Alexi Morrissey
Photo courtesy of Have You Seen Me Kickstarter
Photo from Barebones Black Box Kickstarter campaign.

Barebones Black Box

9 days to go

$9,025 of $10,000 goal

Hard to believe that in over a decade of critically-acclaimed performances, Barebones Productions has never had a real home. That ended this year when the production company started building a black box theater in Braddock, sharing the first floor of an old car dealership with the much-anticipated restaurant, Superior Motors.

While work on the space is in progress, the production company successfully staged American Falls, playing to sold-out audiences for all of its performances.

Like its restaurant neighbor, Barebones Black Box is building not only a venue for its performances but a company that will offer community space and programming to the town’s residents as well as other production companies.

While the fundraiser is almost at goal, the Kickstarter covers only 10% of what it will cost to rehab the raw space so founder Patrick Jordan left a lot of room for a stretch goal.

Photo from Have You Seen Me Kickstarter campaign.

Have you seen me?

35 days to go

$3,156 of $20,000 goal

Many of us don’t know that dairy farmers took it upon themselves—unaided by the government—to put faces of missing children on milk cartons in the 1980s in an effort to help find them.

Artist Alexi Morrissey transforms that advocacy campaign into a “memorial for Africans who where lost during the Slave Trade.” Morrissey is commemorating real slaves and their lives on hand-crafted, archival milk bottles. The bottles are not meant to be displayed in galleries or museums but to be displayed in homes—to catalyze reflection and conversation—all over the world.

The project depicts real people, whose portraits were derived from historical documents, with the help of African first language speakers to develop historically accurate names. “As each new series of bottles engages with new translators it also engages with new visual designers and design firms to create believable brand identities for each of the fictional farms on the bottles,” says the artist.

Morrissey has been working on this project since 2012 and is raising funds to create a mass production facility.

Photo from The Bee Book Kickstarter campaign.

The Bee Book

19 days to go

$8,864 of $11,000 goal

Art on another scale is this beautifully made interactive pop-up book project. The Bee Book! raises awareness for the mass colonies of bees collapsing all over the Earth due to pesticides sprayed over fruits and vegetables.

The Bee Book! has a unique hexagonal structure inspired by the shape of honeycombs and its pieces flip out and unfold into different layers of hexagons and diamonds that act as pages and contain colorful, realistic illustrations. The book educates the public about the six families of bees found in North America and the flowers they are attracted to. Nestled amongst the illustrative flora are fun facts which describe how these bees go about pollinating flowers, why they are drawn to specific flowers and how different flavors of honey occur naturally based on the kinds of flowers involved in the process.

Book makers Matt Holbein and Emily Brooks are raising funds to die cut, print, and assemble this elaborate and complex work of art.

Photo from Pittsburgh Po’ Boy IndieGoGo campaign.
Photo from Pittsburgh Po’ Boy IndieGoGo campaign.

Pittsburgh Po Boy

9 days to go

$8,975 of $10,500 goal

Our city’s food truck laws may be baffling but other cities have clearly shown that food trucks only contribute to the diversity of urban food culture. Here’s another entrepreneur who wants to provide more diversity to our city’s food options—Pittsburgh Po’ Boy will offer po’ boys, gumbo and other Cajun and Creole goodies.

Chef/Owner Ben Dougherty is raising funds so he can start up his business in the Pittsburgh Public Market and make enough to undertake the build-out of an old police truck into the Pittsburgh Po’ Boy Food Truck.

Dirty rice, jambalaya, beignets—we need to have this roving truck of Creole goodness!

Photo courtesy of Umbrella Cafe

Umbrella Café

22 days to go

$2,606 of $30,000 goal

The Umbrella Café is a collaboration between three beloved small food businesses: Soup Nancys, Savasana Juice Company and Om Nom Bake Studio. Starting a restaurant is hard and in order to grow, small food businesses need to find a way to make a leap. This collaboration is a smart merging of three complementary businesses.

Steve Bland started Savasana Juice started long before the Pittsburgh juice boom, offering fresh juices at yoga studios. Linzee Mihalcin’s Soup Nancys has been offering a delicious daily selection of soups at the Pittsburgh Public Market. And Karla and Matt Schroeder’s Om Nom Bake Studio pushes cookie boundaries—if you are skeptical, try The Brick, their famous peanut butter and chocolate concoction.

The Umbrella Café will be located downtown where the three purveyors will have a production space and café. We need some of these goodies downtown!

And finally, a stretch goal support:

Photo courtesy of Toby Fraley

Robot Repair at the Pittsburgh International Airport

5 days to go

$11,636 of $10,000 goal

Toby Fraley may have reached his goal to fund his Robot Repair installation at the Pittsburgh International Airport but we can push a little more to support the artist behind the much-loved work. How cool will it be for travelers who enter our city to be greeted not only by Franco and George but by a lovable robot peeking out of a 1950s-era repair shop?

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment....