Pittsburghs beloved #21, rendered larger than life. Image courtesy of Jeremy Raymer.

With more 170 monuments, statues and murals lining our streets, Pittsburgh is already something of an open-air museum. Now, there’s an audio tour.

Last week, the City of Pittsburgh launched a new podcast series celebrating our town’s rich heritage of public art. Featuring 16 chapters, the series splits its focus among eight different sections of the city, with one episode explaining the history of that area’s artworks, and another providing oral history from experts and long-time residents.

Featured artists include Thaddeus Mosley, Peter Calaboyias and Susan Wagner.

According to the city’s announcement, the podcast “details on roughly 40% of the City’s collection of over 170 works of art, many dating back to the 19th Century. These backgrounds, spanning works found in every quadrant of the City, are combined with modern takes on how works of art can transform physical space and shape the narrative of a neighborhood.”

The project was a collaboration between the Public Art and Civic Design Division and the Geographic Information Systems Division (GIS) of the Department of City Planning.

The podcast includes expertise and insight from Dr. Jennifer Whitmer Taylor, assistant professor of public history at Duquesne University and Lauren Eisenhart-Purvis, an archivist at Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation and a freelance oral historian.

Speaking to NEXTpittsburgh, GIS Manager Michael Homa said that while there are no current plans to produce further podcasts, he feels confident that future proposals will come once other sectors of the city tune in.

“With this project, the City confirms its commitment on playing a significant role as a funder to actively ensure the importance of monuments, memorials and public art,” said Mayor Bill Peduto.

Check out all the episodes and accompanying maps here.

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