When Pittsburgh-based artist Ashley De Silva came to Braddock this fall, she came “With Love.”

That’s the title of a new mural that De Silva has been painting on the side of The Hollander Project for the last several weeks. The complete work was finished and unveiled this past weekend, and De Silva said the experience was both “interesting and inspiring.”

The Hollander Project is a business incubator and coworking space run by and for women entrepreneurs in Braddock. It was founded by Gisele Fetterman and Kristen Maser Michaels earlier this year.

While De Silva worked on designs, Fetterman and Maser Michaels helped facilitate the practical details, such as repairing and cleaning the plaster on the outside wall that would become her canvas.

Speaking to NEXTpittsburgh, muralist De Silva said she was looking for one last wall to paint before the winter months. A friend working in the incubator, Joelisa McDonald, recommended that she get in touch with the managers of The Hollander Project.

Located at 901 Braddock Avenue, The Hollander Project is a place for women entrepreneurs to operate their businesses outside of their homes at an affordable rate of roughly $100 a month. The name comes from the building’s iconic sign, which harkens back to a time when the building held Hollander’s drug store in the mid-20th century.

In addition to helping their in-house business, The Hollander Project also offers classes in everything from resume writing to women’s self-defense for the entire community.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with how Ashley’s mural turned out,” says Fetterman. “We really trusted her as an artist and gave her no instruction. Her work truly captures the essence of our mission at The Hollander.”

Bill O'Toole

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.