedna. Sedna refuses to marry any man in her village, so her father makes a deal with a foreign hunter. He drugs Sedna and gives her to the hunter in exchange for goods. When Sedna wakes, the hunter has revealed his true form, as a giant raven. She jumps into the freezing sea to escape him. As Sedna sinks down into the water her fingers freeze off and become the mammals of the sea. Sedna descends to the bottom and becomes the mother/goddess of the sea and it’s marine life.
I am an illustrator who was born and raised in Pittsburgh. I currently attend the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for illustration and art education.

Mike Q Roth – The Gold Standard


My childhood home was surrounded on almost all sides by fields devoted to agricultural production.  Most of the time these fields were planted with corn.  Thus began a lifetime of being obsessed with the iconography of corn.  From its origins as one of America’s true native foods and its relation with the indigenous peoples to corn’s modern connections to bio-engineering, farm policy and big business, corn can symbolize a bit of both the good and bad about America.  Corn sustains us, yet threatens to control us.  We have submitted to it.  It is our gold standard.



June-Q-DetailFor a limited time, visit The Gold Standard in person and make a withdrawal of corn cash. One per person!




May 2016

Vanessa Adams – Temperance


To temper a substance is to alter its chemistry, to transform its molecular structure through heat. For Sidewall, I have created my own version of the fourteenth card of major arcana in tarot, often called Temperance in many decks, or Art and Alchemy in others. I have long been drawn to this card for its vision of alchemical transformation–a radical representation of change made possible by the union of opposites, by joining many parts to create a new whole. In my piece, a figure holds these opposites–earth and sky on their body, land and sea touching their feet, fire and water in their hands–and enacts a process of uniting–fire and water harnessed and combining to create a new generative force, an enveloping steam.



April 2016

Marlana Adele Vassar – Progress


Two years ago I was selected for a residency with the August Wilson Center. Many museum patrons and Pittsburgh residents are aware of the troubles the Center experienced during that time, and the institution is currently on the upswing. I believe that repair and rebuilding are a part of life, and after my residency I went through a process of rebuilding as well.

For sidewall, I wanted to explore the idea of life cycles and symbolism as it relates August Wilson and myself. Mr. Wilson’s expression is serious, denoting an awareness of self, his audience, his city. The hint of a smile; hope. His house is rendered in muted tones with touches of brighter colors, as a play on past and present.

I also included other motifs of personal significance. Growing up in Fayette County, coming to Pittsburgh (or any city) was a big deal, so for me bridges and city structures are fascinating, and symbolize a pathway to something bigger. Ships are included to symbolize a personal journey of self-discovery, and also reflects the design of the center itself.

There are also two excerpts from Wilson’s play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”, which I feel accurately describes the struggle of Pittsburgh’s working class as well as many of the cities’ artists.


March 2016

Maybe Jairan Sadeghi – statistics

March-Maybe.jpgStatistics, in their language of margins, medians, and likelihoods are to studies of science, society, and profit as mortar is to brick. For an enterprise so highly pliable in interpretation and beholden to the quality of the data, we hang a great deal of hope on it. I wanted to introduce turbulence into the idea of statistics, taking advantage of the human mind’s desire to fill in blanks, and find patterns in the omissions and random uses of color.

See more of Sadeghi’s work at




February 2016

Lizzee Solomon – You Are Here

You Are Here transports the viewer from the dreary land of “eternal twilight” into a tropical paradise. The smell of coconuts is thick in the air, hibiscus petals gently tickle your cheeks, your skin is crispy with sun and salt. You are never too hot because there is always a cool breeze to catch and a broad, palm shade to retire under. You hear a samba band in the distance. It is almost Carnival. You are here and the world is waiting.

Solomon a visual artist who makes paintings, illustrations, and comics. She portrays women, food, and other objects of desire with a bendy, twisted, colorful style. Beauty and horror are frequently one in the same.

See more of Solomon’s work at

January 2016

Nicole Ryan – Mercer Station

My paintings focus on emotionally charged but ambiguous images of people and places with details fuzzy around the edges, leaving the viewers with a strong sense of déjà vu.

These false memories of people and places I create are based on what is overly romanticized or tragic, and are defined as much by what is missing by what is present.

