#tbd: Paint a mural during the Three Rivers Arts Festival

The Three Rivers Arts Festival opened yesterday. Lots of people are planning on coming down to see the art, but come between 11am and 2pm from today through June 14th and you can help create it. Muralist Kim Beck has begun stenciling an 850-foot mural underneath the Fort Duquesne Bridge and is ready for volunteers to help fill in the “paint by number” with black, white and gray paint.
Looking at her Tumblr, you can see that Kim Beck (previously featured on I Heart PGH) has a fascination with the mundane and ephemeral aspects of the urban landscape, like billboards, sky writing and plastic security fencing. She carries that idea forward here with the mural that depicts common, hardy, native plants. In other words, weeds. I like the project because it works at different scales; up close I think it will read as almost abstract because of how large the plants will be, and from the other side of the river it will be cool to see weeds sprouting at the foot of the city.
If you miss the window to help with the mural, you should still stop by and see some of the items on display. Riverlife has partnered with the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Architects to showcase past proposals by young architects on how to better utilize “urban voids”. The proposals were submissions to the Young Architects Studio Competition over the last few years, which was created as a way for young architects to express themselves and be involved in Design Pittsburgh, an annual event held by the AIA to celebrate architecture and give awards for design. The exhibit will last all summer, and Riverlife is planning events in the outdoor exhibit for every Wednesday through the end of August. Stay tuned for more details on those events as they become available. The mural and gallery are collectively known as #tbd, so follow Riverlife on Twitter, search that hashtag or just keep reading I Heart PGH.
So come down and create some art of your own, this weekend or any day until the Arts Festival closes on June 14th. Between 11am and 2pm you can help paint a mural under the Fort Duquesne Bridge. If you’re walking, it’s most easily accessed by walking towards the Point fountain and turning right after walking under the bridge. When you hit the Allegheny River, walk upstream until you see people with brushes and rollers. See you there.

Celebrate space with Yuri’s Night Pittsburgh tomorrow!

Yuri's Night Pittsburgh

Space is pretty awesome. Blockbuster hits like Gravity and Interstellar, privatized space exploration such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, and incentives like Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, which awards $30 million to the first private company to send a robot to the moon, have renewed our interest beyond our atmosphere.

And Pittsburgh has great representation with local NewSpace company Astrobotic leading the race to the moon, having won initial milestones of the Lunar XPRIZE and currently accepting payloads to be sent to space on their first launch.

And lucky you– you can get in on some space-related fun tomorrow evening with Yuri’s Night! From 4-7pm (don’t worry, plenty of time before the Game of Thrones season premiere) the Livermore will be hosting Pittsburgh’s celebration of mankind’s achievements in space, named after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin who was the first human to journey into outer space.

The event is totally free to attend, and there will be space-related drinks, stellar beats, complimentary snacks, and tons of space talk, videos, and fun. The event will also serve as the afterparty for the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, brought to Pittsburgh by SpaceChallenges.org, a local non-profit aiming to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education through charitable competitions using space exploration as inspiration.

What: Yuri’s Night Pittsburgh
When: Sunday, April 12, 2015 from 4-7pm
Where: The Livermore, 124 S Highland Ave
Cost: Free, including light appetizers

CHS Gift Project Party @ Houghs – Will YOU Help Us Reach Our Goal?

CHS-2014-cookies-circleUPDATE: If we raise all $5000 by 8pm 12/11/2014 – I’ll buy your first beer at Hough’s tonight. Get the details here

Today, Thursday December 11, 2014 is the party for the CHS Holiday Gift Project at Houghs.  I am not yet ready to celebrate because we have only raised 20% of the $5000 needed for 2014.  While I look forward to drinking a beer with you this evening, I’m more interested in making sure we turn that 20% into 100%!

Click here to donate $10 to the 2014 CHS Holiday Gift Project 

CHS Holiday Gift By The Numbers

In 2013 – 74 people donated to the CHS Holiday Gift Project on Crowdrise.  This year, I have a personal goal of doubling that number because I would like to use this as an opportunity to share information about CHS with more Pittsburghers.

As of 10 am, 34 people have donated and we have raised $1100.

