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PITTSBURGH, PA (October 23, 2019) The City of Pittsburgh, Office of Mayor William Peduto joined the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, key stakeholders, and members of the community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new public art project installation at the Upper McKinley Park basketball court in Beltzhoover. The project, called “Home Court Advantage,” was proposed by local artist Janel Young and was designed in consultation with input from the local community and youth from Voices Against Violence. The ribbon-cutting took place this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at 900 Delmont Avenue, with an artist talk to follow at 7:00 p.m.
"Investing in public arts brings vitality to city neighborhoods," said Mayor William Peduto. "I want to thank the URA for working with a local artist to create this new art installation in Beltzhoover.”
The URA’s Economic Development Department awarded the placemaking grant of $15,500 to the Beltzhoover Consensus Group for the installation of the public art and related activities. The work was completed over two weeks in September and included the participation of many local teens. See video.
"Economic development and community development go hand-in-hand, and these types of placemaking investments are key to the URA's mission,” URA Deputy Director Diamonte Walker said. “The work speaks for itself. Janel Young is not only an artistic talent but her ability to navigate the public sector really impressed our staff."
Young’s proposal went before the City’s Art Commission in May and was described in part this way:
“The artist pulled from her previous original works and experiences to develop 2 bold and exciting color palettes and an uplifting phrase for the court that embodies the expressed themes, “There is Victory in Unity.” The word “victory” being applicable to both the basketball court and everyday life.
This color palette was inspired by a previous piece entitled “Victorious.” The dripping design plays off of the community “waterhole” analogy mentioned in the feedback to the significance of this court. The red and yellow overlapping rectangles symbolize the continuous giving to one another, building bridges across peers and generations. The checkered pattern in the paint section resembles that of a finish line flag, encouraging the community to support each other in getting things done and crossing the metaphorical finish line together.
Young, was born and raised on the South Side, attending Beltzhoover Elementary School, Rogers CAPA middle school and Schenley High School. Read more about the artist here.
Although I’ve worked on other public murals, this project was especially important to me for a number of reasons, including the fact that I grew up playing on this basketball court many years ago. It feels incredible to give back to my community in this way and involve several generations of residents in the process. Another reason is that this is the first art court in Pittsburgh and I’m proud that my neighborhood has made history with this project. That’s our home court advantage,” said designer Janel Young.
Graphic: "Home Court Advantage" design by Janel Young/JY Originals