Pittsburgh entertains many art exhibits each year, but none quite like Projekt 50/50. Projekt 50/50 switches things up from the typical wine and cheese art exhibit to an event with a more relaxed vibe. This year, the event will be celebrating its fifth year anniversary. Over the past five years, nine different shows have brought together 50 artists and various out-of-the-ordinary substrates to create something that gets people excited and relaxed about art. This time, the show is titled, “Up The Creek,” and artists from around Pittsburgh will be paired with boat paddles, frat paddles, ping pong paddles and more for their respective canvases. Dave Kaule, one of the creators of Projekt 50/50, explained their mission:
“Yes the mission is exactly that. ‘To take the wine and cheese out of the art exhibit and replace with fresh tunes, good vibes and cold ones.’ We know a lot of people who won’t go to some art events or participate in one because they feel the environment maybe to ‘pretentious’ or ‘highfalutin.’ Those events are fine for some [but] Projekt 50/50 has proven that you do not have to be an established artist to create something and show it on a public platform. What does 50/50 offer that other events may not? I would say no limitations or real guidelines other than what the piece is that everyone is creating. We want people to enjoy and participate in making and experiencing art without the politics.”
Projekt 50/50 made its debut in 2009 as a skateboard art show. Since then, Projekt 50/50 has been held at different venues around the ‘Burgh, like Brillobox and OTB Bicycle Cafe. Some of the piece bases used in the past have included toilet seats, bicycle seats, and hubcaps as well. TJ Baker, co-creator of Projekt 50/50 described the reasoning behind the use of different canvasses:
“As skateboarders of our era we’ve always had a DIY approach to life and we’ve learned to look past ordinary things and see something other people just can’t see. The idea behind the odd objects we choose is to see what 50 different peoples’ take is on one common object. As far as challenges go for space, that’s part of the fun, you have to think on your toes. I feel like it forces people to be creative and come out of their comfort zone. We like to keep things fluid and fresh with each show. The more ridiculous it sounds on paper, the more interesting and exciting the shows end up being.”
Projekt 50/50 will celebrate its five-year anniversary with the show, “Up The Creek,” on Friday, May 23 at Belvedere’s Ultra Dive in Lawrenceville.