PRETTY MUCH EVERYWHERE around the globe, the last few weeks of the calendar are traditionally celebrated as “A Season of Lights” … Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Fête des Lumières, Loi Krathong, St. Lucia Day and, yes, Hogmanay (thanks, Scotland) … festivals and religious observances involving a vibrant profusion of illumination from sacred candles and public bonfires to civic fireworks and LED yard displays.
Even at the approaching end of a very dark-themed year, Pittsburgh artists have worked to bring as much light as possible to local galleries.
Start with the annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market at Market Square downtown, running seven days a week to Dec. 23, along with performances by local musicians. Walk six blocks northeast to 623 Smithfield St. and through Dec. 6, you can sample arts wares from 70 Black-owned businesses at The Black Market: Holiday Edition, a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Shayla Hawkins Events.
Then stroll 4 blocks northwest to 922 Penn Ave. and view the holiday splendors of the Small Mall Holiday Pop-Up, open 12-6 p.m. Wed.-Sun., through Dec. 24. One block yet more westerly is love, Pittsburgh, stocked with hundreds of items from Pittsburgh artists and located at 805 Liberty Ave. in the Trust Arts Education Center (with a Mount Washington location at 301 Shiloh St.).
Outside downtown, local artists’ work abounds at Pittsburgh Glass Center to Dec. 22 (5472 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh) and Artsmiths of Pittsburgh from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays-Sundays (329 E. Main St. Carnegie).
In the virtual realm, Sweetwater Center for the Arts (200 Broad St. Sewickley) hosts a Holiday Mart with locally handcrafted gifts to Dec. 19; the Virtual Marketplace of Pittsburgh nonprofit Handmade Arcade runs to Dec. 6 and includes a Dec. 4 “Hot Jam” glassblowing demonstration with Pittsburgh Glass Center.
** Special Events **
* Dec. 3, 7:00 p.m. Heinz History Center offers “Caricature as Portraiture: A Conversation with Tim Menees”, an evening of musings on caricature and portraiture with Tim Menees, one of Pittsburgh’s most renowned cartoonists and social satirists, featuring an early glimpse into Menees’ vast collection of original sketches and cartoons.
* Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media holds an exhibit-fundraiser by 15 artists, Small Works & A Big Chimpanzee, with all pieces except for the big chimpanzee sized at 18″x18″ or less and priced no higher than $400; also on the front lawn, a Winters Artists Market featuring handmade works, live demonstrations, food truck.
* A new artist-in-residence program has opened at 2145 Centre Avenue … for the next two years, Nafasi on Centre will be home to Ray Butler (sketch art/murals), Cynthia Kenderson (poetry/spoken word/photography), Deavron Dailey (ceramics/murals), Dawn Surgest (fashion design), Glorie Barnette (sketch art/painting) and James Hough (sketch art/murals). In addition to live. work and exhibit space, the program provides professional development mentorship. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org, (412)765-1820.
** Exhibits **
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. To Dec. 28 at 100 43rd St. Pittsburgh: 110 x 110 x 110. 110 works of art by 80+ artists priced at $110 each – in celebration of AAP’s 110th anniversary. (412) 361-1370. To Dec. 20 at 422 Wood St. Pittsburgh: Vertigo with 20 artists explore personal associations of vertigo.
Carlow University Art Gallery. To Jan. 29, 2021: The Anthropology of Motherhood: Culture of Care presents 14 artists’ visual representations of caregiving, parenting, nurturing and the ethics of care via painting, photography, music, poetry, sculpture, video, risography. University Commons, 2nd floor, 3333 Fifth Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 578-6000.
Concept Art Gallery. Starting Dec. 5: Fine Art, Antiques and Design Auction. 374 lots of contemporary and 19th/early 20th-century fine art, antiques, design, silver, ceramics, jewelry, Asian objects. 1031 S. Braddock Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 242-9200.
James Gallery. Through December: an evolving collection of new work by regional and national artists including Chuck Olson, Joyce Werwie Perry, Scott Turri, David Wallace. 413 S. Main St. Pittsburgh. (412) 922-9800.
Silver Eye Center For Photography. To Dec. 31: Rory Doyle’s Delta Hill Riders documents traditions of African American cowboys and cowgirls in the Mississippi Delta; Sue Abramson’s Magicicada explores the inner and outer lives of cicada. ALSO, five photographers featured in Honorably Mentioned: Selected Portfolios from Fellowship 20. 4808 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 431-1810.
Thoughtrobbers Gallery. To Dec. 6: Nero, A Natural Death. Opening Dec. 12 (6-10 p.m.): Natiq Jalil, Methodology Natiq, mixed media with watercolor, ink, acrylic. 438 S. Main St. Pittsburgh. (702) 854-0507.
Carnegie Museum of Art. To Jan. 3, 2021: Counterpressures featuring 10 Pittsburgh–area artists grappling with the current ecological present and its uncertain future. 4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 622-3131.
- To Jan. 4, 2021: The Art of Neapolitan Presepio. The presepio is an elaborate, handmade Nativity scene recreated with miniature figures arranged in a detailed panorama of 18th-century Italian village life; handmade by artists between 1700 and 1830, the exhibit features more than 100 superbly modeled human, animal and angelic figures.
- To Jan. 18, 2021: An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain is the first comprehensive survey of the politically charged work of photographer An-My Lê.
- To Feb. 14, 2021: Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star, a 16-minute video work tracing the star-crossed melancholy of two separated lovers memorialized by a beloved pop tune, Vietnamese folk poems and the sensual and toxic urban periphery of modern Ho Chi Minh City.
- To Mar. 14, 2021: Locally Sourced highlights new work by some of the region’s most talented artists and makers of functional goods and furnishings.
- To Mar. 27, 2021: Trevor Paglen: Opposing Geometries explores Artifical Intelligence and surveillance systems.
** Talks & Workshops **
Carnegie Museum of Art. Dec. 6, 4–5 p.m. Family Drawing: Neapolitan Presepio; Dec. 13, 2–3 p.m. Zoom In to the Details: The Neapolitan Presepio; Dec. 6, 13, 20, 1–1:30 p.m. Weekly Art Meditations. 4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 622-3131.