creating platforms for conversation and education


Hemispheric Conversations: Urban Art Project (HCUAP, pronounced, “hiccup”) seeks to create platforms for conversation and education about urban art production (graffiti, street art, and muralism, among other genres) to explore aesthetic and historical connections between post-industrial cities. Beginning in 2016 we have sustained four years of programming that focused on the intercultural exchange between the post-industrial cities of Pittsburgh, Chicago, Mexico, and León Guanajuato Mexico.


Urban Art covers a broad range of topics and issues. We activate dialogue through a combination of educational outlets: public debates, day-long symposia, and parallel public-facing research with art production residencies and a series of youth art workshops. This approach forges a collaborative approach to making and advocating for the amplification of urban arts and artists as positive mechanisms for imagining and reimagining urban space.


These topics raise larger questions about citizens’ power in shaping their environments; about the desired image of the city we would like to see; and about questions of just development and community history and identity.


HCUAP programming is organized by Caitlin Bruce, Oreen Cohen, Shane Pilster, and Max Gonzales in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.


In the past four years, we have created a mural on the South Side, Millvale, the Carrie Furnaces, and in Homestead. We have hosted Youth Street Art Workshops at Assemble, CLP- Beechview, CLP-Hazelwood, Environmental Charter School, University of Pittsburgh, Manchester Charter School, Millvale Public Library, Brashear High School, and Wilkinsburg Community Forge. Our 2019 Pop Up Gallery was at the Artist Image Resource.


All events are free and open to the public.

Our Partners

We thank our sponsors and partners for their support:

HCUAP has received state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


HCUAP is also supported by: the University of Pittsburgh; Global Studies Center; Office of the Provost; Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh; Year of Creativity; Year of Diversity, University of Pittsburgh; American Studies Association; Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh; Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh; Humanities Center, University of Pittsburgh; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh; Cultural Studies Program, University of Pittsburgh; History of Art and Architecture Department, University of Pittsburgh; Rivers of Steel; Assemble; and The Grable Foundation.


Caitlin Frances Bruce, PhD.

Executive Director, co-founder, Director of Public Conversations Series and Research Program, Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Pittsburgh

Oreen Cohen

Co-Founder of HCUAP, artist, educator, fabricator, sculptor, program coordinator

Shane Pilster

Co-Founder of HCUAP, Graffiti Arts Curator and Coordinator at Rivers of Steel, artist, creative, curator, graphic & web designer, educator

Max Emiliano Gonzales

Curator and Event Coordinator of HCUAP, artist, creative, educator, program coordinator

Artists/Scholars (Fall 2021)

  • Eva Bracamontes
  • Max Gonzales
  • Shane Pilster
  • Sasha Primo

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2021)

  • Victor Ayala
  • Marisol Villela Balderrama, PhD
  • Dr. Ricardo Klein
  • Leah Patgorski
  • Gil Rocha
  • Dr. Sylvia Rohr Samaniega

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2020)

  • Eva Bracamontes
  • Jerome Charles
  • Max Gonzales
  • Ashley Hodder
  • Dr. Ricardo Klein
  • Shane Pilster
  • Rigel Richardson
  • Joe Schipani
  • Gloria Talamantes (Gloe)
  • Alison Zapata
  • Zeb

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2019)

  • Jerome Charles
  • TC Clayton
  • Oreen Cohen
  • Max Emiliano Gonzales
  • Shane Pilster
  • Artist Image Resources
  • Nicole Marroquin
    School of the Art Institute Chicago (Lecture)
  • Victor Ayala Kart, León Guanajuato
    Visiting Artist in Residence
  • Bel2, Chicago Il
    Visiting Artist in Residence

Artists/Scholars (Fall 2017)

  • Miguel Aguilar
  • Joe Austin
  • Ron Baraff
  • Chris McGinnis
  • Øscar Medina
  • Jason Mendez
  • Mike Mook
  • Shane Pilster
  • Steve Root
  • Paulette Vincent Ruz
  • Fernando “Spok” Quiroga
  • Detective Alfonso Sloan

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2017)

  • Jerome Charles
  • Danny Devine
  • Jessica Duvall
  • Stef G
  • Karina Kif
  • Orion
  • Jessica N. Pabón
  • Shane Pilster
  • Nick Sardo
  • Wes