Friday, July 19, 2013

Night Market V

Night Market V
PDP Intern Marissa

As a new intern at the PDP, I had my first Project Pop-Up: Night Market experience this past Friday, July 12, 2013. I brought along my friend, Monica, visiting from Florida, who thankfully, was a pretty good sport about coming to work with me on a Friday night. The Night Market took place in an empty parking lot on the corner of Eight Street and Penn Avenue and ran from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. As to be expected of Pittsburgh weather, it was drizzling when I arrived around 4:00 p.m., but the rain did not seem to affect the select local food, craft, and handmade goods vendors that were happily setting up their booths. A few other PDP staff members and I set up our information booth equipped with handouts such as our Downtown Made Easy Guide, a guide to the Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl, and our Proud to go Downtown t-shirts on sale for $15.00 (and are still available at our weekly Farmers Market!).

By the time 5:30 rolled around, the music was pumping, the smell of the food from the vendors of various Pittsburgh restaurants was making my mouth water, and the rain was tapering off. The people started filing in, dozens of them, enjoying the laid-back and fun atmosphere that the Night Market possessed. My co-workers Jack and Mairin joined Monica and I for a game of corn hole coordinated by our friends from PUMP that lasted almost 45 minutes. I am proud to say that Jack and I won the match, 21 to 18; a close and very intense game. At this point I was having so much fun that I completely forgot that I was actually at work.

After our round of corn hole, I could not handle the amazing smells coming from the food vendors anymore, and decided to browse each to find which I wanted to dig into first. There were so many tasty options: gazpacho from Soup Nancy’s, handcrafted burgers from BRGR, several pastas from Del’s Restaurant, grape leaves and gyros from CafĂ© Byblos, and so much more. Considering the fact that a 21-year old girl can only each so much, you can see my dilemma. I decided on a smoked brisket sandwich from Meat & Potatoes topped with Korean BBQ sauce, beer sauerkraut, and pickled cabbage. Needless to say, I was afraid for the cleanliness of my white shirt, but dug right in. The warm, tender beef paired with the perfect toppings was literally the best brisket I have ever had. No exaggeration necessary. It didn’t take me long to devour the entire sandwich, which left me very full and very satisfied.

For the rest of my shift, which went very quickly, I worked the PDP booth selling t-shirts and spreading information about the Gallery Crawl. It was great to hear that so many people were enjoying the market as much as I was, and were so eager to learn more about the PDP! As 8:00 approached, my shift was over, and Monica and I made a lap around the market vendors. The handmade items for sale were incredible, such as the Pittsburgh architecture-inspired steel jewelry from Audra Azoury Jewerly, and  the robot sculptures created from recycled objects by Jones Robo-Works, as well as all of the other artists’ works, which were truly one-of-a-kind. I bought a shirt from DeadBuryDead, which makes both signature and classic designed t-shirts. I decided to end the night with a scrumptious oatmeal raisin cookie from Fabulous Homemade Cookies, and mango sorbet from Lascola’s Italian Ice. I would give my first experience at the Night Market two thumbs up, and I cannot wait until the next one, happening September 27, 2013!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Erra Creations Loves the Night Market and wants to see you tonight!

by Nichole Bloch, Erra Creations

I love Downtown Pittsburgh! I used to work Downtown and now jump at every chance I can to go into town for music, food, theater, art and now shopping with the awesome start of Pop-Up shops like Boutique 208! Besides the art in the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's quarterly Gallery Crawl, has always been one of my favorite affairs to attend because of the vibrant people who light up our city at night.

It was only a year ago that Pittsburgh had not yet experienced a night market. And me? I'd never heard of such a thing. When I did learn of it, I'm pretty sure I squealed with excitement! An artisan and food market that takes over a parking lot in town after work hours- sign me up! 

I am the chick behind Erra Creations and I am a born and raised Pittsburgh artist. I love to tinker with just about anything and have become known for my wares from reclaimed bicycle parts! I do shows and events all over in the north east- and can honestly say the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's Pop-Up: Night Market is one of my 3 favorite events of all time! In addition to the artists who come to show their work, there is amazing food-music-people! Whenever I am asked why I love it so, I reply- It's the best parking lot party ever!

I am so honored that Erra Creations has been the only artist at every Night Market- and hope to see you this Friday night for Night Market V!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Learn about Night Market V from one of our vendors!

By Jennifer Robinson - Owner of The Hemp Butterfly

Pittsburgh’s Downtown Partnership Night Market gives artists in this city a great opportunity to get their name out there and meet new people. My name is Jennifer and I own The Hemp Butterfly, I specialize in fashionable, eco-conscious, organic, vintage, often one of a kind jewelry & accessories. All are handmade & hand knotted in Hemp by my own little fingers. Expect boho-chic mixed with creepy cool.  I will be a new vendor at the next Night Market being held on July 12. As a newcomer both to the Night Market as well as to the city of Pittsburgh I am most looking forward to the people. The smiling faces as they walk by, getting to meet other fellow artists, the great music and just the vibe in general.

