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


Joy Of Life by Virgil Cantini Italo O. Falvo

130 S Whitfield St (East Liberty Presbyterian Church)
East Liberty, Pittsburgh PA 15206

Dr Virgil D. Cantini was a professor at Pitt and a believer in public art. He has several pieces in the Pittsburgh area, but that doesn’t mean that his work isn’t in museums as well – because it is. This talented man once said that he was inspired by the town squares and fountains in Italy where he was originally from. This fountain graces a spot in front of the beautiful East Liberty Presbyterian Church. The ultra modern style of the fountain is quite a contrast to the old style architecture of the church, yet the two seem to go together better than one might imagine. It was originally located at the East Liberty Mall, but moved to it’s present location in 2010.

The fountain is made of Cor-Ten steel like the USX building. This steel will form a protective layer of rust on it. The sculpture is over 40 years old now, out in the elements and part of a fountain, so apparently the protective rust layer works well.

In a curriculum description for Chatham University by Mary Ann Gaser, we found this description of the piece:

Virgil Cantini’s Joy of Life is the focal point of the East Liberty Mall. Commissioned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the fountain was dedicated in 1969.The unrest and violence of the sixties moved Cantini to express an idea of unity. Cantini comments, ‘No one lives to himself and what our divided society needs is an increasing sense of our oneness, our mutual dependence. These men with their arms locked together [represent] the strong and the weak, the affluent and the poor, the educated and the underprivileged, this is one society and one community’

Updated photo: The fountain was running when we rode by in May:


TAGS sculpture, Joy Of Life, East Liberty, Cor-Ten Steel, Pitt, fountain, dance, Virgil Cantini, Italo O. Falvo, ,


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05/12/2018 @ 14:25 Italo Falvo, working for Reiling Manufacturing, was the artisan who made Cantini's concept become a reality. Italo Falvo was an immigrant from the town of Feroleto Antico, in the Southern Italian Province of Calabria.

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