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 eight years of programming that focused on the intercultural exchange between the post-industrial cities like 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 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, Shane Pilster, Max Gonzales, and Emma Riva in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. Oreen Cohen, an original co-founder of HCUAP and partnership and curricula coordinator, stepped down from their position in 2024.


In the past eight years, we have created murals on the South Side, Millvale, the Carrie Furnaces, Homestead, Bloomfield, Garfield, and Homewood. We have hosted Youth Street Art Workshops at Assemble, CLP- Beechview, CLP-Hazelwood, Environmental Charter School, University of Pittsburgh, Boys and Girls Club of Western PA, Manchester Charter School, Millvale Public Library, Brashear High School, and Wilkinsburg Community Forge and adult workshops at Fiasco Art Center, the Clement Way Permission Wall, Vault Art Studios, among other sites. Our 2019 Pop Up Gallery was at the Artist Image Resource, our 2021 Pop Up show was at Kindness Solidarity Design, or 2023 Summertime Shine show was at the Pittsburgh Downtown Cultural Trust, and our 2024 two-month exhibition will be at MixTape.


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; Pitt Momentum Funds, Year of Discourse and Dialogue, 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; The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, Kindness Solidarity Designs, Fiasco Art Center, Assemble; Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media; 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

Emma Riva

Art writer, author, and curator

Shane Pilster

Co-Founder of HCUAP, artist, creative, curator, graphic & web designer, educator

Max Emiliano Gonzales

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

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2024)

  • Zena Ruiz
  • Maggie Negrete
  • Heather Shirey
  • David Todd Lawrence
  • Haifa Subay
  • Queenie Zhang
  • Paula Tikay
  • El Dak Pak de la Selva
  • Melon James
  • Henry Chalfant
  • B‑Boy Stealth 1
  • Khari Mosley
  • Pittsburgh Sound + Image

Artists/Scholars (Fall 2023)

  • Mike 171
  • Henry 161
  • Emma Riva

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2023)

  • DeVaughn Rodgers
  • Kuwame Kinsel

Artists/Scholars (Fall 2022)

  • Anginio
  • Marie Mejia

Artists/Scholars (Spring 2022)

  • Juliandra Jones
  • Maggie Negrete
  • GLOE
  • Naomi Chambers
  • Amanda Boston
  • Khirsten Scott
  • Ricardo Klein
  • Ligia Ferro
  • Yina Obanda
  • Alison Zapata
  • Curry Chandler

Artists/Scholars (Fall 2021)

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

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