Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Chiz the BIZ!

Chiz the BIZ!
This is probably one of the first funky galleries/businesses I visited in Pittsburgh. Once I discovered Chiz, I felt like I discovered a new world. Maybe this is where it all really began!
I know that it is so easy to find something amazing in this gallery. Chiz is on the Shadyside Saunter walking tour. Check out more info about Chiz below.

In addition to their fine paintings and sculptures, CHIZ is known for
unsurpassed artist-made jewelry, handmade books and functional & decorative
crafts. Owner/director Ellen (“Chiz”) Chisdes Neuberg’s sophisticated,
eclectic selections are created by emerging and established insider,
outsider, regional, national, and international artists and appeal to both
collectors and casual shoppers. Originally from New York with a theatre and
music background, Ellen began painting upon moving to Pittsburgh over 30
years ago, opening GALLERIE CHIZ in 1995. The gallery offers a membership
between January 1 and the end of February each year, which entitles members
to a 10% discount for that complete calendar year.
Whether you are in the market for art to own or are searching for a
show-stopping gift (wrapped creatively), GALLERIE CHIZ also provides a full
line of services to make your shopping experience a pleasant and successful
one. Their residential and corporate consultations ensure that you will
receive the perfect selections of art in your home or office. Enjoy their
monthly opening receptions and FirstFridayArtWalks (all year ‘round), a fun
experience where you will find, in addition to great new exhibits, good
food, drink and camaraderie. Exciting, stimulating, always an experience!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ModernFormations onf Gallery Gallivant tour

ModernFormations all that and a bag of chips

ModernFormations Gallery and Performance Space is one of the galleries that I discovered during the Unblurred art walk on Penn Avenue and I immediately appreciated it's edgy artistic sensibilities. The atmosphere and the artwork has a New York city feel in da 'burgh setting.

This is one of several galleries that has been making this section of Penn Avenue a must to visit as well as changing the face of that area of Pittsburgh for the better. Check out more info about ModernFormations below.

ModernFormations Gallery and Performance Space was founded in June of 2001, and since then, has been committed to contributing to the growing artistic culture of Pittsburgh, the Penn Avenue arts community, and to the surrounding neighborhoods.

ModernFormations Gallery and Performance Space is dedicated to representing the diverse artistic, musical, and dramatic talent of Pittsburgh. Whether it’s on the intimate stage, listening to live music, or artwork hung in the gallery space, the goal is to create an atmosphere conducive to bringing interaction and discussion about the arts. In order to meet this goal, and that of promoting art in Pittsburgh, ModernFormations will exhibit a diverse range of art mediums including, and not limited to, modern art, performance art, bands, plays, films, and literary readings. Cozy couches surrounded by purple walls make this a unique space in Pittsburgh to experience artwork.

ModernFormations will continue to give emerging artists, whose talent is greater than their opportunity to exhibit, a chance to show their work in Pittsburgh.

ModernFormations Gallery and Performance Space
4919 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA. 15224
Gallery hours: Thursday 6-9pm, Saturday 1-4p

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sirani Gallery Gem on Squirrel Hill Stroll walking tour

Sirani Gallery a Gem
I found the best jewel of an art gallery on Forbes Avenue recently - Sirani Gallery. I had the oppportunity to talk with owner Barbara Krouse-former attorney turned gallery owner and what a cool person! And this art gallery-well I was completely impressed. The level of artwork she has on display is fabulous and wakes you up as you look at-just as good art should do (well in my humble opinion anyway!)
Read below where she got the unique name for her gallery - from her

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Elizabetta Sirani
Sirani Gallery derives its name from Elisabetta Sirani, a talented Italian artist (1638-1665). When she died at 27 she already had produced over 200 paintings, drawings and etchings. She ran her family’s art workshop and supported her parents, three siblings and herself from the age of 19 years until her death. Sirani was a native of Bologna, a city famous for its progressive attitude toward women’s rights as well as for producing other successful female artists. She was first trained by her father and then by a family friend and influential art critic, Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia, who became her mentor. Elisabetta Sirani quickly became known for her ability to paint beautifully finished canvases quickly and exactingly. Her portraits, mythological subjects, and images of the Holy Family were acquired by wealthy and royal patrons, including the house of de Medici. Besides leaving an important painting legacy, through Sirani’s own teaching, more than a dozen other young women and her sisters later became professional painters.

Visit to take this neighborhood walking tour in Pittsburgh!

Global Links an educational part of Gallery Gallivant

Gallery Gallivant includes Global Links
Sometimes things happen for a reason. As I was exploring the Penn Avenue area where the Gallery Gallivant Walking Tour is based I asked a woman a question-turns out that woman was Angela Garcia, Deputy Director of Global Links, a non-profit organization that safely recycles surgical supplies, shipping them to other countries that are in need of them.

