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Announcing our 16th Winner: Knit the Bridge

26 Apr

We all know our bridges are pretty awesome. So, how do you make them even more awesome? Take color and fiber and an army of knitters and turn one of the “three sisters” into an enormous community-led public art installation: you Knit the Bridge.


Led by an idea sparked by Amanda Goss, a growing community of knitting enthusiasts plan to attempt one of the largest “yarn bombs” in the world. In recent years, yarn-bombing–a type of street art where everyday objects and fixtures in public spaces are covered with yarn–has become a popular movement that has drastically increased the popularity of what was once deemed a lost art form.

The group behind Knit the Bridge hopes to “literally and figuratively weave the region together,” by yarn-bombing one of the three sisters bridges in the summer/fall of 2013.  The installation will be made by over 400 volunteers from across the region in advance, and many segments have already been submitted.  When it is removed, sections will be distributed to local shelters and community living facilities to be reused as blankets and wall hangings.

“Knit the Bridge is a dynamic art project that brings together diverse groups from throughout our community and embraces one of Pittsburgh most distinct assets, our bridges,” said Mary Ellen Solomon, Awesome Pittsburgh Trustee. “It’s a colorful way to engage people and to celebrate the region’s thriving arts scene. Knit the Bridge is just one more cool idea that makes Pittsburgh awesome.”

Awesome Pittsburgh is excited that Knit the Bridge will be giving a demonstration at its upcoming quarterly award party on Tuesday, April 30th.  The Awesome Pittsburgh party is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Union Project at 801 N. Negley Avenue in Highland Park.  The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Knit the Bridge project and to volunteer to knit a section, interested parties can visit or  

Announcing our 14th Winner: Juice Up 412!

17 Mar
More than just an awesome way to quench your thirst, Juice Up 412 is a social enterprise that uses their products – delicious and unique fruit and vegetable juices – to educate underserved communities about health, wellness and nutrition as well as food justice.

Juice Up has already generated buzz with their pop-up juice bars around the city -including a featured appearance at Awesome Pittsburgh’s 1st Birthday Party – but they have even bigger plans to engage the community and find ways to remedy health disparities in low-investment communities. Juice Up 412′s Majestic Lane explains:
Our vision is to bring innovative juices to the area through diverse, creative media and inspire a broader conversation about access & behavioral norms in order to educate and empower traditionally underserved demographics regarding health & wellness.

The grant money will help to fund their first effort: the “I Juice” Campaign, a short video that highlights local thought leaders and changemakers to explain the importance of ‘juicing’ as well as the benefits a healthy diet can provide.  This short grassroots video will be shared throughout social media to raise awareness of the Juice Up 412 project as well as introduce general health and nutritional concepts to the community. In addition, the Juice Up crew will host a three-part film series, showing topical films in open neighborhood spaces. These Movie Nights will also feature juicing demonstrations, presentations from local food and health industry experts, and a forum for conversation and community action.

Find out more about Juice Up 412 by following them on Twitter or liking them on Facebook and try some of their juice today!

Awesome Pittsburgh awards $1,000 grants on a monthly basis to individuals or groups who propose ways of making Pittsburgh stand out in the global economy, connect our communities, or celebrate art or technology and make the city a better place to live, work and play. Submit your short proposal here.

Join us for Awesome Pittsburgh’s 1st Birthday

15 Jan

Awesome 1st Birthday PartyWe grow up so fast.  On Thursday, January 31, 2013, please  join Awesome Pittsburgh Trustees, awardees, and friends to celebrate Awesome Pittsburgh’s first birthday!

When: Thursday, January 31st from 7 – 9 pm

Where: AVA Lounge, 126 S. Highland Avenue, East Liberty (map)

Visit our Facebook page to let us know you are coming, or just show up and surprise us!

Sew Awesome: Announcing our November winner, Urban Stitches

12 Jan

With all the buzz around the “maker” movement, it’s easy to forget that for generations, sewing machines allowed people to dream up and make new creations in their own homes everyday. Our November winner, Urban Stitches, has a mission to reintroduce sewing to the young people of Pittsburgh. “The goal of Urban Stitches is for young people throughout the city to have the opportunity to learn to sew irrespective of their family’s financial status. Our instructors are eager to pass the love of sewing and the enjoyment of imagining, discovering, and creating on to the next generation,” says Tameka Reed, the leader of the Urban Stitches program.

Sewing instruction has become increasingly rare for students in a lot of schools. In fact, the idea for Urban Stitches came to Ms. Reed when she discovered that the local schools no longer offered sewing classes. That’s when she decided to develop and offer a course at no cost to students. Urban Stitches will provide an opportunity for teens ages 13-18 to learn outside of the classroom in a less intimidating setting. Reed, a Pittsburgh native and former Clarissa School of Fashion Design student, plans to use Awesome Pittsburgh’s $1,000 grant  to purchase several sewing machines for the program and offer classes as part of an 8-week program.

Congrats to Urban Stitches!

Awesome Pittsburgh awards $1000 grants every month to great ideas like Tameka’s. Any idea that you believe is awesome is eligible, and submissions are due on the first of each month. Apply today!

Update 2/5/13: Tameka is launching the classes for 10 young women ages 12-18 at George Westinghouse High School in collaboration with the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. She’s looking for donations of sewing machines, notions, patterns, fabrics, zippers, buttons, etc. If you’ve got anything to donate, please contact Tameka (sew_1 [at] - your generosity will help introduce a new generation to sewing!

An Awesome Internship

3 Oct

How often do you get to include the word ‘awesome‘ on your resume? Here is your chance! We’re looking for a passionate, organized, independent and innovative individual to join us this fall as the Awesome (Marketing and Events) Intern.

Here’s what we can offer:

  • A unique experience to work with an entrepreneurial group of individuals to help make Pittsburgh better $1000 at a time
  • Practical work experience in the marketing/communications/events field
  • The chance to participate in monthly Awesome Pittsburgh Board meetings
  • An opportunity to attend award celebrations where you can network professionally with awesome people
  • These words on your resume: Awesome Intern

Here’s what we will need you to do:

  • Find creative ways to use social media, traditional media, professional networks and other outlets to encourage applicants and promote awardees
  • Write and distribute news releases that make reporters and bloggers say, “wow, that’s awesome”
  • Create and maintain databases of media contacts, community organizations and outreach outlets
  • Develop strategies for spreading awesomeness throughout Pittsburgh via speaking engagements, networking opportunities, community partnerships, etc
  • Plan quarterly award celebrations (Awesome Parties!)

Some nuts and bolts info:

  • The internship is based on 5 – 10 hours a week. Most of the work will be done virtually – we have no brick and mortar office.
  • The internship is unpaid. But — we can’t stress this enough — your resume will say “Awesome Intern”
  • The internship will start in October 2012.

To learn more about Awesome Pittsburgh, visit To apply, send us an email to
say why you’d be an Awesome Intern and be sure to attach your resume

Our June Winner: The First Bytes Society

18 Jul

To so many of us, computers are arcane devices that other people program for us so that we can read our email, tweet our support for the Pirates, and watch Pittsburgh Dad videos. In reality though, anybody can learn to code once you realize that, at its core, programming is simply a process of communicating with the computer, giving it instructions to perform tasks for you. Our June winner, The First Bytes Society, understands this and wants to engage young students in the magic of coding in a fun, hands-on way.

“What makes the First Bytes Society approach a little different than traditional computer science education is that it will focus on creating tangible results that students can easily share with their peers,” said Nathan Good, creator of The First Bytes Society.  The curriculum and schedule for the class are being finalized, and Mr. Good says that he has several offers for space and volunteers on board to staff the program. The program will be designed for students between 5th and 9th grade and will encourage diversity, targeting groups often underrepresented in computer science.

“First and foremost, the First Bytes Society is about exciting young students–especially those who might otherwise not have easy access to computing–about the world of programming and debunking the myth that it is only intended for ‘the nerdy kids,’” says Mr. Good.

If you are interested in the program as it develops, follow The First Bytes Society on Twitter (@firstbytes).

UPDATE 7/25/12 – Nate’s project received some love from Pop City this week at

Come to Awesome Party #3! June 4 at Future Tenant

28 May

Join the Awesome Pittsburgh Trustees at the third-ever Awesome Pittsburgh Party! Now with extra awesomeness at Future Tenant

  • Monday, June 4, 2012
  • 7:00pm until 9:00pm
  • 819 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

At the party, we’ll:

  • Announce our May 2012 grant winner,
  • Give updates on March and April awards, and
  • Hold an awesome competition with 2 winners/prizes – one chosen and funded by the Awesome Trustees and the other chosen and funded by the attendees! (donating to the prize is optional)

So, whether you’re feeling awesome yourself, are a friend of awesome, or just on your way back from the Arts Festival, stop by Future Tenant for some more art and a whole lotta awesome!

Future Tenant is Downtown, right in the middle of the Three Rivers Arts Festival!

Our April Winner: Exquisite Machine

9 May

It’s often said that we all have a story to tell.  Well, Pittsburgh, here is your chance to contribute a sentence of your own to a much bigger story, thanks to our April winner: Exquisite Machine, an interactive creative writing project that will engage the community in collective storytelling.

Deanna Mulye, creator/project director of Exquisite Machine, describes the goals for the project:

We want to give people an excuse to be creative and a reason to write. We hope that the project delights people in a personal, unexpected way, and that through Exquisite Machine we will be able to reach a range of individuals, from unsuspecting people just walking down the street to students, writers and artists looking for a creative outlet.

The physical machine will appear at a variety of locations around the city. Participants will be able to input a sentence that they would like to see transformed into a complete story. A group of creative individuals will turn these sentences into brilliant bits of fiction at a series of writing sessions at venues across the region, culminating in a book that can be shared with all of the contributors and the rest of the community.

Awesome Pittsburgh’s $1,000 grant will support the construction and operation of the machine, a device that will allow individuals and groups to initiate, contribute to and complete stories at various locations throughout the Pittsburgh area. Exquisite Machine will launch this summer and will be ongoing. Individuals and organizations interested in collaborating with Exquisite Machine are encouraged to visit for more information.

Remember that the deadline for the June award is Tuesday, June 15th. Get your submissions in today

Awesome Pittsburgh at the Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference (5/9)

3 May

We’re excited to participate in the 14th Annual Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference, a day-long program for small business owners by Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center. The event takes place on Wednesday, May 9th at Duquesne.

For more information and to register for the event, check out their website at

Our January award winner: Art Barge

2 Feb

So many amazing new venues for music, art, and other performances have emerged around the city, you might fear that we are in danger of running out of space for all of them. Well, fear not, Pittsburgh – there are three great, untapped spots where available land isn’t a limiting factor: the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio! That’s right. It’s time for the long overdue marriage of two great resources of our region: our rivers and our arts community.

Awesome Pittsburgh is pleased to announce that our January grant has been awarded to Art Barge, a floating platform that will host a variety of creative installations and performances along Pittsburgh’s rivers and riverfronts. Art Barge is the creation of eight artists and students in the MFA program at Carnegie Mellon University. Jon Rubin is serving as the faculty advisor for the project.

“Thanks to the support of Awesome Pittsburgh, we will be able to accomplish an unconventional, but nevertheless inspiring initiative that seeks to bring art, creativity and even fantasy to what we think is one of Pittsburgh’s most underutilized public spaces, the three rivers,” said Felipe Castelblanco, an Art Barge artist. “Our hope is to connect with new audiences, those who normally don’t make it to the art gallery, while embracing the rivers as a space for socialization and interaction. This grant provides the necessary funding we need to get the project off the ground and finish the construction of the platforms.”

The Art Barge will function as an artificial island of sorts, consisting of several floating hexagonal modules or stages which can be linked together to create a variety of shapes, resulting in a venue that can transform to serve the needs of the exhibition or event. Ideas that have already been kicked around include a “paddle-in” movie theater, a winter desert island, a concert stage, a museum for objects dredged from the river bottom, a miniature campsite, and a floating cafe. Art Barge will accept submissions for guest projects beginning in March and expects to implement four projects in 2012. For additional information, go to

That’s another $1000 awarded to a team with a great idea for bringing more awesomeness to the region. Do you have the next one? If so, the deadline for the next award is February 15th. Check out what we think of as “awesome” and start on your submission today. Filling out the application takes a few moments, but the competition is tough – a lot of you have really amazing ideas and we can only pick one every month. So keep those awesome juices flowing!

UPDATE 2/13/12: Essential Public Radio covered our awardee (now called “the Drift”) here.

Come to the Awesome Launch Party and Award Announcement

26 Nov

Wow! We received over 70 amazing submissions for our first grant and have finally selected a winner. Projects ranged from the entrepreneurial to the outrageous to those that generously helped others to meet their basic human needs. It was not easy to choose from among the many worthwhile projects, but we did it and we want to share the results with all of you. Please join us as we announce and celebrate our first award recipient on Monday, December 5th at Eclipse Lounge in Lawrenceville. While you’re there, meet our ten Awesome Trustees, learn more about our organization, and ask us what we think makes an awesome project idea.

Awesome Pittsburgh Launch Party and Award Announcement
Monday, December 5, 2011
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Eclipse Lounge
3705 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Check out the Event page on Facebook and let us know you’re coming!

Awesome Pittsburgh is live and looking for the first $1000 grantwinner

18 Oct

We’re here! We’re LIVE!

As of Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 – Awesome Pittsburgh Day, according to the City of Pittsburgh – we are officially live and ready to begin accepting proposals for all of your amazing, inspiring, creative ideas.

If this is the first you’ve heard about us, please look around the site to learn about the 10 fabulous Trustees who came together to hand out $1000 to Awesome Pittsburghers and the kind of things we think would be awesome to fund. You can also learn more on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the national site.

If you have an idea for an awesome project, applying is simple. Visit the Submissions page on the Awesome Foundation website, be sure to choose Pittsburgh as your chapter (unless you have a really good idea for Los Angeles, Ottawa, or Hamburg, of course), and tell us about your idea – before November 15th. That’s it.

The Trustees of Awesome Pittsburgh will review all the submissions after the 15th and collectively choose the one we feel is most awesome. Then, we will hand $1000 to the winner at our Launch Party on December 5th, 2011.

We know you have some amazing ideas, Pittsburgh, sketched on the back of a napkin, swirling around in your head, or hiding in your “Someday Maybe” file. Here is your chance to get it started, give it life, and share it with the world. You’ll be surprised where $1000 can get you…



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