A Transformed Penn Avenue

A market and shopping place by day; a bustling creative gallery expo by night. Penn Avenue has transformed into a hub of creative energy through efforts by the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative.



(page 2 of 2)


At Unblurred, a dozen galleries open their doors; heavyweights like the Pittsburgh Glass Center and Dance Alloy Theater (both headquartered on Penn Avenue) hold interactive, participatory events; coffee shops like the ultra-popular Quiet Storm bring music and spoken word; restaurants and cafes offer tastes of their fare—and more.

Other than downtown’s Gallery Crawl, its the only regular neighborhood-wide arts event in town.

“There is a very, very wide range of art,” Morris says. “There is something for everyone. Every gallery has its own little following, and you get some spillage into the next gallery.”

At a recent Unblurred, a new neighbor got in the act: acclaimed restaurant Salt of the Earth. Since opening in the fall, Salt instantly became one of the most-talked-about spots in town; after being open for less than six months, the small restaurant on Penn Avenue attracted enough attention that Kevin Sousa, its chef and co-owner, was named a semifinalist in the prestigious James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards.

Salt is, however, very much a part of the neighborhood. At April’s Unblurred, staff members hung out at the Glass Lofts and handed out samples. It’s not very surprising that they would get in on the act: Previously, Sousa was a member of the Friendship Development Associates board.

“He’s been a part of the process, and he’s been an asset to the community,” Morris says.

Within a few months, PAAI will decide what’s next, and development will continue along Penn Avenue (several properties available now are listed on the organization’s website) and in nearby East Liberty.

By rights, this should attract more than a fair share of new residents to one of Pittsburgh’s under-appreciated neighborhoods.

And with world-class food, an abundance of art, historic homes and so much more, it’s about time.

The next Unblurred event will be held the evening of June 3 on Penn Avenue. Info: friendship-pgh.org/paai.

Hot Reads

Review: One Thirty One East

Review: One Thirty One East

Located in the southwest suburban community of Carnegie, One Thirty One East embodies the area’s renaissance.
Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

The charismatic Maggie Meskey had tended bar for years before landing her gig at downtown bourbon haven Butcher and the Rye.
12 Hot New Restaurants

12 Hot New Restaurants

A diverse crop of eateries caught our attention this year, so we’re highlighting some of our favorites.
13 Bartenders You Should Know

13 Bartenders You Should Know

Get acquainted with this group of charming bar professionals working in various establishments around the city.

The 412

Gear Up for Month of Mud's Final Bike Race of 2014

Gear Up for Month of Mud's Final Bike Race of 2014

The homegrown race series wraps up on Sunday at Ohiopyle State Park.
Local Developer Creates Pittsburghese Plugin for Google Chrome

Local Developer Creates Pittsburghese Plugin for Google Chrome

Have a little fun as you search the Web.
Pittsburgher Ali Spagnola Releases an App Version of Her 'Power Hour' Album

Pittsburgher Ali Spagnola Releases an App Version of Her 'Power Hour' Album

The creator of the app — which takes any playlist on your smartphone or tablet and plays it in one-minute pieces — reminds users to please drink responsibly.
NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

The group behind the station's Sandwich Monday blog series orders the iconic sandwich and writes a review.

Hot Reads

Review: One Thirty One East

Review: One Thirty One East

Located in the southwest suburban community of Carnegie, One Thirty One East embodies the area’s renaissance.
Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

The charismatic Maggie Meskey had tended bar for years before landing her gig at downtown bourbon haven Butcher and the Rye.
Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

PittGirl doesn't know why we say "warsh" — but she has figured out why we 'Burghers hit the brakes at the sight of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.
12 Hot New Restaurants

12 Hot New Restaurants

A diverse crop of eateries caught our attention this year, so we’re highlighting some of our favorites.
13 Bartenders You Should Know

13 Bartenders You Should Know

Get acquainted with this group of charming bar professionals working in various establishments around the city.
40 Under 40: 2014

40 Under 40: 2014

In their own ways, the 40 men and women we introduce here show us daily how we can ensure that Pittsburgh is deserving of its Most Livable City title.