Center for Creativity wants you to love those PARK(ing) spaces


Don’t be too surprised if you see a parking space transformed with a canoe next to a small rock garden this September.


Another information session will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. May 10 in the Center for Creativity, located in the basement of the University Store on Fifth. Food and drinks will be provided. Register here.

These and other creative projects are all a part of the Center of Creativity’s annual PARK(ing) Day event. The center is encouraging Pitt schools, departments and student organizations to participate in this project designed to challenge people to temporarily redesign parking spaces into creative spaces of artistic expression.

This is the third year the Center of Creativity has urged participation in this annual, one-day international event. PARK(ing) Day is designated as the third Friday of September; this year that’s Sept. 20.

Mike Campbell, a workshop assistant with the center, led the first information session on April 18. There, he encouraged attendees from various Pitt departments to come up with some creative, innovative ways to use these parking spaces.

“The event is an opportunity to have people think about how important public spaces are and how parks improve our communities,” Campbell said.

In the past, the event has attracted participation from 20 to 25 departments and student organizations, such as the provost’s office, the Innovation Institute, the Center for Health Equity, the Pitt Police department and more.

Participants turned ordinary metered parking spaces into impromptu parks, gardens, yoga studios and performance spaces. Others used it as an opportunity to get the word out about their respective departments.

PARK(ing) Day began in 2005 when an artist collective in San Francisco, named Rebar, noticed underused parking spaces spread out across the city. They decided to transform these empty spaces into temporary art installations, small “parks” and more, Campbell said. The idea soon spread to several cities and countries.

Map of spot for PARK(ing) Day.Pitt’s PARK(ing) Day was first held in parking spaces in Schenley Quad, before it was redone last year as a car-less, student-centered space.

Then, it relocated to the 20 metered spaces located next to Pitt’s Litchfield Towers between Bouquet Street and Oakland Avenue. The center is planning to use this spot again, but Campbell said they are working with the city of Pittsburgh to get more visible spaces in front of the Cathedral of Learning or around Schenley Plaza to improve community participation.

Participation in the event will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those interested in joining PARK(ing) Day this year can sign up, for free, on a website that should go live sometime in mid-May, Campbell said.

Participants will be required to have their pitches for their parking spaces finished by August. They also can use available materials in the Center For Creativity and any purchased items to decorate their space.

There are a few restrictions on activities for these spaces, Campbell said. There can’t be open flames or grills, and any potential art activities must be temporary and able to be washed away with rain.

The center is asking participants to shy away from “table activities” because it “inhibits the interactivity” of the event. They’re encouraging departments to really flex their creative muscles.  But the center also will have a limited number of tables for groups to use, if they wish to use them anyway.

Campbell encouraged first-time participants to “not think too hard” about ideas for their spaces.

“Just try and have fun with it,” Campbell said. “Try and play around with different ideas.”

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.


The Center for Creativity will be hosting some “creative lunchtime sessions” this May and June for faculty and staff.

The sessions are hands-on with workshop staff guiding participants through the projects. Sessions will feature sculpting, felting, paper marbling and more.

All materials are provided by the center. Center staff will offer demos at 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m., but participants can schedule to come into the center, located in the basement of

the University Store on Fifth, any time between noon and 1:30 p.m.

For more information on these workshops and other sessions, visit the Center for Creativity’s website.

The dates of the sessions and registration links are as follows:

May 14: Paper Marbling  |  Register  

May 23: Felting  |  Register

May 28: Upcycled Yard Sculpture  |  Register

June 6: Pop-Up Cards  |  Register

June 11: Felting  |  Register

June 20: Upcycled Yard Sculpture  |  Register