FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2020
Riverlife and Office of Public Art announced today an artist residency and community engagement plan for the future of the Black Lives Matter mural site located Downtown under the Fort Duquesne Bridge. Pittsburgh-based muralist Camerin Nesbit will lead efforts to repair the existing mural starting this week, followed by a process throughout the winter and next spring to activate the site through a collaborative mural redevelopment with other local muralists.
Located along the Allegheny River on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail between Point State Park and the Cultural District, the Black Lives Matter mural was created by a group of Pittsburgh muralists in response to the killing of George Floyd on May 25. While Mr. Nesbit was not involved in the creation of the original mural, he formed a group of Black artists to implement a re-imagining of it several days later with the support of the original artists.
“The goal for the engagement through this residency is to devise the best way to maintain the Fort Duquesne Bridge site as a destination for healing, strength, and enlightenment,” said Mr. Nesbit, who goes by the artist name Camo. “I see the site as having the potential to grow into a public art mecca for Pittsburgh and beyond. I believe Pittsburgh is ready for this: a place for people to gather and celebrate new voices and a new style of street art and murals.”
Work beginning this week by the artist’s team will include touch-ups to repair damage to the artwork; photo documentation by Emmy-award-winning documentarian Emmai Alaquiva of the mural and portraits on the bridge supports of Black Americans killed by police violence; and the creation of additional artwork. Over the coming months, Mr. Nesbit will work with Riverlife and Office of Public Art to host online community events and surveys to gather feedback about the future of artwork at the site. Large-scale mural development and on-site events to support its creation are planned for April of 2021.
The artist residency and community engagement plan are part of Riverlife’s collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust on “ArtWalk on the Allegheny,” an initiative to bring immersive public art installations to the Allegheny Riverfront between Point State Park and the Strip District. Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust have collaborated since 2015 to produce temporary works of public art in the space under the Fort Duquesne Bridge. The Office of Public Art joined the partnership this year to co-establish the residency for the site.
“In order for Pittsburgh to truly be an inclusive city for all, it is critical that Black artists and Black community members are not just invited into planning processes, but are leading conversation about our city’s public spaces, including its riverfronts,” said Sallyann Kluz, director of the Office of Public Art. “The residency model provides the time and resources for Camo and his team to explore and test ideas, and to gather feedback from the community. This process will result in a city-wide vision for the site that is led by Black artists and Black voices.”
“For the past five years, Riverlife has recognized the potential of the riverfront space under the Fort Duquesne Bridge as a destination for engaging public art,” said Matthew Galluzzo, Riverlife president and CEO. “This summer we witnessed a powerful conversation unfold in that space. Over the coming months, Camo will lead a process that provides a chance to explore the next chapter in that conversation. Riverlife is honored to be a supportive partner to that process, as the community helps shape the future of the site.”
“ArtWalk on the Allegheny” received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). Initial funding for the Fort Duquesne Bridge mural artist residency is provided by Office of Public Art and Riverlife.
About Camerin “Camo” Nesbit
Camerin “Camo” Nesbit is the founder/painter of CamoCustomz. Born October 11, 1992 from Pittsburgh, PA (Homewood), Camo graduated from Schenley High School in 2010 and Mercyhurst University in 2012. Camo has been painting for about 5 years. With just starting with custom sneakers, Camo has now broadened his skills with canvas work, murals, motor vehicles, and almost anything else you can or should paint! See his eye-popping work around the city, and slowly growing in the Miami, New York, Ohio and Los Angeles areas.
About Office of Public Art
The Office of Public Art (OPA) envisions a region in which the creative practices of artists are fully engaged to collaboratively shape the public realm and catalyze community-led change. OPA builds capacity for this work through technical assistance, public programming, artist resources, and civically engaged public art projects. Located at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, OPA serves the thirteen county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Learn more at publicartpittsburgh.org.
Since 1999, Riverlife has worked to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, connecting people through exceptional places and experiences. Riverlife has been a leader in building a community vision for over 15 miles and 880 acres of Downtown riverfront parks, trails, and public open space. For more information, visit riverlifepgh.org.
Top image by Riverlife; artist headshot courtesy Camerin Nesbit
Stephan Bontrager, Riverlife VP of Communications and Outreach
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