Events like these are important to the development and enrichment of any town or city. It gives artists like me the opportunity to showcase our work and reach out to the public. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing their faces as they discover new artists, new crafts, and exciting music in a downtown environment like no other. The fact that they are held in vacant buildings and parking lots is just and added bonus. As an art collector I’m looking forward to what treasures I will find. What new artist will catch my eye. What new friends I will make and what new music I will discover.

Thank you PDP it is a privilege to be part of this vibrant event. I hope I get to participate and visit both as as a vendor and as a spectator in many more to come. In a city where art is art is becoming alive I could not be any happier. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Out and About: the Mattress Factory

Out & About: The Mattress Factory
By PDP Intern Marissa

For this week’s Out and About, I visited the Mattress Factory at 500 Sampsonia Way located on the North Shore. At first thought, and having never been to the Mattress Factory, I pictured the museum covered in wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling plush, cushiony mattresses that you were free to jump and play on. Who can blame me with a name like that? But in my delightful discovery, the Mattress Factory is so much more mentally and physically stimulating than a bunch of fluffy beds. The museum is made up of five floors, each holding several different room-sized works of contemporary art that totally envelop you.

Several exhibits throughout the Mattress Factory are a part of the Feminist and… exhibition, which presents new work by six women artists from around the world whose practices of feminism show that the issue is of many cultures, generations, and can be expressed in many ways. Upon walking out of the elevator on the fourth level, the first thing to catch my eye was an off-white room that had Arabic calligraphy writings covering the walls and floor. This is the work of Parastou Forouhar, an artist from Tehran, who expresses her critical attitude toward Iranian politics and Islamic Fundamentalism in this feminist piece entitled Written Room. After exploring this space, I found myself desperately wanting to know what the writings stated.

Another element of Feminist and… was the piece Active Energy: Pittsburgh, by local Ph.D visual artist Loraine Leeson. This project focused on regeneration of the urban environment, and how it affects both the general quality of life and personal identity. The six-point suspended projection composition is a collection of video interviews of residents of Pittsburgh who are affected by this issue, young and old, male and female. This work was my favorite of the entire gallery because it connects to the people of the Pittsburgh community, and gave them the opportunity for their voices to be heard. I loved hearing their stories and experiences relating to urban development.

One of the long-term exhibits at the Mattress Factory that I found remarkable yet simple, was a room filled with black light, mirrored ceilings and walls, and a white floor covered in brightly colored dots. This creation, which is rightfully named Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, is by Japanese born artist, Yayoi Kusama. When I closed the door to the exhibit, I was able to realize how brilliant yet terrifying this piece actually was. The infinite copies of myself and the room that the mirrors reflected left me with a feeling of emptiness. I could not figure out why this room made me feel so uneasy, until I later read this quote by Kusama: “A mirror is a device which obliterates everything including myself and others in the light of another world or a gallant apparatus which creates nothingness.”

In the basement of the museum I discovered two orange-red flower pots hanging a foot off the ground, suspended by wire from the ceiling. I stared at this display for about a minute, and was getting a little impatient waiting for it to do something, when a noise suddenly came from the two pots, making them vibrate slightly, and caused the cracked paint inside the pots to shake. After learning more about the two objects, I learned that the piece Ash, is by Rolf Julius, and that there are actually speakers inside the pots that are recordings of everyday sounds such as birds, radiators, and crickets, fixed together to make the collage of noise I heard.

After an hour and fifteen minutes of getting lost in the art of the museum, I returned to the main floor of the Mattress Factory where, I of course being the shopaholic that I am, was drawn to the gift shop. There were so many neat knickknacks, books, clothing, and other unique gifts inside, I would have bought one of each if I didn’t have a college student-sized wallet.  Overall, my trip to the Mattress Factory was inspiring and enlightening. I will definitely return to see new exhibits in the future, and I recommend it to any Pittsburgher or out-of-towner looking to satisfy their need for an extraordinary artistic experience.

To learn more about these and other current exhibitions and events, visit

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Get to Know the PDP Staff: Robyn Williams

Robyn Williams (center) receiving the President's Award at the 2013 Annual Meeting with PDP Chairman of the Board, Thomas J. Harrington (left) and PDP President & CEO, Jeremy Waldrup (right)

Name: Robyn Williams

Title of job: Director of Finance

What you do at the PDP?:  I am responsible for all financial aspects of the organization as well as the HR and IT functions.

How long have you been working for the PDP?:  Since November 2008 – 4 1/2 years

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?:  It will be ten years in August 2013

What do you enjoy doing for relaxation? 
I love to read, do yoga and take walks with my husband and son.

What is your favorite Downtown restaurant? Why? What’s your favorite dish?  
My favorite restaurant is the Diamond Market Grill in Market Square.  They have such great food, service and the overall experience is always excellent!  My favorite dish is the potato and feta pierogies. They also make a fierce Moscow Mule!

What is your favorite book, movie or musician?  My favorite musicians – The Clarks (of course!).

