With the backing of $25 million from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, a six-block section around the Andy Warhol Museum will be transformed into “The Pop District.”
The museum announced on Friday its hopes to create a hub for events, creative education and public art inspired by the Factory, the pop artist’s New York creative hub. An example of that is the mural, “Over The Rainbow” by Miami-based artist Typoe, on an exterior wall of the museum along Rose Way. It will be the site of the Warhol’s Last Fridays, a series of outdoor evening events from June through September.
The first phase of the $60 million project, which is expected to take 10 years to complete, includes securing half of the funding, developing new education programs and adding public art to the space.
In the second phase, expected to start in 2024, the museum wants to build a performance venue to accommodate 800 to 1,000 people. It is expected to be built on the site of a nearby parking lot at East General Robinson and Sandusky streets.
The Richard King Mellon Foundation has committed $15 million over the next three-and-a-half years, while the Henry L. Hillman Foundation has committed $10 million over four years.
Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Chora Creative, which was hired as part of the planning process, expects The Pop District will attract 50,000 to 70,000 new visitors to the North Shore and have a significant economic impact on the neighborhood.
“The Pop District will demonstrate the role that museums can and must play in their communities by serving as centers of innovation and catalysts of economic development,” Steven Knapp, president and the CEO of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the parent organization of The Warhol, said in a statement.
The Warhol Creative, a group of interns and employees in their teens and 20s who create online content, is scheduled to move into a nearby vacant office building at 106 Isabella St. The building is owned by Jeremy Leventhal, a museum advisory board member and developer from New York. Leventhal says he will offer preferential rates on rent to the museum.
“The Warhol knows that art can change lives and art can change cities,” David K. Roger, president of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, said in a statement. “With The Pop District, that change is coming by bringing arts programming and workforce training outside the museum’s walls to create a six-block cultural destination on the North Shore. This is an outstanding opportunity for Pittsburgh’s growing creative economy and further underscores The Warhol’s reputation as a global leader in arts innovation.”