New initiative turns Pittsburgh mayor’s office into rotating art exhibit | Visual Arts | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Michelle Gainey hugs her son Darius after her husband, Ed Gainey, took the lead against incumbent Bill Peduto in the Democratic primary for mayor on Tuesday, May 19, 2021.

The election of Ed Gainey as Pittsburgh’s first black mayor marked a historic moment for the city. It also meant that Pittsburgh would see a black woman in a position of power and influence in his wife, First Lady Michelle Gainey. Now Michelle has launched her first community initiative, one that sees the mayor’s office playing a very different role.

The City of Pittsburgh has announced the start of Pittsburgh Paintings, a rotating art exhibit described as using art to “celebrate the diversity of our great city”. The project will highlight the city’s art scene by displaying works in the Mayor’s Executive Boardroom, Mayor’s Office and Chief of Staff’s Office.

Not only that, but each month, Pittsburgh Paintings will feature a “unique theme dedicated to uplifting Pittsburgh’s diverse voices, empowering local artists, and creating opportunities to use art to learn more about our city’s diverse cultures.” The first one Pittsburgh Paintings the exhibition honors Black History Month with works by Brandon Jennings, Ashante Josey, Marlon Gist, Douglas Webster, Irene Sparks, Kellye Jean Dawson-Young, Baba Amir Rashiid, Jamie Acie Sr, Ernest Bey, Hurley Charles Nance and Theresa Rose Monroe.

Pittsburgh Paintings will be held in partnership with Fantasy Zellars, CEO and President of Bounce Marketing & Consulting.

“Pittsburgh has such a beautiful and inspiring art scene,” says Michelle. “Pittsburgh Paintings is just one way to showcase our local residents, bring culture to the mayor’s office, and celebrate all of Pittsburgh’s amazing artists. I have always been passionate about art, which gives us the opportunity to learn and explore different cultures, ideas and perspectives. It is an honor for me to work with the incredible Pittsburgh community to showcase our local talent. I hope this series can help inspire our children to think creatively and embrace opportunities to learn something new.

In the coming months, Pittsburgh Paintings will feature artwork honoring Women’s History Month, as well as months dedicated to Asia Pacific American Heritage, Jewish American Heritage, and Latino Hispanic Heritage. Also included are LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Black Issues Month, American Artist Appreciation Month, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as shows inspired by college students, photography, the holidays and Pittsburgh in general.

“I couldn’t be more proud to use the Mayor’s office as a platform to showcase and showcase such incredible and diverse artists from Pittsburgh,” said Mayor Gainey.

He stresses that the city should support local artists from diverse groups, and that art and culture are “essential to opening pathways to prosperity and a rich, full life for everyone in our city.”

“Celebrating culture and learning from each other is how we grow and become the most inclusive city in America,” adds Mayor Gainey. “Pittsburgh’s talented artists deserve this platform and it’s an honor for me to highlight and share the incredible work of our residents.”

All Pittsburgh Paintings shows can be viewed at the Mayor’s Office in the City-County Building at 414 Grant St. in downtown Pittsburgh.

Artists interested in participating in upcoming exhibitions may submit their work at any time to or by going to