Do you have a favorite movie made in Pittsburgh? If so what is it and why?  
It would definitely have to be The Dark Knight Rises because I was working Downtown while they were filming it and it was awesome to watch so many scenes as they were being filmed.  What was even better was seeing how wonderful Pittsburgh looked on the big screen when we saw the movie.

If you had $100 to spend in Downtown Pittsburgh, what would you spend it on? 
I would head to the Market Square Farmer's Market on a Thursday and stock up on fresh produce, beautiful flowers and awesome salsa!

What is your favorite piece of public art in Downtown? Why?  
Definitely the bronze magnolia trees in the parklet across from Katz Plaza.  Magnolias are my favorite and their blooms simply don’t last very long so to see the trees every single day is magical.

What do you like most about working at the PDP?  
The best part of working at the PDP is that I get to live out my passion of working in accounting and at the same time be involved in so many other aspects of the organization.  At the PDP you can be as involved as you want to be and having the opportunity to help plan, organize and execute great events for downtown is an honor!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Famous Burgher Blog - Fairmont Pittsburgh Executive Chef Jason Dalling

Name: Jason Dalling  

Job: Executive Chef, Fairmont Pittsburgh - Fairmont Pittsburgh is a Four Diamond, LEED Gold certified hotel in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh. In addition to luxurious guestrooms and meeting space, Fairmont Pittsburgh is home to Habitat restaurant and Andys Bar & Patio, as well as a health club and spa.

How long have you been doing what you do: 26 years

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh: 6 months

What is your favorite Downtown restaurant? Why? What’s your favorite dish?
For obvious reasons, Habitat. My favorite dish is our burger. It’s made with local grass-fed beef, bacon, and Pennsylvania white cheddar. I don't usually take too much time to eat, but when I do I like simple things that are made with really great ingredients. This burger fits the bill exactly.

I also like Sienna in Market Square for Italian.

Talk a bit about your favorite Downtown Pittsburgh Experience or Memory.
I haven’t been here that long and when I am downtown I’m usually working, but one of my favorite things to do after a long shift is go to Primanti’s in Market Square for a beer and just take in that whole “Pittsburgh experience.” It’s great to see such a different aspect of the restaurant industry. Plus it’s not me doing the cooking.  

Tell us one thing about Downtown that has surprised you.
People told me this would be the case before I came here, but I didn’t realize how true it is. It’s how caring the people of Pittsburgh are, even the people you meet on the street. 

What is the best thing for children to do downtown?
I definitely know this one! The Carnegie Science Center. My son Aidyn is 5 and loves the Science Center.

What is your favorite thing to do Downtown that costs nothing?
Our music series at the hotel, Jazz at Andys. We feature a variety of local musicians every Tuesday-Saturday in our lobby and there’s no cover charge. Just stop in, listen to some great music, and grab a cocktail if you want.

If you had $100 you had to spend in Downtown Pittsburgh, what would you spend it on?
I’d go around to some of the downtown restaurants I’ve been wanting to try and sample the beers.

What is your favorite piece of public art in Downtown? Why?
Fraley’s Robot Repair. I’m sad to see it go. It was just such a cool and unexpected piece of art. I’ve been following it since I moved to Pittsburgh.

What is your favorite public space in Downtown? Why?
Market Square. When I am able to escape the kitchen for a little bit, I enjoy heading over to Market Square to take in whatever event is happening, visit the restaurants and bar and just people watch.

Describe Downtown in 3 words.
Lots of bridges.

Do you have a favorite building Downtown? What is it? Why
PPG. It has such unique architectural and design elements. My son thinks Batman lives there.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Get To Know New PDP Intern Ellen Nash

Get to know our newest marketing intern at PDP- Ellen Nash

Ellen is a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Media & Communications. Born and raised in Sewickley, PA, Ellen now lives in the East End.

One of the events she is most looking forward to this summer is the Three Rivers Arts Festival in June. "Pittsburgh has an awesome art scene, and I love that during this festival it is all in one place to be seen and sold," she adds, "This year the Fountain will be running again, finally!" Two summers ago, Ellen spent an entire day at Heinz Field as an extra in the filming of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. After roasting in the July sun for 15 hours dressed in winter clothing, she, along with thousands of other Pittsburghers can now say they were in the blockbuster film...which still serves as a great conversation starter. And yes, she did see the movie at midnight when it opened.

A big sports fan, Ellen goes to as many Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers game she can. Her family has sat in the same seats in section 108 of Heinz Field since it opened in 2001. In addition to her favorite "Pittsburgher" sandwich from Primanti's, she loves to go to Nola in Market Square for her soul food cravings and Penn Avenue Fish Company on Forbes for their amazing "Jumbo Johnny" roll."Downtown has a great mix of restaurants. Just from PDP I am able to walk to get Indian, Italian, Greek, Mexican, or Chinese food for lunch," Ellen adds. In order to be able to enjoy all of these foods, and be guilt-free, she goes to any of the power yoga locations in Pittsburgh.

Ellen started her marketing internship with PDP in the beginning of May and has been involved with the social media accounts and the weekly e-newsletter.