Three Reasons Why I am Supporting the 2014 CHS Holiday Gift Project

I am supporting the CHS Holiday Gift Project again this year because…

  • Mental illness needs to be talked about … I think that mental illness is a real issue in Pittsburgh and cross the country, and that CHS is doing some very important work to help improve the lives of Pittsburghers who are struggling with mental illness.
  • No one should be alone on Christmas… The CHS Holiday Gift Project provides some holiday cheer for some people that would not be receiving anything this holiday season.  Most holiday gift projects provide gifts for kids and seniors.  CHS works with people of all ages – the CHS Holiday Gift Project was started because many of the people that CHS works with were left out of Christmas cheer.
  • Tweet for good… This is a great opportunity to engage the readers of IheartPGH and the entire Pittsburgh social media community for a good cause.

Click here to donate $10 to the 2014 CHS Holiday Gift Project 

If you would like to help….

  • Donate $10 TODAY
  • Invite 5 Friends to donate $10 (you can even create a fundraising team)
  • Share this blog post with your followers on Twitter
Will YOU help @IheartPGH raise $$$ for #CHxmaS? Donate $10 TODAY

Click To Tweet

The other reason I love the CHS Holiday Gift Project is that it is a chance for local bloggers to work together to create more good in the Pittsburgh community.  I am so impressed with my fellow bloggers who have supported this in years past and the new bloggers that have stepped up for the first time this year.

Check out how local bloggers are working together to raise $5000 for Community Human Services, a Pittsburgh non-profit that works on issues of homelessness and mental illness in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. You can support the CHS Holiday Gift Project by donating online HERE

10 Ways to Celebrate #GivingTuesday in Pittsburgh

Happy GivingTuesday! Giving Tuesday is a movement to make the first Tuesday in December a day of giving.

#GivingTuesday was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Together, with a team of influencers and founding partners, we launched a global movement that has engaged over 10,000 organizations worldwide.

#IgivePGH – Share Your Pittsburgh Giving Stories

We’re using the hashtag #IgivePGH to share links about local #GivingTuesday Stories.  We want to know what local nonprofit organizations you support and why!


10 Ways to Celebrate #GivingTuesday in Pittsburgh

Here is a brief list of ways you can give to Pittsburgh organizations by giving money, volunteering your time, filling out a survey or donating your status message to a cause.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list – we know there are many other amazing organizations that need your support.  Please share your favorite Pittsburgh nonprofits by leaving a comment below.

1. Donate $10 to the CHS Holiday Gift Project – $

CHS-holiday-gift-projectI had to lead with this project because it is near and dear to my heart and we are WAY behind on fundraising this year.  We are helping to raise money so the CHS can provide holiday gifts for the Pittsburghers that they serve.  CHS provides a wide range of social services around homeslessness and mental health.  Many of the Pittsburghers that CHS works with fall outside of the scope of other holiday gift programs.  So the dollars raised from this effort go to provide a small gift to a person who would likely be overlooked this holiday season. You can read more about the CHS Holiday Gift Project here.
Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise


2. Volunteer to Help the Food Bank at the Holiday Market in Market Square – FREE

pgh-food-bankThe Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank has already rasied $10,000 but needs some more volunteers to help at the Photos with Santa booth in Market Square.  If you have a few hours to spare on 12/3, 12/10, 12/11, 12/12, 12/15, 12/16, 12/22 or 12/23 sign up for a volunteer shift here.

Holiday Market Volunteers will be stationed outside throughout the market, encouraging folks to stop in and get a free photo with Santa. Volunteers will be proving patrons with ‘Santa Photo Cards’ in exchange for a suggested $5 donation or a bag of non-perishable groceries. Food Bank staff members are on-site to oversee each volunteer shift.

Follow: @FBVolOps @PGHFoodBank

3. Make a Loan to a KivaZip Pittsburgh Business – $

kiva-zip-pghKiva offers small businesses in the US the ability to raise money through person-to-person loans with 0% interest.  When you loan money to a small business on KivaZip the borrower pays you back and you can use that money to make new loans to other KivaZip Businesses.  The follow Pittsburgh businesses are currently raising money:

Follow: @KivaCityPgh

4. Shop at Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse for Great Gift Wrap

pccr-giftwrapPittsburgh Center for Creative reuse makes the list because it is one of the best kept secrets in town for gift wrapping.  Pittsburgh Center for Creative reuse takes donations of all sorts of things and resells them to the public to be reused in many ways.  They have a large selection of gift wrap, gift bags and ribbons as well as all sorts of other things that would be perfect for wrapping your gifts.

