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Public Art Introduced to Paulson Spray Park and Playground

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 17, 2019) The City of Pittsburgh is pleased to present the integration of public art at the soon to be unveiled Paulson Spray Park and Playground,  in the neighborhood of Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar.  The art project is a collaboration between the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Public Art and Civic Design Division (PA+CD) of the Department of City Planning.

The renovation of Paulson Park began in 2016 as a collaboration among DPW, Pashek+MTR, and the community, with the resulting Master Plan including improvements to the existing pool house, the installation of new play equipment, and redesigned landscaping.  While the initial design intent was to include tinted concrete on the splash pad surface, DPW utilized the City’s 1% per art requirement for this renovation project, and worked with PA+CD to instead fund the commissioning of new art for the hardscape surface, with additional funding set aside for the restoration of an existing piece of the City’s Art Collection, located on site since the early 1980’s.

"We are excited about the rehab of the pool into a new spray park facility for all of the Lincoln Lemington families,” said Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess. “Thank you to Mayor Peduto and the Department of Public Works for bringing this amenity into the community for the residents.”

On June 27th, 2018, PA+CD and the Office of Management and Budget released a Request for Proposals to solicit artists, artist collectives, and designers to propose concepts for this new public art intervention. A City committee evaluated the projects under a scoring system that took into consideration the overall concept of the project with regard to creativity, innovation, aesthetics, and material presence; the applicant’s qualifications, experience, and references; their connection to the neighborhood; and the cost proposal. Ultimately the award went to artist Will Schlough, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and an accomplished muralist. His proposal of a vibrant underwater environment will transform the pavement into an interactive playspace, incorporating themes of nature and encouraging children in active play. The mural will work together with the new park equipment and landscaping to create a colorful and lively atmosphere in the renovated park.

Schlough states that the primary goal of his artistic practice “is to create surprising, enjoyable, and thought-provocative works in public spaces as a means to creatively enhance the daily lives of the public.”  His work creates unique narratives that cleverly interact with the surrounding environment, providing moments of reflection, humor, and humanity that permeate beyond the work itself.

In addition to the commission of new original artwork, PA+CD worked with a professional team led by Glen Gardner and Electrokote to restore Pipe Movement in Blue by Josefa Filkosky, an outstanding piece of the City’s Art Collection. This artwork has been entirely refurbished and installed at the entrance to the park. This eye-catching metal sculpture complements Schlough’s design and creates a harmonious and engaging composition for the park as a whole.

In this project, as with many others, the Public Art and Civic Design Division is working in collaboration with other departments in the City of Pittsburgh, with the hope of not only nurturing the talent of artists but also of adding to the aesthetic look and feel of the city.

Photo credits:

Top: SC Photo

Bottom: City of Pittsburgh

For questions about the art or artists contact:

Yesica Guerra                                                                                       

Public Art and Civic Design Manager

City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning

200 Ross St. 4th floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

[p] 412.255.8996


For questions about the park contact:

Andrea Ketzel

Senior Project Landscape Architect

City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works

414 Grant St. Room 301, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

[p] 412-255-8852




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