Pittsburgh Foundation awards $215,000 through ‘Exposure Artist’ program
Deavron Dailey can’t decide which he loves more: his hometown of Detroit or his home of 13 years, Pittsburgh.
The similarities and contrasts between the two industrial cities have informed much of Dailey’s recent artwork, and a $20,000 grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Exposure Artist program will help this work continue.
“I often make two-dimensional works of art based on the people, places and defining moments of each city through painting, ceramics or printmaking, mainly,” said Dailey, 43, from the Highland district. Pittsburgh Park. “But my goal is to create collaborative situations between creatives, artistic spaces and community development organizations in these two cities that I also love.”
The foundation has awarded a dozen grants totaling $215,000 to support individual artists and arts collectives, with a focus on Black, Indigenous and artists of color working at the intersection of art and activism. , as well as artists who have not previously received funding. For more details on grants and artists, see ThePittsburghFoundation.org/exposureawardees.
Dailey, a self-taught artist, recently completed work on a public mural for Action Housing at William Penn Place, as well as his largest public work to date, ‘The Arms of East Liberty’, created using 128 large square tiles and installed at 5906 Penn Ave. He is currently accepting commissioned work and is a member of the printmaking collective Bloomfield Pullproof Studio and the Union Project collaborative studio in Highland Park.
He spoke with the Trib about the grant and his upcoming plans. The interview has been edited for length.
Q: What do you think are the main similarities and differences between the two cities, and how do you want to represent them artistically?
A: The similarities I see in Detroit and Pittsburgh are that they are both industrial cities, historically and currently. Both towns have always had an energetic artistic and activist community. Additionally, both cities rely on nearby bodies of water as another source of economic viability. In contrast, Pittsburgh is full of hills and Detroit is completely flat. Pittsburgh’s dramatic hills create hundreds of vantage points to view the entire city, but this makes the layout of city streets illogical and difficult to navigate. Detroit is completely flat. There are therefore very few breathtaking views in the residential areas of the city. But the streets are based on the design of a grid, or more like “a spoked wheel”, as I’ve heard it described before. This makes navigating the city quite easy.
Q: What first got you interested in art, and how did that lead to a career out of it?
A: I have been interested in art all my life. As far back as I can remember. It has always been clear to me that being an artist was/is my destiny. Anything outside of that has only been experiences and content to be used later in the production of my art in one form or another.
Q: Is mixed media your main medium?
A: I use a wide range of media to create my work. For me, it is not a question of confining myself to a single medium in order to constitute a large corpus of similar works. Instead, I let any feelings of mood, interest, or inspiration that have been evoked in me determine how and what to use to express what I visualize.
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