Outdoor art project planned in Oakland

By Jill Power | The Duquesne Duke

The first stop on the Oakland loop bus could tout an outdoor art installation soon.

Oakland Business Improvement District is only $50,000 away from installing Innovation Oakland, a project that seeks to incorporate digital media and way-finding solutions into the urban Pittsburgh landscape.

The installation, a state-of-the-art LED screen that acts as both an information center as well as a digital art gallery, will be located at the corner of Forbes Avenue and South Banquet Street. Real time information, which includes bus schedules, traffic updates and emergency alerts, are examples of the kind of information this installation, and any subsequent installations, would provide pedestrians.

One large LED screen on the site will serve as both the information center and the digital art space, according to the project’s Indiegogo page. Murray Horne, owner of the Wood Street Gallery in Downtown Pittsburgh, will curate the digital art component of the project.

Free Wi-Fi, audio-capable “Smart Poles” and a small garden are also part of the installation.

OBID is using Indiegogo, an online crowdfunding site, to raise the money needed to install the project onto the Forbes and South Banquet location. UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have awarded grants or provided donations to the project. However, these organizations are not permitted to advertise, nor will they have any influence on the content, according to OBID director Georgia Petropoulos.

“This is not a billboard,” Petropoulos said.

An important aspect that Innovation Oakland hopes to address, Petropoulos said, is the “digital divide,” or the gap between those who may not have access to technology or do not feel educated enough to feel comfortable on a technological device and those who do.

Innovation Oakland will take the technology already use in our private lives and make it a facet of our public space. That way, Petropoulos suggests, those influenced by the digital divide can experience new technology in such a way that it is easy to understand.

“Once you interact with it…it becomes second nature,” Petropoulos said.

Petropoulos said the project will provide both Oakland residents and visitors to the Oakland area with services necessary to a pleasant and stress-free experience.

“It’s really about promoting community and what we want to promote about Oakland,” Petropoulos said