Public art on Oakland campus takes center stage at Jan. 30 event


Sometimes the stars align, and on Pitt’s Oakland campus, the stars are focusing on public art.

On Jan. 30, Provost Ann Cudd and Greg Scott, senior vice chancellor for Business and Operation, will kick off a public art initiative, as part of the Year of Creativity, to draw attention to what Pitt has and what new art the University should possibly acquire.

Separately, the chancellor’s office had given a $49,000 research grant to the University Art Gallery, University Library System, Frick Fine Arts Library and Department of the History of Art and Architecture last semester to begin a pilot project to research and catalog all public art at Pitt and the many pieces inside several campus buildings

Now the two groups have joined together, with members of the research team joining the steering committee for the public art initiative.

The Art on Campus committee is headed by Nancy Tannery, assistant provost, and Beth McGrew,  associate vice chancellor, Planning, Design and Real Estate. They’re currently setting some of the parameters for what they’ll look at and developing protocols. “This is the very beginning of this process,” Tannery said.

The Jan. 30 event will take place near the “Light Up” sculpture on the Posvar Plaza. Cudd and Scott will talk about why having art on campus is important and will participate in a “creative water pouring” (think water activating invisible paint).

Those in attendance will be given cards to write their opinions on what type of art Pitt should be looking to add to campus.

A website also is being developed that will have photos and descriptions of the University’s public art, supplied by the research group. Look for it later at

“The nice thing is that the website will have the art that is existing on campus that people may not even have paid attention to,” McGrew said.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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