Shadyside — The Art Festival paints a portrait of local art

With tents lining either side of Walnut St., the Shadyside Arts Festival gave Pittsburgh locals an opportunity to find new art with each passing step.

Capri Scarcelli | a&e editor


With tents lining either side of Walnut St., the Shadyside Arts Festival gave Pittsburgh locals an opportunity to find new art with each passing step.

On August 28-29 from 10a.m. — 5p.m., artists both Pittsburgh-native and beyond set up their tent for a long day of sharing what they have created.

In support of local artists, Pittsburgh’s 24th annual “Shadyside — The Art Festival” on Walnut Street offered an array of wall art and knick-knacks that would be perfect for any grab-bag gift: this included paintings, jewelry, pottery, photography and other creations available for purchase at each vendor’s booth.

Senior education major Kaitlin Dodd said that she was impressed with the amount of artists and variety. Although a different layout than Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers’ Art Festival that she was used to going to, she said it still “creat[ed] a unique Pittsburgh experience.”

“I appreciated that the Shadyside Arts Festival was more intimate and secluded, it was very picturesque as well, and I found some artists I had never seen before. I walked around the different booths, admired work, talked to the artists and ate dinner at one of the local restaurants nearby [Shady Grove].”

Through the cultural hub of Pittsburgh, artists are often looking for places to showcase their work, which is where former Duquesne law student and now full-time artist Sara O’Connor has found solace in festivals like Shadyside’s.

According to O’Connor, her painting career began as a hobby and flourished with the support of friends, family and colleagues wanting to buy her work.

“It started as a way to relax and unwind to paint something oceanic, so I just started making little dots with paint which eventually turned to rose petals and my new love for floralism,” O’Connor said. “I loved to play with perler beads when I was young, mixing up the beads and separating them, and so I decided to try that with paint.”

O’Connor said she recommends this festival for anyone interested in the atmosphere, whether displaying their art or simply there to stroll through and observe.

“I really like the Shadyside Arts Festival, I think it’s got a great location and great artists,” O’Connor said. “I applied to various different art shows across the north east and decided to drive up from Richmond and set up shop for Shadyside’s two-day weekend [to share my work].”

Those interested in purchasing O’Connor’s paintings can visit for her bubbly paintings or for a specially-commissioned piece.

For a unique musical twist, artist Bob Ross makes wall clocks and coasters from “original, vintage album covers and album labels” for his very own business, Tune’s Company.

“I like to make what people love. It sounds corny, but when people light up for a certain artist it melts my heart, and things like that is what makes what I do something I feel very lucky about doing,” Ross said.

Dodd said she bought three items off of Ross as a gift to herself and to her family.

“I purchased a beautiful custom clock from Bob Ross. It was made from the album of Joni Mitchell’s Blue.” Dodd said. “I also got Beatles’ Revolver as well as Rolling Stone’s Exile on Main St. as coasters for my dad’s birthday.”

According to Ross, “Shadyside — The Art Festival” was sponsored by a company called Howard Allen Events. Hailing from Florida, Ross followed this festival to Pittsburgh to showcase his work.

“They do a great job and I was very excited to exhibit alongside them,” Ross said.

Ross’ work can be purchased on his website:

As an employee of a small business, Dodd said that shopping small “is very close to [her] heart.”

“Small businesses/local artists are what make our city special! They need our support more now than ever.” Dodd said. “It’s very easy to just stop into a big store out of convenience, but please remember to shop local as often as possible to show your support.”