Pittsburgh native David Oresick, an artist and curator who spent the last 11 years in Chicago and Central New York, moved back home to to the city this summer to become executive director of Silver Eye Center for Photography. Find out why he’s falling in love with Pittsburgh all over again.
Monday, December 1
Morning coffee and event planning meeting with Quelcy Kogel at 4121 Main in Bloomfield. The shop is beautiful and soon will open to the public as an espresso bar and mixed-use arts space. Then it’s down to the South Side to spend the rest of the day at Silver Eye catching up on the holiday backlog—with a lunch break at Carson Street Deli where I will obviously be getting the Three Little Pigs sandwich.
Tuesday, December 2
In Polish Hill my girlfriend Deanna and I recently bought a fixer-upper. I’ll stop at Lili Cafe and hang out with new neighbors for a bit before going to the house to tear out some of the old cabinets. We will head over to Construction Junction to search for cabinets (and probably leave with way more than that). I also love to see what local artists are up too, so I’ll stop by the Mine Factory in Wilkinsburg and check out some studios. We will finish the day in Polish Hill by walking up the street for some pierogies and whisky at Gooski’s.
Wednesday, December 3
It’s time to prepare for our big weekend photo book market so I’ll be meeting with booksellers and artists Melissa Catanese and Ed Panar at their shop Spaces Corners in Troy Hill. The new store location just opened and it looks fantastic. Melissa and Ed always have the most interesting and thoughtfully edited photo book selections around and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the book market. After that, Oakland lunch date at Hawker Stand with the executive director of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures/my mom, Stephanie Flom, where we talk about executive director things. Then I’m taking her to Carnegie Museum of Art to see Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals. I’ve already been through the show twice and it’s so huge, funny, sad and gorgeous, that I can’t wait to see it again.
Thursday, December 4
I’ll start the day in the Strip District to get everything needed for a small party for the Silver Eye book fair vendors, so that means stops at Pennsylvania Macaroni Company and Pittsburgh Winery. The Thin Man Sandwich Shop is great for lunch. Then a meeting with another local bookmaker, Elana Schlenker. She publishes Gratuitous Type, a pamphlet she describes as “typographic smut” and it’s awesome. My last meeting is with another book market vendor and local artist, Brett Kashmere, who publishes INCITE Journal of Experimental Media. He is getting the newest installment of INCITE ready—the blockbuster issue—and I am excited to see it. Like me, Brett is a huge sports fan, so after we talk business, it’s time to see the Pens take down the Canucks at Consol Energy Center.
Friday, December 5
Many of the book market participants arrive in town today so I get to do my new favorite thing since I moved back to Pittsburgh: showing off the city to out-of-towners. I’m especially excited to show them all the great local artists I’ve been seeing since I moved back, so we will hit April Friges’ show Spectator at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Chuck Connelly: My America at The Warhol, and Ryder Henry’s jaw dropping model spaceships at the Mattress Factory. Then, of course, who can resist driving guests up Mt. Washington? For dinner, sweet-and-tangy steamed pork belly buns at Noodlehead.
Saturday, December 6
Finally it is time to open the Silver Eye Photography Book Market! Seven of the most interesting book shops, photography organizations, vendors, publishers and artists will share original, independent and limited-edition photography books all weekend. We are in a golden age of bookmaking in the photography world right now and more artists than ever are making the most beautiful, fascinating and original books. I’m so happy to share this work with Pittsburgh; I’ll do some holiday shopping myself, of course, and add to my own photo book collection. After we wrap up the first day of the book fair, I’ll swing over to Handmade Arcade at the Convention Center to check out the goodies at Pittsburgh’s largest independent craft fair.
Sunday, December 7
I take my out-of-town guests on an early morning trip to see St. Nicholas Church in Millvale and its amazing Maxo Vanka murals. Commissioned by the church and painted from 1937 to 1941, the murals depict Christ and Mary in scenes of war in Croatia, as well as the struggles of industrial life for Croatian immigrants in Western Pennsylvania. They are dark, haunting and gorgeous—clearly one of Pittsburgh’s hidden artistic treasures.
Photo by Deanna Mance.