Our First Two Awesome Awardees!

Awesome Pittsburgh Awardees
Our December 2011 Awardees

In the coming months, watch for a pop-up photo booth (hiding a puppet show) and a pop-up co-op storefront – both making Pittsburgh even more awesome!

Last night (December 5), Awesome Pittsburgh announced our first two $1,000 awards at our launch party, graciously hosted by Eclipse Lounge in Lawrenceville. At least 40 creative Pittsburghers joined Awesome Pittsburgh’s Trustees to celebrate the winners. Here’s a quick look at what the awardees are planning (in their own words):

The Puppet Photo Booth – Murphi Cook

I propose a project so surprising, so fantastic, so magical, you will require a keepsake from the event to remember it forever. The Puppet Photo Booth will be a week long installation at Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh. I will construct a structure that appears to be an old-fashioned photo booth. Unbeknownst to passersby, a real live puppeteer (me) waits within to give any person who sits inside a seven-minute puppet show. When the participant enters, they are transported to another world – an under the sea themed live action puppet spectacle. And of course, during the course of this show, I will secretly snap a photo, fulfilling the booth’s promise to capture a moment forever.

Pop-up Co-op – Talia Piazza, Christina Robertson, Grant Ervin

Pop-up Co-op is a revitalization strategy which will benefit a neighborhood, its residents and local entrepreneurs. Our project will repurpose an empty storefront into a locally run and organized co-op and incubator for small retail businesses. The empty storefront can comfortably house 4-5 local vendors as well as a small seating area for guests. Vendors will rent space at the site and sell their homemade and organic goods under one roof, sort of like an indoor farmers’ market. We have a property, located in Morningside, identified for use and interested vendors on board. We want to create a temporary co-op that will allow us to conduct a feasibility study as well as on the ground market-research while actually operating the business. Based on this, we will create a business plan and strategy for the creation of a permanent community co-op that sells local goods to local people at a local price.

In addition to their $1,000 micro-grants, the awardees received “micro-checks” – described by some Trustees as “ridiculously small.”

Very small award check
Awesome Pittsburgh's Microcheck

What Happens Next?

The Trustees are meeting in December to debrief from our first grant round and hopefully give some additional guidance to people who’ve already applied and anyone who wants to apply. Stay tuned for more information later this month, and spread the news that we’re welcoming new, awesome applications for when we resume our grants in January 2012!