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The Charm Bracelet Project

The Charm Bracelet Project is a network of cultural, educational, and recreational organizations transforming traditional understandings of how institutions make community impact. We work collectively to foster a vibrant, attractive and accessible Northside that is unified by visible, lasting connections between organizations and amenities.  The major focus areas of the Charm Bracelet Project are public projects and programs; education and youth programming; environmental sustainability and green practices; and mobility.

The Charm Bracelet Project began in 2006 when four multidisciplinary teams of experts envisioned creative solutions to the problem of community fracture on the Northside, giving particular thought the divisions between the district’s many cultural and recreational institutions. Their proposals – ranging from light-based pathways to family-friendly games to public art on abandoned buildings – were unveiled at a community salon in February 2007.

Inspired by the teams’ innovative ideas, a group of stakeholders from the various Northside cultural institutions committed to work collaboratively to enhance and strengthen the district. The group has grown to include over 20 cultural, recreational and educational organizations that implement projects, share information about individual initiatives and explore possible collaborations.

Click here for a map of the Charm Bracelet Project.

Charm Bracelet Book Released

Logo for the Charm Bracelet Project, followed by the words Culture and Community on Pittsburgh's North Side.

We are pleased to announce that Charm Bracelet Project: Culture and Community on Pittsburgh’s North Side was published by Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press. This publication tells the story of the Charm Bracelet Project and how cultural, educational and recreational organizations transformed traditional understandings of how institutions make community impact.  It offers a portfolio of projects as well as descriptions and insights that showcase how a network of organizations worked collectively to foster vibrancy at the street level and constructively impacted Pittsburgh’s North Side. 

Purchase at or download at ETC Press.  

Projects and Events

UNDERPASS Public Art Gallery

Located at the Federal Street rail road bridge, this project transformed a dingy underpass into a welcoming gateway to the Northside from downtown. The gallery supports art installations that rotate annually and celebrate the spirit of the neighborhood. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh curates the site with the support of a stakeholder group made up of individuals from Northside cultural organizations.

Installed in March 2011, Blue Skies by artist Kim Beck lit up the underpass with a slice of a sunny day on the Northside. The large scale digital print (92’ x 10’) was printed on vinyl by Alpha Screen Graphics.

The next installation, 3Three***, by artist Dick Esterle was installed in May 2012. It is a series of vibrant, swirling shapes that bring movement and color into an otherwise gray environment. Walking or driving by at different distances will alter the viewer’s experience of the piece.

The latest installation was installed in June 2013. Artist Casey Droege created Equation Piece, a hand painted mural which features an equation that evaluates the desires, relationships and external forces of our everyday lives. 

UNDERPASS Public Art Gallery is a Charm Bracelet Project of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and is made possible by The Heinz Endowments with additional support provided by The Grable Foundation, NRG Energy, Inc., Norfolk Southern Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to NRG Energy Center Pittsburgh, LLC.

Woman and small girl in line at a picnic to receive food.
Fresh Fridays Image

Fresh Fridays at the Northside Farmers Market

This summer program brought cooking demonstrations by local chefs, performances by youth musicians, and programs presented by neighborhood cultural and environmental institutions to a weekly farmers market in Allegheny Commons Park.

Fresh Fridays at the Northside Farmers Market is sponsored by the Charm Bracelet Project Fund through the generous support of the Grable Foundation and the Alcoa Foundation, with support from Allegheny Center Alliance Church, Elm Street/Historic Deutschtown, and CitiParks Farmers Market.

Like Fresh Fridays on Facebook.

Charm Schools Initiative

The Charm Bracelet Project works closely with neighborhood schools to transform the Northside into an education destination. The Initiative promotes sustained school-museum collaborations that use the charms as educational resources. Students from pre-k to middle school have utilized the neighborhood’s many assets to expand on classroom lesson plans, focusing on subjects such as architecture, history, nature and art.

Where Is Allegheny City? Treasure Hunt

This unique project engaged visitors and residents alike in active exploration of the area’s myriad of cultural, recreational and historic assets through a cell phone based trivia game.

The Northside Microgrant Program

The Northside Microgrant Program supported creative, imaginative and collaborative projects that positively impacted the Northside and advanced the goals of the Charm Bracelet Project.

  • Round 1 -Awarded May 2008
  • Round 2 -Awarded September 2008
  • Round 3 -Awarded March 2009
  • Round 4 -Awarded October 2009
  • Round 5 -Awarded April 2010

See grantees from each round under Downloads below.

The Charm Bracelet Project is supported in part by the The Forbes Fund, The Gailliot Family Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, The National Endowments for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and The Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development with ongoing support by the Grable Foundation and Buhl Foundation.