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Rad Teen Print of the Week: Was It Worth It?

February 16, 2010


Another old skool image here…this silkscreen print was created by Abby Gordon and Kimi Hanauer for a Celebrate Pittsburgh People’s History project as part of RUST 2008. This piece is about the construction of the Civic Arena (now Mellon Arena) in the 1950’s, and the devastation it wreaked on the Hill District, versus the self-congragulatory nature of the media and the Great White Men who funded and supported the project.

I post this print now, because Pittsburgh is currently building a new hockey arena a few blocks from the Mellon Arena; among other reasons, the Penguins threatened to leave if they didn’t get a new stadium. My coworker was living in a warehouse-y building that was bought up by the city under emminent domain and torn down (just one of many stories). This city has been through many waves of “Urban Renewal,”, and millions of taxpayer dollars have been funneled into sports stadiums and franchises, while our public transit, libraries, schools, and many other public services are in dire straits.
Abby and Kimi found a file of newspaper clippings on the Civic Arena construction in the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Public Library, and used them as the basis for his poster. I love this image because it very intelligently combines found photos and tracing, and makes good use of a background layer to make elements of the print pop—great techniques for making a sweet poster without any “drawing” ability. It also draws connections between history and the present. The text is hard to read; this is what it says:
On May 26, 1956, the demolition of hundreds of houses began in the lower Hill District to make room for the 89,000 sq. foot Civic Arena. Many people were pushed out of their homes and forced to relocate, while their own tax dollars were funneled into the very project that forced them out. After the arena was built, the Hill District was never “revived” as promised. Starting in 2006, plans were constructed to destroy the Civic Arena and build a new one, once again turning a blind eye to the community needs. However, there are organizations working to strengthen the Hill.
for more info:
–One Hill – a community organizing group
–The Courier – one o the first black-owned and operated newspapers in PGH
–Hill House – resource and education center in the Hill


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Posts by Mary Tremonte