Wightman Park Public Art Project

5612 Solway St, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
In partnership with the PA City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works and Civic Design Departments
More info about the Wightman Park Improvement Project: http://pittsburghpa.gov/wightmanparkproject/index.html


OOA Designs has been commissioned by the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works to create  two permanent public sculptures for installed Summer 2019 in Wightman Park located in Squirrel Hill Pittsburgh, PA.  OOA Designs replied to the RFP and bid through the Beacon system on the project. Our final designs incorporate a no-waste aesthetic, where both the negative and positive forms created in steel plate laser cutting process are utilized to create additional accent sculptures around the park. OOA Designs wad scheduled for a WIghtman Park community input event; however, out of respect to recent tragic event in Squirrel Hill it was postponed to a later date. We are looking forward to engaging with the community to hear their ideas and collect imagery that may be included in the final artwork.

The two final concept designs for Wightman Park are the sculptural centerpiece waterfall bench and the organic “bug fence” sculptures  which are detailed below.

Sculptural Centerpiece- Waterfall

The sculptural centerpiece illustrates the flow of a waterfall over boulders illuminating the eco-conscious re-design of Wightman park. The design is CNC Laser cut into two  ½” x 10 ft x 5 ft plates of steel. The centerpiece sculpture will be installed on a concrete sidewalk in front of the gazebo. Recessed lights will be set in concrete for dramatic night illumination of the sculpture.

The sculpture will stand at 8 foot x 6 foot x 1⁄2” thick. The silhouette form will be the main sculpture and the positive shapes cut out will be reclaimed and fabricated into small stools that are wedged into the corners of the sculpture and also used as parts of the second commissioned sculpture- leaving no material waste. For public safety, all edges of the laser cut steel will be beveled inwards to create a rounded edge. The two steel panels and small stools will be slotted to fit together seamlessly and welded securely in place. The surface will be prepared using metal patinas and alloy heat tempering methods and sealed with a clear powder coat finish.

Eleven plates of glass in hues of blues, greens and dichroic colorations will be bezeled into select negative shapes of the boulders, each one as a commemoration that  respectfully represents a victim from The Tree of Life Synagogue that is a part of this Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The use of glass also suggests other site specific reference the location as the historic location of Wightman Glass, one of many family operated glass factories in Pittsburgh from 1819-1873. It was suggested during an initial community input meeting the City of Pittsburgh held that the community would like to see glass as a component of the final work.  This design was developed with sensitivity to site considering current and historic events. Our intention is to cast dynamic and playful shadows across the landscape that create a welcoming and reflective space for the community.

Second Sculpture- Fencing bug ornaments

The second sculptural addition come from the positive boulder shapes, which are saved and pieced together into different bug forms. Our plans for the community event is to 1) have community puzzle together abstracted bug forms 2) collect drawings of flowers, bugs and illustrations of water made by residents 3) use the printmaking processes of screen printing and intaglio etching to engrave the community drawings and additional educational research on rain gardens into the steel plates. The staff of our  partner, local non-profit arts organization Artists Image Resource, will help us process these drawings and information into screens and engraved into the sculptures. The plates will then be burnished with colored oil pigments that will settle permanently into the etchings.

These etched plates will then be welded together into the community sourced bug shapes and installed on the fencing along Wightman Street and Solway Street fencing, not only further engaging the beautification of the neighborhood street corner and welcoming pedestrians from the street into the park, but they will educate the public on the different plants and insect populations that will create the unique biodiversity of the rain garden as well.