(PITTSBURGH, PA) Dec. 14 - Walnut Capital today announced that they will be bringing on another artist to collaborate with local school students -- extending their seasonal art installations as part of their new initiative, ‘Grow with Walnut’, that invests in community-inspired initiatives. The public art program debuted last summer with local artist Janel Young’s ‘Heroes on the Horizon’ exhibit that transformed two large 10x18 panels located at Galley at Bakery Square’s exterior into a message of hope. To celebrate the inaugural art project, Walnut Capital also announced that Young’s exhibit will be permanently installed at Bakery Square’s parking garage entrance.
"The decision to extend this program was driven by positive feedback from our community and schools. Janel Young's remarkable installation made Bakery Square feel like more of a home and a community for so many of our neighbors. This public art concept was always envisioned as a 'living and breathing' model that would see new life cycles iwth artists engaging constantly with children to inspire their creativity and build more community connections," said Gregg Perelman, Walnut Capital's Founding CEO.
The program, funded by the developers 'Grow with Walnut' initiative, launched last winter with a national call for artists that resulted in 85 qualified applicants from 24 states. An advisory panel that included local art experts and community representation from Larimer Consensus Group, selected Janel Young and Lori Hepner for the artist residencies. BUt today, as Hepner readies to install her art, Walnut Capital announced that they will extend the program and its funing into the next summer with a youth-inspired installation by Curtis Reaves. Reaves, like the other artists, will work with students from Pittsburgh Public School Lincoln and The Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh through his residency.
Reaves, whose artistry involves both video and photography as a vehicle for social change and empowerment, is the first Black artist to have his art showcased at the Senator John Heinz History Center and his recent installation 'Remnant of Promise' was showcased at the Carrie Blast Furnaces illuminated the contributions and plight of Black steelworkers.
"We are very happy to see this program continue with artist Curtis Reaves. I liked what he said in his interview about working with kids and schools on their level of resources and abilities and using photography, found objects, and other methods to make art accessible to all. This is the kind of thinking and practice we need in Larimer, and I just have the highest hopes for Curtis and his project. I can't wait to see what happens," said Donna Jackson, Board of Directors Chair of the Larimer Consensus Group.
Upcoming Community Art Installations
Lori Hepner has completed her residency with school students and will be installing her art this week, to be viewed for six-months. Walnut Capital will be holding a community celebration to debut her art on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 1pm. Curtis Reaves will begin working with students this spring and install his work residency in the Spring of 2022, and the plans to install his work on the Bakery Square Galley building in June, 2022 (to be on display 6-12 months).
About Walnut Capital
Walnut Capital, a locally-owned real estate development, residential and commercial property management company, creates world class sustainable developments that vuild communities and support regional job growth. Known for transforming the vacant Nabisco Factory in Larimer to the 20-acre $500 million Bakery Square mixed-use development, their efforts to create a flourishing center of culture and connectivity for all Pittsburghers is shown in their support of several community-inspired initiatives, including their 'Grow with Walnut' charitable program. From for-sale affordable housing, to workforce development, community public art and the funding of public school scholarship programs -- Walnut Capital works with community groups to ensure all neighbors have multiple ways to connect to wealth generating opportunities. Its developments are built with 100% union labor and maximize green public spaces.
About the Artists
Janel Young is a Pittsburgh-raised/based artist who further developed her work in New York City over the course of five years, focusing on murals, abstract, and landscape works. Her style contains blending, bright colors and geometric inspiration. She found a love for painting after being selected as part of a mural painting team in seventh grade, and later completed an International Baccalcureate art program in 2009. She moved to New York in 2013 after graduating from Penn State University (B.S. Marketing and International Studies) and held onto art for self-therapy, expression and activism. Young returned to her hometown in 2019 after transitioning into her full-time artist practice to complete Pittsburgh's first art basketball court: The Home Court Advantage Project. Janel's artwork has been recognized locally and internationally, included being awarded a proclamation by the City of Pittsburgh, within AfroPunk.com, The Apollo Theatre, Ebony Magazine, at the 2020 U.S. Open Tennsi Tournament, Verizon Media, Yahoo.com, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and RAW Artists shows in New York City and Sydney, Australia. (www.janel-young.com).
Lori Hepner is a Pittsburgh-based new media artist working primarily in new media performance, fine art photography, and community centered public art projects. She has spect considerable time over the last five years in community centered artist residencies in two Pittsburgh neighborhoods, in a small Arctic Community in coastal Norway, as well as residencies in Finland, Iceland, and the Canadian Yukon. Lori was featured in the WQED documentary, Visible, featuring five female artists from Pittsburgh, in Spring 2018 (https://www.wqed.org/visible). A collaboration with singer Kendra Ross has manifested itself into live performance as Hepner & Ross in Intersection*ology, which has been awarded grants by the Heinz Endowments, the 2018 Carnegie International, and The Opportunity Fund. they have performed in Durban, South Africa, Richmond, Virginia, San Antonio, Texa, and Pittsburgh. Lori's personal photographic work has been featured in Time Magazine, Wired, and Next Level Magazine and has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, in photo fesivals in the Netherlands, China & Spain. One of her Twitter portraits from Status Symbols, as well as her performative photographs from #Crowdsourced Lanscapes project, will be sent to live on the moon in 2021 int eh mini-museum that is the MoonArk. Hepner holds an MFA in Digital Media from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a Professor of Integrative Arts at Penn State University's Greater Allegheny campus. (www.lorihepner.com)
Curtis Reaves, Pittsburgh area-based photographer, thoughtfully creates public installations, and sustainable Fine Art photography for residential and commercial environments. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States, including the Chicago Historical Society, the Senator John Heinz History Center, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The foundation and uniqueness of his work is influenced by the process of envisioning the countless possibilities unearthed in discarded materials. Curtis is inspired by shapes, textures and composition, and he finds the most interesting things in unexpected places. Reaves utilizes film, digital processes, and computer technology to transform his work into poetic abstract imagery. Curtis also works as a Rostered Artist with the State of Pennsylvania, as an Arts Educator in schools throughout the Commonwealth. As a Teaching Artist, Reaves utilizes video and photography as a vehicle for artistic expression, and social change with community youth.
In 2009, Reaves co-founded his passion project, C-clear Empowerment Inc. C-clear is a 501c3 non-profit community and economic development corporation located in the City of McKeesport. C-clear provides youth and adult employement and training programs centered around the arts, technology and entrepeneurial initiatives. For more information about Curtis Reaves, please visit www.curtisreaves.co