I blur out details, preferring the viewer fill in their own.  My subjects get flattened, blurred faces that blend into the landscape, the clouds melt into the horizon line.  I want the works to be soft, unfocused and distant; a memory nearly lost.


December 2015

Celeste Neuhaus – compare

Celeste Neuhaus’s work examines the interplay of archetypal forces between the psyche, the body, and the cosmos. In “compare”, plastic sequins spell the word “worth” in gold with a black drop shadow, referencing a technique employed in signage and billboards. The sequins are enclosed in a field of painted mud, activated by reflected sunlight and set into motion by the wind. These elements are integrated in a perpetual state of transformation to illuminate the notion of “worth”.

*documentation of both day light and night time view.

compare sequin detailcompare detail



November 2015

Jae Ruberto – Untitled









October 2015

Omar Lopex -the Tiny Martyr of Gdansk

Part of an on-going series of alternative heroes that I started by painting wooden panels of Black and Mexican personas, and zip tying them over the Cesar Chavez cutout on the freeway exit at Cesar Chavez Blvd in my neighborhood. (The first 2 in the series are Pancho Barnes & Redd Foxx).

Proposing vital, fun, alternatives to “safe” heroes & untouchable institutionalized personalities that get fed to people.

The people in my murals were chosen by putting out handwritten flyers in the community and soliciting nominations for new heroes.


“Little” Nancy Shumaski is a Polish martyr from the 1960’s known as the Tiny Martyr of Gdansk.

She worked in a shoe factory where as part of new Socialist measures promoting gender equality, all the workers were female (except for the foreman). Nancy gained a reputation as an excellent worker because of her exceptionally small hands. The other women at the factory felt protective of her, both because she was an orphan, and because of her exceedingly quiet and shy demeanor .

Over the years, tensions grew between female workers and the company’s higher ups. Enduring harsh work conditions, the female workers attempted to unionize and ask for changes, but never seemed to make any headway.

“Little” Nancy’s end came when at 12 years old, her foreman attempted to take her as a child bride. She refused, was clobbered to death by the foreman with a pair of shoes. Upon hearing the news, the female factory workers rioted and burnt the factory to the ground. It was said that the massive structure fire was completely silent, just as “Little Nancy” had been in life.

September 2015

Gary Duehr – Hazards of Modern Living

“Hazards of Modern Living” comments on the culture of fear in the post-9/11 era. At times absurd or chilling, the signs caution us to avoid dangers such as lightning, falling planes, and drowning—as well as apparently innocuous objects like forks, clocks and sad books.

At the center, suffering all these fates, is a stoic, Buster Keaton-like Everyman, familiar from Men’s Room signs. Blank, expressionless, he is restricted to several poses: flailing, running, and sitting or standing unawares.



August 2015

D.S. Kinsel – Portal Power Map

This power map depicts a futuristic portal surrounded by powerful text communicating #blackpower and #blacklivesmatter.  The text is also utilized as shape to layer color and pattern.  These repeated elements guide the central vortex of the portal.  Portal Power Map is an effort in cultural space making by communicating affirming messages and connecting contemporary and historical cultural chants around black unity in a region severely lacking in diversity.




July 2015

June Edwards – Furnace Structure 5

The painting created for the Sidewall Project is based on my photographs of Carrie Furnace Works, and is part of a series of mixed media paintings that explore abandoned industrial architecture around Pittsburgh. I begin with the framework and visual richness of deteriorated metal structures — towers, factories, machinery, bridges, and buildings — and build arrangements of selected forms. The composition includes parts of many digital images that are layered, arranged and adjusted in Photoshop. I re-worked the digital print for this painting with acrylic paints to heighten the visual effect of form, color and texture.

I feel empathy for the human effort required to build and operate these abandoned industrial places, and consider these works as a requiem, an expression of sadness for what we once had that is no longer there. My work is a tribute to what is left of old technology and function.

More artwork can be seen at

June 2015

Assemble’s Girls’ Maker Night participants: Ashanti, Daijah, Maggie, Sofia, Aria, Seroya, and Bailee. With support from” Youth Program Coordinator Jess Gold, local artist Ashley Cecil, and Artist Image Resource (AIR)

Garfield Garden: Our Neighborhood Wildlife

Over the course of the past 6 weeks, Assemble’s incredible Girls’ Maker Night participants went through the process of creating art inspired by natural sciences and translating it into a repeatable pattern for surface design – ultimately using their pattern to create a silkscreened public art installation! This collaborative, student-driven project gave the girls a taste of ornithology, entomology, botany, drawing/illustration, pattern development, and silk screening. They also had the opportunity use professional design software and learn about a wide range of career options – such as nature illustration and environmental conservation.

