Have You Seen Me? A Memorial to Slavery. Artist Talk & Kickstarter Party

have-you-seen-mePittsburgh artist Alexi Morrisey is in the final 2 weeks of funding for his Kickstarter project for “Have You Seen Me? A Memorial to Slavery.” One of the reasons I think this project is worth a look is that it brings together several different types of story telling medias – milk bottles, advertising, oral history – to tell a story.

One of the many interesting things about this project is that it uses the 1980’s “kid on the milk carton” to create a memorial to slavery:

By putting the faces of real slaves on hand-crafted, archival, milk bottles, we are seeking to both repurpose the European obsession with pure white porcelain, as well as pay homage to the slave’s life – by attaching these precious images to a precious material we give the slave a dignified voice in a context historically unavailable to them.


You have not one, but two chances to meet the artist, and learn more about the project in person this week.  I am including the Kickstarter video below, but if you have some time on Tuesday or Friday, come meet Alexi and see his work in person.

Artist Talk: Alexi Morrissey will give an overview of his art practice and discuss in detail his most recent project “Have You Seen Me?”
Tuesday, July 7, 7pm @ Pittsburgh Filmmakers on Melwood
Free, please RSVP on Facebook

“Have You Seen Me?” Fundraiser Party
Friday, July 10, 7-10pm @ Union Pig & Chicken
Free, please RSVP on Facebook

Morrisey is originally from Boston but has been living and working in Pittsburgh for the past 2 decades.  His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.  You can read more about his 2010 Artist Residency at the New Hazlett Theater in this Q & A from Pop City Media.

As of today, “Have You Seen Me?” is only 38% funded, with 11 days to go.  Each bottle is a limited edition and the milk bottles will sell for $400 and up after the Kickstarter campaign.  There are a handful of bottles left at the $300 level.  If $300 is bit much for your art budget this year, Morrisey has some prints of the bottle logo designs starting at $25.

Follow the project on Facebook & Twitter @MilkBottleProj.

Kickstarter Page: http://kck.st/1Usk8Hk

Project Website: milkbottleproject.com

The Oldest House in Pittsburgh is for Sale.

Last Saturday, Urban Hike explored the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood.  I have shared a few of the photos from the hike on Instagram and there have been several comments asking about the John Woods house.

The John Woods House has a long history in Hazelwood and is currently waiting for someone to take a liking to it. The house is currently owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, URA, and is listed on the URA website without a price. I have reached out to a few people to see if I can get some more information about this property.

John woods house URA

Map of the John Woods House from the URA website.

Here is some more information about the history of the John Woods House and Hazelwood:

Architectural Significance of the John Woods House

The website Living Places has a detailed history of both John Woods and the house.  Here is some information about the historical significance of the house:

The Woods House is significant as a rare survivor of a late 18th century vernacular style house. Historians George Swetnam and Helene Smith note that this house along with the Ft. Pitt blockhouse and the Neil house are the only surviving 18th century buildings in Pittsburgh. The late 18th century Robert Neil House is a small, one-and-a-half story log building with stone chinking. Presently located within the Schenley Park Historic District, the house collapsed in 1968 and was dismantled. It was reconstructed by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Timeline of John Woods House & Some Key Hazelwood Dates

Here are some of the dates I came across while researching the John Woods house. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the area.  I thought others might be interested in the dates and articles about Hazelwood.

1792 – John Woods House was built in what is now known as Hazelwood.

1794 – Pittsburgh is incorporated as a borough.

1816 – December 16, 1816 John Woods died in Brunswick Co., Virginia at age 55. [Living Places John Woods House Hazelwood]

1869 – Hazelwood is incorporated into the city of Pittsburgh. [Wikipedia]

1977 – Pittsburgh City Council adds the John Woods House to the list of historic designations. [Wikipedia]

1988 – Theresa Curran Gallagher spends the summer working at the LTV Coke Works. The Post-Gazette published her memories of working at the mill in a 2015 article that describes some of the chracter of the mill and Hazelwood in the 1980s. [Local Dispatch: Dirty Hazelwood mill produced splendid memories, Post-Gazette, March 20, 2015]

1993 – The John Woods House is added to the National Register of Historic Places. [John Woods House]

1998 – Hazelwood Coke Works closes.

1999 – The stacks from the LTV site are demolished. [Farewell to the city’s last Big Steel plant, Post-Gazette, July 12, 1999]

2001 – The URA buys the John Woods House from Andre Keith Houser for $25,000. [Allegheny County Real Estate website]

2002 – Almono partners purchases the formed LTV Steel site in Hazelwood.

Hazelwood Happenings: ALMONO, Greenway, Hazzelwood Summer Marketplace

Screenshot from the p4Pittsburgh website about Hazelwood Greenway

Screenshot from the p4Pittsburgh website about Hazelwood Greenway

Now could be a the perfect time for the John Woods house to take on a new role in the neighborhood.  Here are just some of the things happening in Hazelwood today that are important to what this neighborhood will look like in the future:

  • The former site of the LTV steel works is now refered to as the Almono site (Almono is short for Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio) will begin the first phase of development later this summer.
  • The John Woods House is located right next to the Hazelwood Greenway.  There isn’t much about the Hazelwood Greenway online but from what I understand it is a quasi-park like designation.  A greenway is a bunch of land, much of which is owned by the city, which has been set aside, but it isn’t considered a park.
  • Another exciting development for Hazelwood is the Summer Marketplace.  On Saturdays during the summer local food vendors are setting up shop on Second Avenue. Hazelwood has not had a grocery story since Dimperio’s Market closed in January 2009 (Thieves cause Hazelwood grocery to give up, Post-Gazette, December 23, 2008).

Google Street view photo of John Woods House from August 2014.

Google Street view photo of John Woods House from August 2014.

