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New Art Intersection Debuts in Shadyside



The City of Pittsburgh is pleased to present a new artist-designed intersection project, created in partnership between the Office of Pittsburgh City Councilperson Erika Strassburger and the Public Art and Civic Design Division (PA+CD) of the Department of City Planning (DCP). The project is located within the intersection of Ellsworth Avenue and Maryland Avenue in Shadyside.

The project was born out of discussions for traffic improvements for this area of the city. Councilperson Strassburger and the DCP became interested in cultural placemaking in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a landmark event in the history of the LGBQTIA+ community’s ongoing struggle for equal rights. Funding for the project came from the City of Pittsburgh through Councilperson Strassburger’s office.


Project planning included staff from different City Departments, representatives of the LGBTQIA+ community, and Ellsworth business owners to discuss ideas for interventions in this area that celebrate Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community and create a new landmark for Shadyside and the entire city in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Consideration was also given to the design aesthetics for the artwork and the importance of safety in the intersection.  


“This artist-designed intersection project will enliven the Ellsworth Avenue business district, celebrate Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community, and honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising,” said Councilperson Strassburger. “Leonardo Moleiro’s mural and use of his signature ‘Totems’ helps to promote inclusion and quite literally, intersectionality, between a group whose struggle continues fifty years after the landmark event. This project will help to remind us that we cannot stop until all groups can live in peace and harmony.”


On March 4th, 2019, PA+CD in collaboration with the City’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 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 project description and contextual presence; how the project promotes inclusiveness and uses art and/or design to visually impact the viewer’s experience; and the applicant’s qualifications, experience, and references.

Ultimately, the award was granted to Leonardo Moleiro, an internationally renowned artist based in Pasadena, Calif. Mr. Moleiro describes himself as a graphic cubist. His work combines graphic forms and color palettes to create spatially balanced compositions. For this project, Mr. Moleiro proposed TOTEM, a concept based on a magic element, where complementary colors and shapes integrate with the rainbow pride flag and join each other in a positive balance, thus creating a union representing the celebration of differences in a harmonious way.


Moleiro's team for artistic technical support was Dario Posada and Ernesto Sanchez Luckert.

In this project, as with its other art and design projects, the City of Pittsburgh’s departments are working together with the hope of not only nurturing the talent of artists and designers, but also adding to the aesthetics and feel of city neighborhoods and striving for inclusion in the process.

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