***We owe a big thank you to Guest Maker Ashley Cecil, the wonderful local artist who co-facilitated these workshops with Program Coordinator Jess Gold. This project would also not have been possible without Molly Mehling, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Sustainability at Chatham University, and Artists Image Resource (AIR), a local artist-run printmaking organization.***

Click here for more info about Girls’ Maker Night, and while you’re at it you can check out Assemble’s other awesome programs too!

May 2015

Jennifer Howison  – The Wanderer

The Wanderer seemingly free
Preoccupied by her captivity
Pushing only the walls within her comfort zone
The house is changing
Wandering about wondering who will be there

April 2015

Maggie Bogdanich  – Understanding from the Inside Out

Understanding From the Inside Out is a continuation of making images based on my interest in the digestive system as the hub of our health, an interface between the outside world and our inside world. Phrases such as “you are what you eat” and “trust your gut”, though cliche, resonate with me and guide quite a bit of decision making in my life. I use bright and simplistic shapes rather than a more realistic depiction because it is about the idea of the digestive system and not the thing itself. Also, I am drawn to more basic diagrams gleaned from children’s books as an aesthetic. The image is simple and lacking extensive detail so that the “audience” driving by in cars can read it in the instant they pass by. The curious detail of the cross eyed cat peering from behind the enormous blades of cartoon grass was intuitive and, for me, added an element of humor twisting the straightforward diagram towards something whimsical.

The End

March 2015

Olof Berner – View from Wakefield
My work is a blend of architectural studies and organic living.  I use sharp, geometric lines and simple forms to provide juxtaposition to heavily layered and organically complex landscapes, impressions of nature, e.g. sedimentary layers, tree bark or water.  As an industrial designer and artist, I am exploring the spectrum between abstract and descriptive form, as it relates to generating ideas, refining details and communicating the vision through carefully chosen medium.

View more of his work at



February 2015

Deavron Dailey – Stairway to Herron
The staircase is in the Polish Hill section of Pittsburgh, PA, on Herron Ave.

The staircase is actually the “bridge” to a portal once you reach the top. At the entrance on Herron Ave there appears to be an attempt to disguise the stairs as well as the portal at the end with a variety of foliage, rocks, dirt, and graffiti. However the byway is clearly marked by the Herron Ave street sign.

As you take the staircase up and you reach the last step, you are compelled to glance around at the skylines of downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland, PA. That’s the moment you turn and enter the portal and a small, interesting, and enchanted place opens up to you.


January 2015

Juliet Philips – Block Watch
This mural is derived from my observations of a changing Pittsburgh. I often try to document the small, but important, objects of our collective past—the ones that manage to hang on somehow through our constant change of landscape. This sign of McGruff, the crime dog, which is fastened to the telephone poll outside my house, both promotes, and threatens, the fading idea of neighborhood watch. I want to recognize and commemorate the strangeness of this sign—of a silly drawing of a dog in a trench coat, whose image supposedly scares entire neighborhoods straight. I want to document that odd sense of nostalgia I feel while gazing up at it, thinking about a time in my life when McGruff did scare me straight. Maybe when I was eight and thinking about swooping a school lunch.

This drawing relates to an ongoing project that is a sort of visual diary I’ve kept since moving to Pittsburgh.

More of the artist’s work HERE!

December 2014

Shaun Slifer – Teach History From Below
“History From Below” is a corrective lens with which to look back for lessons for the present day: where “from below” means all the rest of us, the 99% if you will, who toil below the minority ruling class. This is a historiography which runs counter to the “Great Men” narratives – that exclusive, dominant history written by oppressors, victors of war, colonialists, industrialists, racists, urban developers and re-developers. History from below is people’s history, labor history, social history, folk history. Learn it, teach it, share it, feel it and live by it.

This design was first created for Justseeds’ 2014 classroom-themed portfolio, Liberating Learning.

