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Behind the East Liberty Presbyterian Church at Baum Blvd and Whitfield Street

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Keywords

Cor-Ten steel, fountain, East Liberty, City of Pittsburgh

Artwork Type

Sculpture, Water Feature



Joy of Life

1969


Virgil Cantini



Photo

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Commissioning Entity Urban Redevelopment Authority

During the 1960s, the Urban Redevelopment Authority changed the cityscape of the East Liberty neighborhood. Penn Avenue, the main street, was repurposed to create a pedestrian mall. The URA commissioned artist Virgil Cantini to create a fountain for this urban mall.

The fountain includes steel figures of man that form a circle and look upward. Cantini wanted to express the idea of unity of mankind. The fountain was moved to its present location, behind the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, when redevelopment of East Liberty began to occur in the late 1980s. Penn Avenue was reopened to traffic, and the fountain needed a new home. Cantini approved the second location and the fountain's base was altered. The original location and fountain base are pictured above.

Virgil Cantini (1919-2009) was a prominent Pittsburgh-based artist. His metal sculptures and enamel works can be found throughout the city. 

Cantini immigrated from Italy to West Virginia with his family in the 1920s. After studying at Carnegie Tech, he kept a studio in Oakland for decades. He also taught at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Art for almost 40 years. He chaired the Department of Studio Arts which he helped to create.