Creative minds connect cultural ‘charms’ through CDCP charrette


The New Hazlett Theater is one of the many entities in the Northside involved in the Charm Bracelet Project that CDCP hopes to connect. (Photo by Kelsey Shea).

The Community Design Center of Pittsburgh is calling for Pittsburgh’s creative minds of Pittsburgh to come together to connect the cultural entities of the Northside.

The CDCP is holding an event entitled “Imagine Art and Urban Connectivity,” for anyone with a creative inclination and an eye for design to help connect the multiple cultural entities that make up the “Charm Bracelet.” 

Northside’s Charm Bracelet includes all of the cultural attractions that are housed in the area, including the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, The Warhol and The Mattress Factory.

“They are often seen as individual entities, and not as a collective,” said Stephen Glassman, President and CEO of the CDCP. “This would strengthen the use of the organizations and knit them together.” 

The CDCP is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the value of good design, planning and public policy to support more livable and sustainable communities in the Pittsburgh region

The event, sponsored by the CDCP and The Children’s Museum’s Charm Bracelet Project, is a way in which the community can take ownership of the prominent cultural institutions by finding a way to connect them, either literally or metaphorically.

“We’re open to all ideas that are imaginative…We’re looking for, beyond those literal interpretations, something more metaphorical,” said Glassman, who is looking for “solutions outside of the box.”

Imagine Art and Urban Connectivity is open to any individual or group between the ages of 18-25. In order to compete, applicants must attend a charrette on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The intimidating French word is not as daunting as it sounds. In order to get involved, those interested must register for the charrette by April 20.

“A charrette is a long exercise in order to provide some resources and energize thinking and dialogue, and generate conversation through the walking guided tour.” 

The event will allow artists the potential to win up to $1,000 in prizes and the chance to have their work displayed in an exhibition at The Warhol. Glassman hopes that public interest in the event will generate interest from potential sponsors for a second round of exhibits.   

“There are a lot of things to consider when maintaining public art. We’re hoping that this generates excitement for a potential sponsor or other foundation that wants to put up money for a second exhibit.”

Awards will be decided by a jury of well-respected individuals in the art and architectural design field with parameters outlined for the selections. Glassman has served on various juries and is confident in the selection process.

“It’s amazing how much in alignment the 10 to 12 jurors end up after looking at pieces for an hour. It’s a process that really works.”

After submission, 13 designs will be selected for cash prizes and then placed on display at the Warhol museum before being moved to the Children’s Museum. Any person between the ages of 18-25 is encouraged to participate, regardless of design background or experience. 

“We were very intentional about how we phrased it. All creative and imaginative people.”

The chance to have work displayed in a prestigious museum as well as to bring the Northside a different perspective on connecting its cultural gems is reason enough to register. 

Karin Baker is a senior at The University of Pittsburgh and a resident of the city of Pittsburgh.

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