On the Spot Art

Passengers becoming instant works of art in new airport exhibit debuting this December

By Alyson Walls

Published October 5, 2018

Read Time: < 1 min


Pittsburgh artist Kirsten Ervin’s joyful folk art style spans diverse media including drawing, painting, fiber art and puppetry.

Now she’s taking her talents to the terminal, finding inspiration in everyday travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport.

On Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Ervin wheels her cart to the Airside Terminal and engages with passengers as they wait for their flights. As they chat about where they are traveling and why, she spends about 15 minutes sketching their portraits in a fun, caricature style.

Arts & Culture Manager Rachel Rearick said Ervin has been getting a great response, and the airport is filled with interesting people, stories and creative opportunities.

“Recently, a passenger was telling Kirsten about a trip she was about to take. The two began discussing a book and author, which the passenger said she hadn’t read,” Rearick said. “Another passenger overheard, pulled the book out of her bag, then gave the book to the person Kirsten was drawing. Kirsten said that by the time she walked away, those two strangers kindled a new friendship.”

In December, Ervin’s collection of passenger portraits and stories will be displayed in a large-scale art installation on Ticketing Level in the Landside Terminal.

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