Our January award winner: Art Barge

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 http://artbarge.tumblr.com.

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.