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.

Contact us if you would like to:

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; and Assemble.


Caitlin Frances Bruce, PhD. 

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

Shane Pilster 

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

Oreen Cohen 

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

Max Emiliano Gonzales 

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

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2020)

Gloria Talamantes (GLOE)

Eva Bracamontes

Joe Schipani


Ashley Hodder

Alison Zapata

Jerome Charles

Dr. Ricardo Klein

Rigel Richardson

Alison Zapata

Shane Pilster

Max Gonzales

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2019)

Jerome Charles

TC Clayton

Oreen Cohen

Max Emiliano Gonzales

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)

Joe Austin

Miguel Aguilar

Fernando “SPOK” Quiroga

Ron Baraff

Chris McGinnis

Paulette Vincent Ruz

Øscar Medina
Mike Mook
Detective Alfonso Sloan

Shane Pilster
Steve Root
Jason Mendez

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2017)

Jessica N. Pabón
Karina KIF
Stef G

Jessica Duvall

Jerome Charles
​Danny Devine
Nick Sardo


Hemispheric Conversations Urban Art Project: Celebrating Histories Of Industrial Labor And Potential Futures Of Ecological Abundance

July 2, 2019

In Spring 2019, we had a number of activ­i­ties including a public lecture by School of the Art Insti­tute professor Nicole Marro­quin, a book launch, and five Youth Street Art Work­shops (You.SAW). For this post, however, I want to discuss the artist resi­den­cies that we offered and how our guest artists nego­ti­ated and responded to the history of Pittsburgh’s indus­trial and ecolog­ical environs.

Pachamama comes to Millvale in new mural that’s a multicultural work of art and collaboration

May 13, 2019

Her face is striking and serious, rendered in deep browns and blues and greens that connect this figure to the lush land­scape behind her. “Pachamama,” a public mural inspired by the Incan goddess of planting and harvesting, was unveiled on Saturday and domi­nates the side of a building at the corner of Sherman Street and Grant Avenue in Millvale.

Millvale Music Festival strikes new notes in its third year

May 9, 2019

This year, the Mill­vale Music Festival is creating a lasting reminder of the “part­ner­ship between music and art and how it has expanded beyond Sedg­wick” Street during the festiv­i­ties, Melissa Mason, plan­ning committee member said. The festival will debut a mural in the busi­ness district created through the Hemi­spheric Conver­sa­tions Urban Art Project (HCUAP).

Millvale Music Festival hoping for clear skies in year three

May 9, 2019

This festival’s art compo­nent gets a big splash from a collab­o­ra­tion with the Hemi­spheric Conver­sa­tions Urban Art Project, an inter­na­tional collec­tive that is working on a mural this week on the corner of Grant Avenue and Sherman Street, near Grist House, that will get its finishing touches on Saturday.

HCUAP and AIR Teaming Up for Pop Up Show to Feature Urban Artists

May 8, 2019

One of HCUAP’s lead orga­nizers, Caitlin Bruce, hopes the show will be an oppor­tu­nity to cele­brate the diver­sity of Urban Art. “Histor­i­cally, urban art was a way for folks to express them­selves by using the city as a canvas to commu­ni­cate, which is extremely powerful for youth activism.”

Painting Publics Book Launch: Discussion, Book Signing, Party

April, 2019

Come learn more about global legal graf­fiti art! HCUAP lead orga­nizer Caitlin Bruce will be discussing her new book with Stef Skills (XMEN/Chicago). There will be Q&A, a book signing, and live painting as well as art for sale by HCUAP affil­i­ated artists. Free and open to the public!

Artists Brightening Once-Gloomy South Side Passage With Mural

May 1, 2017

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fox Way is a South Side alley that once was littered with trash and unprint­able graffiti.

But recently, Univer­sity of Pitts­burgh assis­tant professor Caitlin Bruce and South Side resi­dent Steve Root took the lead in bright­ening the once gloomy passage. A bordering wall is covered with a magnif­i­cent mural…

Carrie Furnace canvas

May 27, 2017

Nature can surge from impos­sible condi­tions,” Jose Weslly Manrique said standing amid a partially cleared field around Carrie Furnace in Rankin. He was one of three graf­fiti artists from Leon, Mexico, who joined five other graf­fiti artists from Pitts­burgh and Chicago to paint the Hemi­sphere Conver­sa­tions Carrie Furnace Mural on a concrete retaining wall, now the site of a curated “gallery” of legal graffiti…