Pittsburgh's Outdoor Murals and Public Art, discovered on bicycle around the Burgh bike


East Carson Street Treasures by David Hawbaker

5 Terminal Way (East Carson St at Terminal Way)
Southside, Pittsburgh PA 15203

Sprout Fund map      SproutFund.org

David Hawbaker looked at the Southside and saw all sorts of hidden treasures. There were so many unique shops and businesses lining East Carson St, and so much diversity in the people, interests, foods and activities. He looked into the area’s history and found that like so many Pittsburgh neighborhoods, the Southside’s history was rooted in the steel industry.

When developing the design, Mr Hawbaker originally envisioned a banquet table in the middle of East Carson St with local residents enjoying treasures from all the shops, and a steelworker seated at the head of the table. As the design process moved along with input from the neighborhood committee, they modified the idea a little. Instead of the table with mostly adults, the focus shifted to neighborhood kids. You see them with a string of beads from a local bead shop, nesting dolls (representing the local Ukrainian Center), and members of a children’s organization searching the East Carson Street shops for their own treasures.

The ghost of a steel worker sits at a small table and watches the newest generation of the Southside making their discoveries. The steel worker is a self portrait, and the woman to his left is the lady that ran a deli in this building. She passed away while Dave Hawbaker was working on the mural and he memorialized her here. Other models for the mural include friends, family, local kids, and a former student. Mr Hawbaker is also an art teacher in the North Allegheny School district.

East Carson Street Treasures is one of more than 50 public art murals that were sponsored by the Sprout Fund over the past ten years. Each one is it’s own treasure for the community and we were sad to hear that the Sprout Fund would be moving on to other projects this year. We hope that some day they will start the mural project again because as Mr Hawbaker told us There is no better way to bring communities together.

We know from talking with several other artists that residents take a strong interest in the design and creation of the murals. Many of the neighborhood mural committees encouraged maximum participation from the residents in the process. Greenfield mailed out ballots and went to community centers to get people involved. Bloomfield had a ballot box located at the mural site. The end result is often a local landmark and huge source of neighborhood pride. Some of the Sprout Fund murals, like East Carson Street Treasures, have residents depicted in them and some of the artists (like Ian Thomas/Our Time) allowed local children to help paint portions of them.

One indicator for how residents feel about these murals and how the art impacts a neighborhood is the condition we find the murals in. We’ve noticed an obvious lack of vandalism when we look at these murals. Although we’ve heard that there is occasionally a small mark found, that’s rare and there is no large–scale tagging or defacing. The artwork is obviously respected by all members of the community.


TAGS Mural, East Carson Street Treasures, Southside, feast, banquet, discovery, treasures, trinkets, meal, community, family, steel worker, David Hawbaker, Sprout Fund,


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