I was completely impressed by this organization (started by 3 women almost 20 years ago).
According to their website-they recover over 30 tons of medical supplies a year, helping many people in need in developing countries. Though Penn Avenue is replete with art galleries, this is one of the many unique and worthy businesses located on this walking tour. Learn more about Global Links below (from their

IMAGINE going to the hospital and being unable to receive treatment because basic materials-bandages, needles, suture, syringes, blood pressure units-are unavailable. In the United States this situation is unthinkable. However, in many developing countries this happens every day. People around the world are literally dying for lack of even the most basic medical supplies.
At the same time, every year U.S. hospitals throw away an estimated 2,000 tons of unused surgical supplies worth over $200 million. This still useful material often ends up being landfilled or incinerated—needlessly adding to the pollution problem and the cost of healthcare in the United States.
Global Links is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that recovers surplus medical materials from U.S. hospitals and makes it available to hospitals that serve the poorest members of society in less developed countries.
Because poorly planned donations can be worse than no aid at all, each donation is carefully tailored to meet the needs of the recipient institution. Dedicated volunteers help Global Links to maintain high quality standards and low costs. Global Links spends less than 3% on overhead costs.

Visit to take a Pittsburgh walking tour of this neighborhood!

Hip'tique cool part of Shadyside Saunter

Hip'tique cool part of Shadyside Saunter
This is probably the first funky business I visited as I began to explore Pittsburgh neighborhoods several years ago. As I walked in the door with a girlfriend, we felt like we had just stepped into our element-funky, fun, a little naughty, a LOT cool - a very interesting shop that woman (and men) will enjoy. I especially appreciate the non-traditional way this business started. I find that the most interesting businesses I've discovered are very 'outside the box' in how they were started. A word of advice for those planning to open a business perhaps??? This business (owned by lovely person Christine Berardi) is a stop on the Shadyside Saunter walking tour with Sole City Tours. Read more below (from their website -!)

"Read any book about how to start a business and know that is the exact opposite of how hip’tique was created. Just two months after moving to Pittsburgh, hoping to one day open a boutique, I found a 120-year-old building on a great street in Shadyside. The building was filled with love by the previous owners who had an antique store for the past 17 years. However, the building was never rehabbed. I still told them on that day I was going to buy the building… and I did.

I went home, typed up a five-line agreement, met with the owners for breakfast at Ritter’s, and signed our lives away. Both sides knew full well the agreement would not hold up in a court of law. However, the trust was mutual and ten months later we closed ...

... exactly six months to the day of my closing, hip’tique opened. I said I would open on November 13th, 2004, and I did. However, nothing was priced and I had no clue how to operate the register. I was like a kid playing store. Since then, hip’tique has grown and changed numerous times since we opened. We dropped the ‘d├ęcor’ from our name and now carry great clothing lines, jewelry, and purses, as well as personal gifts for you, your home and even your baby.

That is our story… power tools to hip’tique. It was a huge transition but I can once again be a ‘hip chick’. I can wear a dress, bring my dogs to work, and listen to music while never being forced to talk about NASCAR again. Most importantly, I get to know the great people of Pittsburgh. Lesson learned – the books are not always right!

Visit to take a Pittsburgh walking tour of this neighborhood!

Meet Dozen Bake Shop on Design Zone Roam

Dozen Bake Shop part of Design Zone Roam
And the winner is.... East End Chocolate Stout cupcake!

This is one of my favorite cupcakes that I discovered with a few girlfriends in Squirrell Hill at Dozen Cupcakes and on my own in Lawrenceville at Dozen Bake Shop. No surprise that it was named one of the country's top cupcakes by MSN in February 2008. I was also very impressed with the owners of the two stores- an entrepreneurial pair James Gray and Andrew Twigg - they know their stuff and I don't just mean frosting. Anyone thinking of opening a unique business could take 'marketing for success lessons' from them! This business is one of the many on the Design Zone Roam walking tour offered by Sole City Tours. Read more about this business and this cupcake below (from their!)

east end chocolate stout

our dark chocolate cake made with east end brewing co.'s black strap stout, covered with dark chocolate ganache and topped with irish cream buttercream

About Dozen

Dozen is Pittsburgh’s urban cupcake experience. Bring the kids or a special someone or just bring yourself. Grab a unique cupcake for your co-worker’s birthday, or grab a dozen for the office; get a high quality coffee or tea. Forget a wedding cake, order 200 White Wedding cupcakes. Son or Daughter turning 5 years old? She or he will be the talk of the town when you dish up each guest their own unique cupcake. No forks, no knives! Dozen is bringing a little piece of the big city to this big little city of Pittsburgh.
Our cupcakes are made with top-quality ingredients including organic and all-natural ingredients. Our chocolate is one of the finest baking chocolates. Sweet cream butter gives our butter-cream frostings a delicately smooth texture and a rich yummy flavor. And we use local dairy and other local products and suppliers as much as we can.

Dozen is a joint effort between James Gray and Andrew Twigg.

James and Andrew both live in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood. James attended culinary school in Chicago and worked as a baker and cook in several Chicago restaurants. His best work went down in his Lincoln Square apartment, throwing dinner parties that would make the folks at Gourmet take a second look.
Andrew grew up in the Pittsburgh region and is excited to be here after nearly a decade in Chicago. Also an independent graphic designer, Andrew brings business and cultural knowledge paired with a long-standing love for Pittsburgh.

Visit to take a Pittsburgh walking tour of this neighborhood!