“Meet me at the Kaufmann clock?” Try: “Meet me at the blue sculpture!”
The developer of a mixed-use Strip District development is set to unveil a 12-foot-tall abstract structure at the entrance to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail this month that could become Pittsburgh’s next hangout calling card.
Conceived by hyperproductive Dan Droz, the piece is titled “The Gathering” and aims to showcase sculpture as a way to elevate public spaces, the artist said.
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“If you look at the sculpture, it’s figurative — you can see the outlines of two or three figures. You might discover two people clapping or, from another angle, a group of three people hanging out,” Droz, who is Jewish, told the Chronicle. “As well as being at the entrance to the trail, it is intended to provide an iconic gathering space for people heading to the heritage trail.”
Burns Scalo Real Estate, the developer of the aforementioned mixed-use development – dubbed The Vision on Fifteenth – chose Droz as the artist for the centerpiece artwork based on his sketches for an oversized sculpture that would capture the imagination of visitors, cyclists and Strip District buyers.
The sculpture, whose abstract figures and confident angles recall some of Droz’s finest works, will stand at the entrance to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail at 15th Street and Waterfront Place, across from Facebook’s offices and the Homewood Hotel. Sequels.
“We believe art builds community and social connections and should be an integral part of the fabric of the spaces we create,” said Burns Scalo Brand Ambassador Pamela Austin. “’The Gathering’ will undoubtedly become a highly recognizable landmark along the Heritage Trail and among visitors to the Strip District, providing an iconic place to meet, grab a bite to eat or simply take a break.”
Austin met Droz in 2021 through James Gallery owner James Frederick, who represents Droz and has exhibited his work in two solo exhibitions, the sculptor’s promoters said.
Droz is no Pittsburgh newbie.
A graduate of Harvard College, the Brookline native taught for 18 years at the Carnegie Mellon School of Design. After leaving CMU, he ran an award-winning design company in the city.
In 2018, at the age of 69, he decided to devote himself full-time to sculpture. Since then he has had five solo exhibitions and over 20 juried exhibitions, and his work has been collected nationally. He has also received numerous awards, including the Mary Phillips Prize for Sculpture from Seton Hill University, “Designer of Year” from ID Magazine and “Best of America” from Abitari (Italy).
So, is “The Gathering” the most emblematic, to date, of Droz’s work?
“It’s definitely the biggest,” he laughs. “I hope this will be the start of more. My intention has always been to make larger sculptures because there is potential for people to interact – it creates a sense of space in an otherwise monochromatic environment. .
In addition to upcoming appearances at shows in California and Pennsylvania, Droz said he’s set to exhibit his work — including smaller sculptures in a diorama-like form — at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. , which begins June 3 in the Cultural Quarter.
But don’t think for a second that he’s not savoring this artistic moment.
“The pieces are coming out,” Droz said. “It’s very rewarding to have a room that’s not in someone’s house or garden.” PJC
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.