8 Public Artworks Every Pittsburgher Should See

Andrew Moss, founder of mossArchitects, shares with TABLE readers his recommendations for public art in Pittsburgh.

The topic of public art and architecture is near and dear to me not only as an architect but also as the recent-past president of the City of Pittsburgh Art Commission, which is charged with reviewing and overseeing the collection of art owned by the city. Public art is an important aspect of a city’s shared experience; it is also a commentary of what we as a community see as a reflection of our collective self. The following is a list of artworks that I recommend every Pittsburgher to go see and experience.

Region in Suspension, Oval Continuity, and Branched Form by Thaddeus Mosley

Eastside Bond Plaza
This is a series of three sculptures located at Eastside Bond Plaza in East Liberty by an internationally recognized local Pittsburgh artist.

Scaife Gallery, Plaza, and Carnegie Sculpture by Edward Larrabee Barnes, Architect; Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect; and Richard Serra, Sculptor

Carnegie Museum of Art
This is a three-in-one recommendation, including a building, a landscape, and a steel sculpture. The Scaife Gallery addition to the Carnegie Museum of Art is one of my favorite places in Pittsburgh, with an architectural form and experience unlike any others. The modern building is a sensitive addition to the original Beaux-Arts museum and is accompanied by the plaza, fountain, and Serra sculpture on Forbes Avenue, as well as an interior courtyard. You can often find me dining in the Carnegie Café just so that I may enjoy the spaces created by this building, landscape, and sculpture.

Untitled Mosaic by Virgil Cantini

Steel Plaza T Station, Downtown
A 28-panel glass-tile mosaic that was recently saved from demolition as part of the I-579 overpass project. The mural is planned to be reinstalled in the Steel Plaza T Station by the end of 2023.

Arts in the Parks: Grit, Glow, Flow by OOA Designs (Oreen Cohen & Alison Zapata)

The City of Pittsburgh Planning Department recently undertook a program to expand public art projects throughout the city parks with eight new public art commissions. One of these is located on Mt. Washington at the corner of Grandview Avenue and PJ McArdle Roadway. The steel sculpture is fabricated out of scrap metal and donations from community members accompanied by a story of Pittsburgh women and their roles with our industrial past.

View of Carnegie Museum of Art from Forbes Avenue, 1974, Carnegie Museum of Art Archives

Pittsburgh by Alexander Calder

Pittsburgh International Airport
The amazing suspended mobile sculpture by world-renowned sculptor Alexander Calder has graced the Pittsburgh Airport since 1960. While prominently displayed for decades many of the hundreds of thousands of travelers pass underneath it daily without acknowledging its presence and grandeur of delicate sculptural balance. Next time you pass through our airport take a moment and look up.

The Pennsylvanian Rotunda by Daniel Burnham

Walking up to this Downtown former train-station-turned residence building, you encounter one of the most beautiful spaces in our city as you walk under the arches of the entry rotunda.

Original Alcoa Building by Harrison & Abramovitz

The Downtown building is wonderful, but the entry glass and aluminum pavilion along Sixth Avenue is particularly special, providing a front door onto Mellon Square.

Steelcityscape by Aaronel deRoy Gruber

Mellon Park
This is a dynamic steel sculpture by a Pittsburgh artist better known for her colorful pressure-formed Plexiglas sculptures and black-and-white photography. The sculpture is located in Mellon Park near Penn Avenue, where thousands of vehicles pass by every day. However, I suspect that most people overlook this wonderful piece of public art. Take some time to stroll through Mellon Park, where you can approach and experience this sculpture as well as several other wonderful artworks.

Story by Andrew Moss

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