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is open 7 days a week from 11am-6pm and is located right next to Construction Junction.

You can also support Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse by donating online here.

Save the date – Franktuary host a benefit night for PCCR on Wednesday, December 10! Details available on the Facebook event.

Follow: @creative_reuse

5. Double Your Donation To Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh

venture-outdoors-logoVenture Outdoors is a Pittsburgh non-profit that works to make it easier for Pittbsurghers to get outside.  What you might not know is that Venture Outdoors is the organization that runs Kayak Pittsburgh which rents kayaks at both the North Shore and North Park.  All end of year donations to Venture Outdoors are being matched dollar for dollar (upto $5000).  If you like the outdoors consider making a donation to Venture Outdoors to make sure they are able to take advantage of all of the matching funds. Click here to donate.


6. Donate Your Status Message to the CHS Holiday Gift Project – FREE

Help spread the word by pledging your Twitter and/or Facebook status message to post about the CHS Holiday Gift Project.  We’re using the tool Thunderclap to spread the word about the CHS Holiday Gift Project.  Even if you can’t make a donation, you can donate a tweet!

7. Double the # of Square Feet of Reclaimed Vacant Land – $

reclaim1GTECH is a Pittsburgh nonprofit that is quietly working to make some of the ugliest spots in Pittsburgh much prettier.  The GTECH Reclaim program works with community organizations, neighbors and Pittsburghers to reclaim and reimagine vacant spots around town.

GTECH is also running a dollar for dollar match on donations through the end of the year (upto $7000).

Here is how your gift makes a difference:

  • $50: Reclaims 600 ft2 of vacant land in an Ambassador’s community
  • $100: Covers the cost of a single Ambassador course

Donate to GTECH this December and help to double the number of square feet of reclaimed vacant land in Pittsburgh.  Click here to donate.

Follow: @GTECHstrategies

8. Give Your Thoughts on the Produce Terminal Buildings in the Strip District

wwypiconGive a few minutes of your time to take a brief survey about how the community might use the produce terminal buildings in the Strip District.  ProducePgh is looking to create a larger conversation amongst artists, small businesses and Pittsburghers in general about how the produce terminal buildings could be used by the public in the future.  Take the survey here.

Follow: @ProducePGH

9. Register to Vote – FREE

Give yourself the gift of community engagement.  Take a moment to regsiter to vote or to update your voter registration.  We usually only think/blog/tweet about voting around election day, but now is the ideal time to register or update your voter registration.

Sign up for TurboVote – which is a free service that will send you a text or email reminder about election day.  TurboVote will remind you about upcoming elections and check in to see if you need to update your registration.  Its free, its easy and they won’t send you any extra stuff.


10. Clean Out Your Closets for a Good Cause – FREE

thredup-cleanout-bagHere is a super easy way to turn your extra women and kids clothing into cash – meet ThredUp.  ThredUp will mail you a free closet clean out bag, you fill it up with your unwanted clothing and send it back, the clean out bag comes with a prepaid shipping label.  We set up a ThredUp Fundraising group for the CHS Holiday Gift Project but you can choose to donate they money to any organization you choose, or use it to shop local.  It takes a few weeks for ThredUp to process your clean out bag so you might not get the funds until 2015.  But it is still an easy way to earn some cash for giving in the new year.

Order your free ThredUp Closet Clean Out bag here.

A Dozen Photos from the 2014 Dirty Dozen & A Delicious Idea for a New Event

For the third year in a row I spent the Saturday after Thanksgiving watching the Dirty Dozen bike race – you can get all of the details on the race from our previous post here.  I am proud to say that my spectating team has recruited a few more participants this year.  We make it to hill #4 and hill #9 with a stop for brunch in between.

An Idea for a New “Sporting” Event – The Delicious Dozen

While 200+ of Pittsburghs most hard core cyclists were making their way around the city, my spectating team was exercising their brain power and came up with a spectacular event that even non cyclists could get excited about.  The proposed event is The Delicious Dozen – a tour of 13 of the cities most spectacular bakerys where we will sample the finest baked goods that Pittsburgh has to offer.  If you are interested in seeing The Delicious Dozen become a reality please take a moment to sign up here.

A Dozen Photos from the 2014 Dirty Dozen Bike Race

Here are some highlights from the 2014 Dirty Dozen bicycle race from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

Photos and tweets from the 2014 Dirty Dozen bike race