More information about Hazelwood

How would you like to see the John Woods House repurosed? Know of other Hazelwood resources we should include in this list?  Leave a comment below.


Three weeks ago, IheartPGH was featured in the Tribune Review’s article about the #MySummerin5words – Tweets connect Pittsburghers with the world, each other in 5 words (Tribune Review, May 27, 2015).  It took me a few tries but here is how I summarized my summer in 5 words:

I also posted a tweet that sums up a Pittsburgh summer with 5 Twitter accounts:


What 5 words and/or Twitter accounts would you use to summarize your Pittsburgh summer? Share your answers with the #PGHsummerin5words.

Digging into the Data on Vacant Land on the North Side #HackforChange

Screenshot of vacant parcels from GTECH data set.

Screenshot of vacant parcels from GTECH data set.

Today, Saturday, June 6, 2015 is the National Day of Civic Hacking. Civic Hacking events are being held all over the country and here in Pittsburgh. For the afternoon we have split into groups and are working on different challenges with open data sets.  My group is working on comparing two data sets about vacant land on the North Side.  Here are some of the things we learned from the data about vacant land on the North Side.

  • Data Set 1: Survey of Vacant Land on the North Side conducted by GTECH. You can see a map of the GTECH data here.
  • Data Set 2: Allegheny County Assessment Data

Total Parcels of Land on the North Side = 23,000

Vacant Lots on the North Side:

Data Set: # of vacant parcels:
GTECH 6089
Allegheny County 8172
difference 2083





How many properties in the North Side are currently vacant but the Allegheny County Assessment file does not list that parcel as vacant?

  • 622 properties in the North Side are currently vacant but not listed by Allegheny County as vacant.


Walk, Don’t Drive Down Penn Ave. On Sunday Morning

I took this photo at the 2014 OpenStreetsPGH event.

I took this photo at the 2014 OpenStreetsPGH event.

This Sunday, May 31st, 2015, the streets from Market Square to Lawrenceville will be closed to traffic and open to people. Don’t panic, this is a good road closure.  Last year Open Streets spanned from Market Square across the Roberto Clemente Bridge.  This year, OpenStreetsPGH will be over 3 miles long from Market Square to Lawrenceville.

Paris, Bogata, Tucson and now Pittsburgh

Español: Ciclovia em Bogotá

Español: Ciclovia em Bogotá (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the ideas behind Open Streets is to give people an opportunity to interact with their city in a way that is not centred around cars.  This is an idea that has been taking hold in other cities around the globe.  The Paris Respire, which translates to Paris Breathes, closes certain roads to traffic on Sundays from 9am-5pm.  Cyclovia Tuscon takes place twice a year and has quite a following.  (BTW if you are interested in learning more about cycling in Tucson, check out Bicycle Tucson @BicycleTucson a great blog run by Mike McKisson who was kind enough to give me a tour of Tucson by bike when I was there in January.)

Open Streets PGH Locations & Schedule for May 31, 2015

The streets are closed to traffic and open for fun from 8am to Noon on Sunday.  There are events planned for the following locations along the route:

  • Market Sqaure
  • 8th & Penn
  • 23rd & Penn
  • Leslie Park (on Butler Street in Lawrenceville)

You can see the entire OpenStreetsPGH Schedule for Sunday, May 31, 2015 here.

Five Stops to Make at Open Streets PGH

With so many events happening on Sunday, its hard to know where to start.  Here are five events that we think you should check out along the route.

1. Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer Pop Up Shop at Wildcard

Pittsburgh’s most awesome gift shop has invited their vintage selling friends to set up shop on Sunday am.  Stop by and pick up some old and new gifts for an old friend and make some new friends with these vintage lovers.  Visit the Facebook event for more info.

Follow: @pghvintagemixer @wildcardpgh

2. The City Spree 5K & 10K

The City Spree is a unique twist on your road race.  You and your team pick your own course to run. Use the code OPENSTREETSPGH to register for free.  Register online here.  The 5k run is sold out but there is still time to register for the 10k run or the 5k walk

  • 9am – 10k Run
  • 9:30am 5k Walk
  • 10am 5k Run SOLD OUT

Follow: @CityofPlay

3. $5 Coffee + Fresh Cinnamon Roll @ Franktuary

Stop by Frankturary before brunch for coffee and a cinnamon roll from 8am-10am. Regular brunch begins at 10 am.

Follow: @Franktuary

4. Walking Tour of Downtown with PHLF

Learn about this history of downtown Pittsburgh on a walking tour led by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Meet in front of the CLOCK in Market Square 10am.

Follow: @PHLF

5. Try Out the New Pittsburgh Bike Share

t-pittsburgh-bike-share-logoYou’ve seen the stations popping up.  The bikes are being rolled out today and the brand new Pittsburgh bike share, which is named HealthyRidePGH launches on Sunday. I’ve had the chance to try out bike shares in Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee and New York.  This is great news for the ‘burgh.  If you haven’t had a chance to use a bike share before, the bike share lets you “rent” a bike at one station and return the bike to another station. You can read more about how HealthyRidePGH works here.  A 30 minute ride is $2 or you can sign up for a monthly membership for $12 or $20 a month.

Follow: @HealthyRidePGH

Getting Around Town on Sunday Morning

OpenStreetsPGH has partnered with ZTrip app.  Use code PGHTours to get $15 off.  (If you want to try Uber or Lyft use code IHEARTPGH to get your first ride free.)

OpenStreetsPGH on Pittsburgh Today Live

Kim O’Dell from the Heinz Foundations and Mike Carroll from Bike Pittsburgh were on KDKA’s Pittbsurgh Today Live earlier this week to give a preview of OpenStreetsPGH.

Follow: @Pgh_Today_Live @BikePGH @KimODell412