Originally published September 1st, 2016.
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Deep from the vaults of my August adventures I bring you.... Randyland!
Randyland is a block on the Northside of Pittsburgh that has been transformed into the ongoing reduce, reuse, recycle art project of Randy Gilson.
Randy began transforming the Northside of Pittsburgh when he moved into the neighborhood over 30 years ago. Although seduced by the beauty of the homes on the Northside (aren't we all?), Randy was greeted with disorder, grime, and conflict when he moved into the area.
Randy wanted to see change... so he decided to do something about it himself.
He started by picking up litter and planting gardens, even purchasing $1000 worth of whisky barrels to plant in front of abandoned homes.
Randy's larger project began in 1995 when he bought a dilapidated home on Arch Street and began fixing it up. To keep expenses low while continuing to clean up the neighborhood, Randy repurposed wood, paint, and trash he found in streets near his home.
Over 20 years later, Randy is yet to stop.
Randy's colorful home shouldn't - and can't - be missed when visiting the Northside. Repainted doors, mannequin heads, plastic flamingos, paint spanning the entire color spectrum, and more are on display in Randyland.
Randyland is dubbed Pittsburgh's "Most Colorful Landmark" and it certainly fits the bill.
Randy emphasis his practice of recycling and repurposing to decorate his home. He is especially inspiring in his terms of actually BEING the change he wants to see in the world.
I want to include a quote by Randy about his mother that inspired his work in Randyland, and his general view on life:
".... she taught us that no matter how many people are ahead of you, there are tenfold behind you and that we have to embrace that."
The Northside in general, especially the Mexican War Streets around Randyland, is very beautiful. The area is exploding with new art and murals - a lot in thanks to Randy. If you are in the area visiting the Mattress Factory museum, be sure to stroll over to Randyland.
Randyland is typically open every day from 1-5:30pm. Heck, if you are killing time before a Pirates game it is worth the stroll.
Be sure to donate to the project if you enjoy your time there. I'm sure you've spent more money at a crappy museum.
So go see for yourself.... Yay for public art!
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