RVP Reflection Series: Ashley’s Experience

Author: Ashley Seiler Upon entering the RVP convention I was blown away by the number of people that were in attendance. After mingling and a quick look at the art exhibit displayed, I headed to one of the many sessions. The session that resonated with me the most was Community-Driven Visioning to Reclaim Vacant Properties in Fort Wayne and Philadelphia. The two presenters that stood out most to me during this session were Rena Bradley and Alexa Boss. I enjoyed…

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RVP Reflection Series: Odera’s Takeaways

Author: Odera Igwe The Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) was a national conference dedicated to creating community cohesion through new strategies to transform vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties into community assets. This conference was a great opportunity for me to meet people all over the US who specialize in different aspects regarding the revitalization of vacant land; law, youth engagement, community advocacy, architecture, and more. The first session I attended was Community-Driven Visioning: A design thinking approach, and was probably…

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Planting Seeds for the Future

Pittsburgh, as the nation within which it resides, has a storied past awash with inequality. Both here and in the United States at large, a great deal of this inequity stems from the fact that the means of production (mainly land) are controlled by a small number of people relative to the total population. Historically, this has been the case for just about as long as this country has existed. As our worries mount in the face of climate instability,…

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Brittany’s Goodbye

As my time at Grounded comes to an end I have found myself reflecting on my experience here. In May when I joined the Grounded team I was excited about the opportunity to be an intern, but I was also unsure- specifically of my abilities and knowledge in marketing. I know, it sounds crazy. I have spent the last four years studying and obtaining a degree in marketing, but I was not confident in my knowledge of the subject. As…

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Grounded in The Art Trap

The Art Trap: Trap + Paint is a monthly event curated by our Project Associate Kuwame Kinsel. In July, with support from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, he presented it to over 120 patrons at the seasonal Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl. The goal of Art Trap to bring individuals from various social, economic, and cultural backgrounds together to create a safe space powered by art, culture, and entertainment. While out in the field, Kuwame noticed a trend of communities lacking self-care or…

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Kathy’s Farewell

In my ten weeks at Grounded Strategies, I have learned several important things and gone through many valuable experiences. Even my perception of what a job entails has changed. Interning at a non-profit has shown me how passionate a group of people can be in the office. This not only influenced the office atmosphere but also increased my motivation. My time at Grounded has made me a lot less afraid of what’s to come after college and incredibly excited to…

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Permaculture Design: Ecological Solutions to Planetary Problems

For the purposes of sorting out the issues our world currently faces and quelling the fires which threaten to consume us there is one system of ethics that seems particularly well suited. This system, developed from the synthesis of indigenous wisdom about Earth systems and modern best practices in the management of human populations is called Permaculture. Coined by Bill Mollison, the term permaculture is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture (or culture). However, it is an approach…

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The Connection Between Art and the Environment

When thinking about art and environmental issues such as climate change, the two subjects don’t seem to have much overlap. A deeper dive into art and its capabilities, however, prove that idea false and quite the opposite. With work like that of Agnes Denes, John Sabraw, David Maisel, and countless other artists, there are clear connections between art and the environmental concerns that we hold. These artists’ work forces the audience to confront the different ways in which humans have…

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A Vacant Lot… and so much more

At the corner of Estella Avenue and Climax Street in Beltzhoover, there sits a vacant lot. In 2011, a group called Creative Visions decided to take some action and proceeded to clear the lot, create a few garden beds and plant some flowers. Already a significant improvement, that is not where this story ends. Enter Ms. Natalie Thomas, a self-proclaimed “nebby neighbor,” who happens to live just across Estella with a great view of the lot. She wanted more.   In…

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Where the Wild Things Were… and Could be Again

As humanity has tightened its grip on Earth, we have been party to the loss of many species. While many of us are aware of the cautionary tales of the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger, we are blind to the processes that led to their extinction. In seeking to fulfill our desires (for space, for goods, for control over the natural environment) we too often fail to consider the needs of the system that sustains us: the dodo, for example,…

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Leadership Now Pittsburgh – Part I

In December 2018, Leadership Pittsburgh Inc announced its second cohort of 21 participants for the Lead Now Pittsburgh fellowship program. Chosen from nearly 80 nominees recommended by other regional leaders, being selected in and of itself is quite an honor. At the same time, none of us really know what it will mean in 2019 as we embark on this journey together. Many of us are strangers, aware of each other without actually knowing each other. The training, in its…

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Celebrating Black Community Stewards

The work Grounded does stretches over the broad landscape of Allegheny County, but we recognize a large amount of vacancy is condensed in certain neighborhoods throughout the region. We have been fortunate to have strong partners in all of the work that we do and we could not be successful in making a community impact without community. There are so many individuals and organizations that we work with who are making a positive impact in their own neighborhoods, but for…

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