New Public Art Installation in Northside Explores Body Language


Photo by Sabrina Romano

The video clip being projected onto Carnegie Library- Allegheny as part of City of Asylum’s Northside Crossing exhibit.

By Sabrina Romano

The second installation of the City of Asylum’s series of public artwork made its debut in Central Northside on Saturday, Jan. 10. Roughly 50 people attended Pittsburgh-based artist Blaine Seigel’s presentation at the the Carnegie Library-Allegheny and subsequent art tour through the neighborhood.

Northside Crossing is a series of video installations featuring community members communicating using only their body language. The videos are being projected during the evening hours at the Carnegie Library-Allegheny, the former Garden Theater site, and the Allegheny City Market until Saturday, Feb. 14.

Renee Piechocki, the community director of the Office of Public Art, helped organize the event.

Piechocki said she got involved in the project because City of Asylum hired the Office of Public Art to commission a temporary series of art.

“All of the projects that are being commissioned deal with language in a unique way,” Piechocki said of commonality of the three.

Siegel focused his art primarily on expression of body language.

“After I was commissioned for the work, I had to use language in an innovative way and work with the community,” Siegel said. “I came here and walked around many times. I realized that the soul of the Northside is the people.”

Seigel said his intention for this art piece is not necessarily for the public to learn anything.

“I want them to experience,” Siegel said. “Experience is what removes you from everyday perspective. Once your mind expands, it never goes back.”

Kathy Deis, a resident of the Central Northside neighborhood, said she is “very in favor” of public art.

“I think [that this installation] is going to encourage more public art,” Deis said.

Piechocki said she appreciates the medium Siegel chose.

“I loved how he used film to capture community members,” Piechocki said.

Piechocki said it is important for any neighborhood to have public art.

“One of the most important things is that [public art] helps people experience things in new and different ways,” Piechocki said. “People walk to the market and library every day. It provides portals of understandings into the community and places we are.”

To learn more about public art in the Northside, visit

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