Vol. 1: Pittsburgh

on Monday April 1, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

En Pointe began as a way to engage our colleagues and mentors in critical conversations and has grown into a collection of interviews spanning disciplines and geographies, with contributors from across the globe. To encourage a dialogue between our city and beyond, half of the subjects we feature are rooted in Western Pennsylvania. It is fitting, then, that our first print issue, En Pointe Vol. 1: Pittsburgh, is a love letter to the city where we are based. In this first print edition, Vol. 1 takes a broad and critical look at Pittsburgh, with its distinctive history and topography, through conversations that showcase a rich and thoughtful arts ecosystem. En Pointe Vol. 1: Pittsburgh features twelve interviews with architects, curators, artists, writers, and entrepreneurs helping to shape the future of the city’s built and cultural landscape. 

The city’s history of innovation and social movements still resonates with many people doing thoughtful work in Pittsburgh. Both Mary Lou Arscott and Gerard Damiani, for example, look towards the historic fabric of Western Pennsylvania to inform their design decisions, whether to rethink the rowhouse or create community spaces in unexpected ways. Mitch McEwen used an imaginative design charrette to envision how reparations could change Pittsburgh, while Anne Chen’s civic work has changed the way people relate to local institutions. On a smaller scale, Seth Clark’s sculpture and collage examines qualities of ruin and fragmentation found throughout the rustbelt.

It takes work to build a healthy, equitable arts ecosystem and economy outside of major cities. Kilolo Luckett looks at the Pittsburgh art scene with hope and frustration, demanding the city to “wake up!” and promote an arts scene that reflects the diversity of the city. Similarly, Casey Droege has begun to build a healthy and sustainable arts ecosystem through community and business partnerships. Museums are important partners in that goal. Two curators, Raymund Ryan and Ingrid Schaffner, look at how institutions might reach new audiences and curate exhibitions that tap into Pittsburgh’s unique resources while inspiring joy in museum visitors. 

Other conversations explore cultural icons, from Andy Warhol to Fred Rogers, through new lenses in Pittsburgh. José Carlos Diaz seeks to uncover unknown legacies of one of the biggest names in Pop art, while Paul Zelevansky throws the complex storytelling and teaching of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood into new relief through his book and video work. Nina Barbuto, who runs an interdisciplinary community space for arts and technology, talks about the significance of her work with Vito Acconci as a young architect in forming a new sense of the relationship between art and its audience.

En Pointe celebrates our creative community united by an interest in innovation and social justice through architecture, design, art, culture, and much more. Read the full interviews below, and purchase a print copy of this volume here.

En Pointe Vol. 1 was sponsored by: GBBN and Weisshouse


EDITORS – Sarah Rafson, Illana Curtis

AUTHORS – Aleeza Furman, Adam Kor, KelliLaurel Mijares, Kyleen Pickering, Leah Wulfman, Sarah Grossman, Kenneth Wahrenberger, Ilana Curtis, Jakob Uhlenhopp, Sarah Rafson, Abigail Solomon

GRAPHIC DESIGN (for Print) – Matthew Chrislip