It took cityLAB a while to settle on where it would conduct it’s 6% experiment. The Penn Avenue Arts Corridor seemed the perfect place. About a mile long and in Pittsburgh’s East End, the initiative was an experiment itself started fifteen years ago. What was the experiment? To see if the arts could help to transform an extremely blighted corridor. In some respects it did with numerous arts organizations, artists and businesses locating there. In other respects it did not.
There are still many vacancies on the street. The neighborhood to the south, Friendship, has thrived, but the neighborhood to the north, Garfield has declined. It has the lowest percentage of college graduates residing there of any neighborhood in this city. The Penn Avenue Arts Corridor’s purpose was to zipper these two neighborhoods together, but today, they still stand very much apart.