By Sean P. Ray | Managing Editor
CHATEAU — It was a time of celebration for the Northside North Shore Chamber of Commerce on May 11, as the organization once more held its Annual Business Luncheon.
Taking place at the Carnegie Science Center, this year’s iteration of the event was one of the largest in its history, with more than 200 people attending, according to Chamber Executive Committee Co-Chair Scott Pipitone.
The keynote speaker for the luncheon this year was Patrick Moore, director of The Andy Warhol Museum. Moore’s speech focused on the Warhol’s Pop District initiative, a program to transform the museum campus into an event and learning space.
“All museums, and I think especially art museums, have been thinking ‘What are we to our constituents?’” Moore said.
Part of the goal of the change is to make Pittsburgh a more welcoming city for young people to start their careers and stay in the city. The Pop District initiative includes the development of workforce programs, which launched last year according to the initiative website.
The workforce development is divided into two programs, titled Warhol: Academy and Warhol: Creative. The former focuses on a variety of youth-focused training programs, Moore said, while the latter is a digital content creation studio which will support more than 100 young creators and assist in talent development.
In total, the project is projected to have a $100 million annual economic impact, Moore said.
Some of the features of the Pop District include Silver Street, which was launched in May last year. Once an unused alley, it is now a pedestrian-only space hosting outdoor programs and performances.
While the Warhol Museum is most well known for the artwork of its namesake artist, the Pop District will also feature art installations from other local artists, such as Laura Jean Mc-Laughlin and Mikael Owunna. McLaughlin’s piece, titled “Julia,” was put up last year on the west-facing side of the museum.
While it began last year, the Pop District project still has much time ahead of it before it is complete. According to the project website, the second phase is set to begin in 2024. Moore said the next steps will include the construction of new facilities on the campus.
Following Moore’s speech, Chamber Director Gina Grone shared some of the progress the chamber has made. In her fifth year as director, Grone said the chamber’s membership has grown from 98 members when she started to more than 300.