Rivers of Steel’s Graffiti Art program draws inspiration from the underground culture of local graffiti writers, urban explorers, and guerrilla artists who animated the Carrie Blast Furnaces—and similar post-industrial sites—following the collapse of the steel industry
in the 1980s.
With a reverence for the region’s industrial roots and a strong sense of local identity, these street artists recognized unique opportunities for creative self-expression and cultural production amidst the abandoned factories.
(Above image: Detail of 2019 murals created by artists Martzia Thometz, Shane Pilster and Max Gonzales “Gems” at the Carrie Blast Furnaces .)
Graffiti & Style-writing Workshops
Learn to create your own graffiti-style masterpiece at the Carrie Blast Furnaces! This workshop and accompanying mini-tour introduces participants to graffiti-style mural painting, style-writing techniques, and painting with aerosol. This workshop is offered five times in 2021: Saturday, June 19, Saturday, July 24, Saturday, August 21, Sunday, September 12, and Saturday, October 16 from 1 – 3:30 p.m.
Check out our after school and visiting artist programs for middle school, high school, and college classes. Students embark on a journey into the history of graffiti, hands-on lessons, take-home worksheets, and an immersive crash-course into the techniques of graffiti art.
Community Events & Projects
The Graffiti Arts program participates in various community events throughout the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area; featuring live painters, hosting demonstrations, and mini-workshops. In 2019, Rivers of Steel launched Homestead First Fridays with a graffiti art installation that showcased 11 local and international artists. In 2021, we’ll be working with Murals on a Mission in New Kensington, PA.
Rivers of Steel and the Graffiti Arts program has partnered with various organizations across southwestern Pennsylvania to create new public murals. Artists are hand-selected to ensure high quality works. They range from local talent to national and international visiting artists.