In spring 2017, Sprout invited people living in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to submit original works of art that express the concept of “belonging.” Nearly 250 submissions were received, including many from local youth. Winners were selected through a combination of juried art processes and online voting that drew more than 14,000 votes.
One overall winner received an honorarium of $3,000, and the winning design was produced as yard signs and posters that were distributed for free across the region. An additional 17 works of art appeared on a "Community Voices" poster, and these winning artists each received a $100 honorarium.
And the winner is...
Bob, 56, from Wilkinsburg
This design was inspired by the ancient Sri Yantra designs of India, which connoted cosmic unity. I've given the old design a modern, folky twist. The background was made with oil pastels on tarpaper, and the lettering was made by cutting origami papers of yellow and deep blue. The “You Belong” lettering was inspired by a handmade font created by the artist Rick Bach.
Selected for its artistic merit from nearly 70 finalist submissions, this design will be produced as yard signs and posters freely distributed throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
Artist, poet, translator, singer, curator, and publisher
Bob Ziller has displayed his artwork in more than 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the U.S., including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Andy Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, Chicago Cultural Center, Hunter Museum of American Art, Norton Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Mendelson Gallery, and many others.
photo: Bruno Dolan
When looking at the image, one cannot help but feel the artist’s hand at play. There is an energy, an intimacy found in the painting that invites you into the artwork. Pittsburgh is a city that invites closeness between its people. Pittsburgh must continue to invite closeness and be better at doing it as well.
The triangular patterns that joins together to make the quilted patterns resonated with me on how I always describe Pittsburgh: a trinity of three rivers hence, a holy place.
Borrowing from our industrial past, we are a community that is built by hand, reaching to one another, building together. I see these ideas when I look at this artwork. The separate pieces joining to create a whole, to create a support structure for the message of “belonging.”
The ideal Pittsburgh that I hold in my mind and in my heart is a city, my hometown, in which everyone belongs. The selected artwork spoke to this ideal, not just through the imagery and language but by the vary nature of how the artwork was created.
The pattern on the background of two strong words “YOU BELONG” is reminiscent of a quilt pattern; and quilting for me is a community activity often done by women almost meditatively while indulging in conversations that help them heal and grapple with whatever circumstances they are in.
17 additional designs were selected for inclusion on a “community voices” poster. These designs received “honorable mention” designation by the jury of art professionals, were selected by a separate jury of local youth, or were among the top 5 most popular adult or youth submissions through the online public voting process.
Thank you to all who submitted, voted online, and participated on the juries!