“PINTANDO PARA UN SUEÑO”: The first Latino Mural in Pittsburgh, Pa

This project is meant to create the first Latino mural in Pittsburgh as a collaboration between Latino youths, the Carnegie Museum of Art and The Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University.  The newly founded “Latino Family Support Center” in the heart of the East End’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood is the designated site for the mural.  The project is a pioneering effort, as the mural will attempt to draw attention to an emergent community largely unrecognized by the wider Pittsburgh community and will highlight the ways our American, Latin American and Latino histories are intertwined.  The mural, which will be elaborated by the youths and artist collaborators will represent the presence of Latino culture in the Pittsburgh setting.  The project will empower Latino youths in the city by helping them foster meaningful connections with the wider community and granting them artistic agency.  We believe it  has the potential to generate positive cultural and social change in the city and throughout the region.

Even though Latinos are the city’s fastest growing immigrant population, they remain invisible to the larger population. The mural project thus has the potential to inform Pittsburgh’s public about Latino culture and to elicit new ways of thinking about issues and misconceptions that are at the heart of urgent national (and more recently local) debates on the border and immigration.  As Allegheny County struggles to keep residents from leaving the region, this project has the potential of ‘recovering’ the city’s historical legacy as a “city of immigrants” by demonstrating the valuable contributions of young immigrants to our city and hopefully encourages other groups to feel welcome and remain here.  The project will also strengthen Latino youths’ civic engagement in Pittsburgh by encouraging their participation in the public sphere through a project that allows them to explore the relationship between their cultural traditions and the history of the city they now consider home.   

carta de los jovenes para el mural 

PHASE I:  We created a series of workshops at the Carnegie Museum of Art led by Museum staff, local artists and public art specialists, and scholars of Latin America  meant to provide instruction and introduce the youths to studio-art, the rich tradition of Mexian muralism, public art througout the history of Pittsburgh and art and social change.  Past Workshops have included the following:


Workshop I: An introduction to the Museum and its mural collection with the Museum’s teaching artists

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Workshop II: Art and Social Change with Argentine artist Dina Ruta


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Workshop III: Collage Making with political cartoonist Gary Huck 


Workshop IV:  Introduction to Design with Tavia La Follette Founder and Director of ArtUp 

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Workshop V: Introduction to Studio-Art with Dina Ruta

Artwork by Rafael Rodriguez

 JANUARY  2010

Workshop VI: Art and Social Change with Tavia La Follette


Workshop VII: An Introduction to the Mexican Muralist Tradition with LatinAmericanist Professor Lara Putnam of the Dept. of  History at the University of Pittsburgh


Workshop VIII: An Introduction to the Center for the Arts in Society (CAS) by Paul K. Eiss, Director of CAS and Professor of Latin American History and Anthropology at Carnegie Mellon University and presentation of project involving the Jovenes for a course on the “Border” taught by Paul K. Eiss and Therese Tardio, Professor of Latin American Literature and Culture at the Dept. of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University 


Workshop IX: Brainstorming session on group name and logo

March 4-April 29th:  Workshop on Masks and Masking with Art educator Adrienne Hunter.  Hunter who spent 30 years as a dedicated art educator at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Alternative Education Program for youth in crisis and at risk and/or incarcerated will introduce the youths to the rich tradition of Masking and mask making  and will help them create a Bas relief made out of the individual masks they will make.  

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April 15th: Mural brainstorm session and ice breakers with Project Lead Artist Tavia La Follette

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May 6th: VOTE  for best mural design for the first Latino Mural in Pittsburgh!! 

May 13th: Workshop on Theatre and Social Change and an introduction to Boal technique with Director and Playwright Anya Martin of Carnegie Mellon University. Martin, who produced Pittsburgh’s “Teatro Latino” in 2009 and who has written several plays on the topic of immigration.


Mural Work at Lead Artist Tavia La Follette’s Carriage House  5300 5th Ave (August-September 15th days to be announced)

Projected Unveiling: September 16th (Holiday Celbrating Mexican National Independence)


Participation of Jovenes Sin Nombres in collaboartion with the ArtsGreenhouse program in the Mattress Factory ‘s CUBAN Fall Show  EXHIBITION: QUELOIDES/KELOIDS Race and Racism in Cuban Contemporary Art

December Jovenes Sin Nombres Encuentro with Chicano Performance Artist Guillermo Gomez Pena , co-sponsored by ArtUp, the Center for the Arts in Society Carnegie Mellon University and the Mattress Factory





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