Education: Buzzword Public Art Unveiling, Homewood





Interactive public artwork will celebrate the importance of vocabulary development for young children.

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Buzzword Pittsburgh, in collaboration with the Office of Public Art, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the PNC Foundation, are excited to announce the unveiling and opening celebration of Woosh!, an interactive play table created by the Take Flight team.

The unveiling celebration is free and open to the community and will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 1st at 6:00 p.m. at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Homewood, 7101 Hamilton Ave, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The table is a temporary public art project that promotes building vocabulary for young children by engaging families and the community in conversation about their community. Working within Homewood, the Take Flight team posed two questions:

  • What is your role in the neighborhood?
  • What word would you give to children as they prepare to take flight into the world?

From the recordings and photographs of the conversations, the team developed a tabletop illustration and RFID flash cards that celebrate both vocabulary development and the Homewood neighborhood.

Children and families can interact with the table to hear the stories of the project participants and explore the illustrations to create their own stories while building their vocabularies. The table will be supplemented with additional activities.

The public art project aligns with Buzzword Pittsburgh’s community outreach goals and initiatives to promote the importance of vocabulary development for young children (birth through age 5). The project also provides an interactive experience to help families learn with their children while promoting awareness of the importance of talking to them to build vocabulary.

The project launched in 2016 as a culmination and celebration of two successful years of the early childhood vocabulary initiative. Take Flight, a team led by artist Gregory Garay and including Shimira Williams and Alexis Garay, was selected by a panel of Buzzword Pittsburgh member organizations, community partners and visual arts experts.

Take Flight team artist Greg Garay shares, “We want to show children that their dreams can take flight.  Their neighborhood gives them strength and serves as the foundation of how they navigate the larger world.  They need to explore, discover and inherit this world.”  The Take Flight team was also inspired to bring this interactive table to the community by the words of Fred Rogers, “It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”

Three events will take place at the library to bring the educational aspects of the table to life. In addition to the opening reception, there will be Talk & Play programs on November 29 and December 27, both at 6:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the community.

Take Flight
The Take Flight team is led by artist Gregory Garay and includes Shimira Williams and Alexis Garay.

Greg Garay is a visual artist, designer, and technologist with experience in user-interaction design. His work is focused on using visual storytelling to help break down social and emotional barriers. He produces comic books, children’s books, paintings, and public workshops that examine these issues. A primary concept in his work is that inclusion should be taught early, and his artwork explores themes of futurism, environmentalism, and teamwork.

Alexis Garay is a New York-based educator with over ten years of teaching experience.  Alexis holds a BA in Social Work and an MA in Urban Education. While serving as technology teacher, she focused on how to structure developmentally appropriate interactions with technology for children.

Shimira Williams is a technologist, maker, and early childhood development expert with a mission of building digital citizens in the Homewood community and beyond. She has previously collaborated with with Greg on community events including for the Harambee Black Arts Festival.

Buzzword Pittsburgh
Buzzword Pittsburgh consists of six partner organizations with expertise in the arts and sciences who collaborate to expand young children’s vocabulary.  Supported by PNC Grow Up Great, the initiative includes the Carnegie Science Center, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, who acts as the collaborative lead partner.

Through events hosted by each partner organization in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood and the greater community, participants can engage in talk and play around math, science, and art concepts as a means to introduce new words and build the vocabulary of children ages 5 and younger. Through free community programs, events, and performances, Buzzword Pittsburgh educators and community partners offer tips, strategies, and activities for families to use in everyday moments. Words are truly all around! Each program also focuses on a word of the day that is used to encourage vocabulary development and play with the participants.

Visit to explore the many ways Buzzword Pittsburgh can support area families, schools, and organizations.

The PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, please visit or

The Office of Public Art
The Office of Public Art provides technical assistance and educational programs about public art in the Pittsburgh region. For more information, please visit

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. For more information, visit

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