Christine Smith thinks Carnegie is unique.
Smith is originally from the San Francisco Bay area and moved here about four years ago when she started the Treading Art blog. The blog covers arts and culture in the Pittsburgh area and doubles as an events-based marketing firm that works with local cultural organizations and non-profits. Treading Art, according to the website’s copy, “seeks to connect creative communities and the public.”
As for Carnegie, “It’s been fun to see how the town is unfolding,” she said. “Every couple of months something new pops up. But it’s not just generic bars but different, interesting things.”
For example, there’s the 3rd Street Gallery, a fine arts space which advertises itself as having a collection of local, national, and international artists in a variety of media. “It’s also the studio for a gentleman named Philip Salvato,” said Smith. “And they host a lot of music events, primarily jazz, that are cool and that are BYOB.
“That’s something that’s interesting that’s happening in Carnegie,” she continued. “It’s kind of exciting - a fine arts space which is interesting because not every small town in this region has something like that.”
Carnegie also has the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall: part library, part theater, part dance studio, part exhibition space, and part concert hall, the building could be considered Carnegie’s artistic town hall.
“They call their library the ‘Carnegie Carnegie.’” reported Smith. “It’s a very cool space. The building itself is on top of a hill and is very beautiful. They have a sort of informal exhibition space that has rotating shows.”
The library’s Music Hall is home to Stage 62, a community theater group in residence at the space, and the Carnegie Performing Arts Center, dedicated to dance education. The Music Hall is booked throughout the year with a variety of performances and its acoustics have been favorably compared to those of Carnegie Hall in New York City.
A current exhibition at the library is a rare collection of 100 photographs of Abraham Lincoln taken between 1847 and his death in 1865.
“Not a lot of people know about it,” Smith said of the library’s activities. “They do really great programming and regularly.”
“My definition of art is not just visual -- it’s food and travel and poetry and music,” she said. “It’s everything together that makes the town interesting.”
For example, there’s now a mead winery in Carnegie -- Apis Mead & Winery. “It’s a kind of mead that’s made from honey or sometimes stone fruit. It’s a fermented drink,” Smith explained. “A gentleman who’s worked for Penn Brewery who makes a home-brewed mead has opened up a little shop in Carnegie. I think it’s artistic because it’s a craft that not many people are aware of. It’s not very common.”
“I think that’s the kind of thing that makes Carnegie unique,” she concluded.