Tag: Pittsburgh

1859 Map: Allegheny City, Pgh’s North Side

An 1859 map showing Pittsburgh & Allegheny City (Pgh’s North Side, North Shore) is up for auction in New York for $95,000.  Fairly nice detail that can be zoomed in upon and certainly compared (in building shape, land plots etc) to the maps in my book Resurrecting Allegheny City.  Check out the Penitentiary, for example, on the site of what is now the Pgh. Intl. Aviary.  A great addition to Pittsburgh history in general:



Resurrecting 1859 view of Allegheny City & Pittsburgh



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Creative Folly

Creative Folly


The Illusory Support of American Artists by Arts Organizations & Funders

c  Lisa A. Miles 2014

Over a decade ago, I published a book about a woman artist and her work, and the larger role of an artist’s work in American society.  Another one formally begins here, to expose the lunacy that underlies American arts organizations and funders’ support for the individual artist, and to propose alternatives far more sane, just, creative and certainly do-able.

My biography of Esther Phillips, This Fantastic Struggle, commented upon the concept of Artists as Workers, deriding the little respect mainstream society has for creative workers of all genres.  This current work tackles in-depth the illusory support by the American arts establishment itself, which is supposed to be championing the artist’s cause.  Across a broad spectrum that includes community arts agencies, philanthropy, larger urban cultural entities and much more, it is a required critical look at the lack of real support for those that produce substantive creative contributions to society– the artists themselves.  It is informed by my own longstanding work as a creative artist, but also many others working similarly in the United States.

Where “Fantastic Struggle” railed against mainstream society’s lack of understanding of artists and their work, Creative Folly takes on the insiders, those very entities who proclaim to have artists’ best interests at heart.  Instead, their policies are entirely incapable of making measurable, significant difference in the lives of the millions of true working artists in this country.

This is a book that art administrators will denounce and hate– unless they’re willing to take an honest look within their community at what and whom they purport to be helping.  Foundation officers, and those directing the scant number of corporate giving programs out there, will certainly outcry, too– mortified that their work is exposed for its little genuine benefit.  Even arts organizations’ low-level workers may scoff, taken aback at the suggestion that the nonprofit they advocate for isn’t advancing the arts.  But that goal is something which is best done when you actually support and create work opportunity for individual creative artists.

I don’t write to please the art establishment.  My focus is to expose and examine the long-standing policies and practices in place within the art-funding world and arts organizations large and small.  Those who are presumed to do no wrong– philanthropy and the creative nonprofits.  When in fact they could do far better to effect meaningful impact on the lives of working artists.


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Mike Webster & the NFL Lawsuit over Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy


View this article where it was originally published by PsychCentral


Any Pittsburgh Steeler fan over the age of 36 could tell you about Mike Webster.  He was our All-Pro Center who, alongside Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, Franco Harris, Mean Joe Greene and so many notorious others, carried the team to four Super Bowl wins in the 70s.  Mike was bigger than Mean Joe but known for a heart of gold….

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Pittsburgh heard the news a little before it hit the national arena in 2002.  Webster would die at the young age of 50 after a few years of suddenly erratic behavior occasionally reported upon in local papers.  His life had unravelled inexplicably, not due to drugs or alcohol but some strange other force.  Mike seemed sidelined by debilitating depression, disjointed thinking in public, and bouts of anger previously foreign to his easy nature off the field.


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