Shaun Slifer is a multidisciplinary artist currently working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shaun’s projects have appeared internationally in a variety of galleries, nonprofit exhibition spaces, and community centers, as well as under bridges and alongside interstate highways. He regularly works in collaboration with other artists and in collectively structured groups, including the now-disbanded Street Art Workers, the Howling Mob Society, and currently with Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. He received a BFA in Sculpture from Watkins College of Art in Nashville, Tennessee in 2003.

Check out the artist’s website at

Shaun posted about his mural-making process, you can read it on the Justseeds blog.

November 2014

J. Pascoe – Archipelagic Thought
November-JPascoeTaking cues from from various literary and philosophical sources – namely Foucault’s Heterotopias and and various translated writings from Edouard Glissant – as well as the artist’s own social anxieties Archipelagic Thought is part of an ongoing body of work illustrating literal depictions of social dynamics in crowds and large groups or other settings human bodies find themselves in.





Lauren Jurysta
October-LaurenJurystalauren jurysta is a pittsburgh artist who works mainly with print making, but explores other mediums.

this piece is inspired by the connection with nature and inner peace. nature and health. nature and the soul. relearning our connection to nature and our true creator, beginning, mother. trusting what the earth has provided for us. we have become so distant from the earth and nature that we’ve desensitized ourselves. we’re forgetting that we are all animals. forgetting basic knowledge that came intuitively, not so long ago. forgetting how to live off the earth and give back to the earth, and that cycle of un-recycling continues. we’ve surrounded ourselves by man made materials and continue to distrust what the earth has provided for us. and i am also a part of that forgetting, and in my work struggle to reconnect, to remember.


Christopher Kardambikis – Heart Buttons
September-ChrisKardambikisChristopher Kardambikis is exploring an absurd mythology for the future through drawings, paintings, and books. In 2014 he is making a new artist book every month exploring materials, process, and space. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Art Students League, Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Pittsburgh Center of the Arts. Kardambikis received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005 and an MFA at the University of California, San Diego in 2012.
He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Nikos Kardambikis, Anna Katsina, Basilis Kardambikis, Lambro Kardambikis, Theofilos Kardambikis, and my father Spiro Kardambikis during a family trip back to the village of Granitsa in the Evrytania region of Greece in the summer of ’86.

In space.
All my father’s siblings except Themis Kardambikis (next time, Themis, I promise you’ll be in).
A little installation action seen below:


jen cooney – Summer Adventures: Queer Pool Babes

August-jen cooneyArtist Bio: jen cooney is the result of the mating of a unicorn and a manatee, they were raised in the rhinestone caverns found beneath the Great Lakes. They currently are found queering it up in the hills of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, where they are constantly recreating images of the magical land that they hope to find again.

Image detail: text from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings






JULY 2014

Carolyn Kelly – Outside in, Darwin and his finches

July-KellyThis past year I took a jump off a cliff to live and teach eco arts in the unique and remote galpagos islands. My observations here were profound for growing myself and thinking about the origins of animals and the earth as we know it. The animals are the stars of the show in galapagos, but the less studied species and far less history of humans on the islands made me curious and was almost visceral at points for me…the attitude, the dress, the way of building, the signage, the artistry or lack there of. My personal work deals with everyday objects and their existence and history using texture, pattern and ink to replicate and turn them into drawn tapestries. This mural is Charles Darwin and his finches. The discoveries Darwin made of the finches that are endemic to the islands led to his theory of evolution and made galapagos famous from the outside in. Living there is interesting realizing it is not as famous from the inside out. This was part of drawing series of galapagos created during my time there. I hope this can be experienced at different speeds of driving, biking and walking by the sidewall project house.

contact for commissions and prints:

ck sidewall

JUNE 2014

Katie Kaplan – Our Lady of the Floatation Device

June-KaplanInspired by religious iconography and esoteric imagery, “Our Lady of the Floatation Device” is a protective image of a Saint who offers a life boat for darker times. As the figure floats up from the deep waters of the unconscious, an outstretched hand offers a boat, an escape from the consuming emotive turmoil of the inner world, where the dreamy Pisces fish are pierced by negativity . Originally a relief print, this work was enlarged to an iconic scale for the Sidewall Project, intending to protect both the passerby and members of the residence.  Katie Kaplan is a  multi-disciplinary artist, whose current body of work is focused on creating rustbelt magical realist tableaus incorporating printed works, fiber sculpture, photo and video.


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