6% Place

3 January 2011

cityLAB very happy to receive this recent letter from artist, Connie Cantor;

“I was very intrigued to read about Citylab’s efforts in Garfield in today’s P-G. I am an artist and owner of 2 live/work properties in Garfield and L-ville and a strong believer in the power of artists to transform communities. I have been following the work of the Penn Avenue Arts initiative for many years, applauding their successes but concerned about the lack of progress off the main corridor. I am writing to tell you a little about myself and also to see if I can offer any help to you in this project.

The very people we must retain in Pittsburgh want and need creative space to function. Encyclopedia Destructica, my tenant in Lawrencevile, runs a gallery, studio, bookmaking and letterpress workshops, as well as an artists residency and many collaborative efforts with groups like Deep Local and Just Seeds.

Because of Garfield’s particular intransience, I am most excited about what is happening in my property on Broad Street. David English—puppeteer, animator, filmmaker and all around creative dervish—has created “The Schmutz Lodge,” what he calls a house/studio/performance space, where he has hosted numerous cross-pollinating gatherings of Pittsburgh’s offbeat creatives.

David, who is white, has not only “bonded” with his African American neighbors, but he continues to draw scores of young creatives up that one divisive block from Penn Ave that separates two cultures. That is exciting for me to see. There are several other houses in the 5400 block that are on the market which could easily attract that magical 6% if the effort were made to transform them into live/work spaces.

I truly admire what you have been doing and I greatly enjoy the CityLive presentations. You are forging a better future for Pittsburgh. I hope you will be in touch.”

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