The city of Pittsburgh is well-known for its parks. Within the city limits, there are acres of beautiful parks with greenery, flowers, reservoirs, biking paths, and local art. Some of the sculptures you may have seen while spending time in Pittsburgh parks has been created by a local artist, Saige Baxter. She’s a woman welder who is making a name for herself in the art world, both in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Saige Baxter is a local public artist from Pittsburgh who focuses on welding and metal fabrication. Pittsburgh’s steel city is home for her as a welding woman, creating opportunities that might normally be difficult to have access to. When attending Seton Hill University, Saige focused on oil painting. Her sculpture professor, Pati Beachley, introduced her to welding toward the end of her college career.
This ignited a love for welding, which led to her first large-scale permanent commission when she was 21 years old. Saige designed and fabricated the outdoor memorial, weighing approximately 1,000 pounds, for Jennings Womack. Such an incredible opportunity was followed by projects throughout Pittsburgh, an international installation in Portugal, and teaching as a welding mentor for Mobile Sculpture Workshop.
As a community artist, Saige values her audience and their interactions with the sculptures. To her, sculptures address public needs and aspirations.
“I believe when art is displayed openly to the public, it’s no longer owned by just the artist — it’s a collaboration with the public. That is the beauty of it!” Saige said. “I work toward making my sculptures approachable for everyone. My style is primarily linear deconstructionist with a modern approach. I also have an obsession with gold, sparked by my love of art history and the Byzantine era.”
“With every design I create comes community engagement. Every community is connected to different cultures with their own people, accomplishments and concerns. Public sculpture can have the power of unifying neighborhoods if done correctly.”
In February 2019, Saige was chosen as The Emerging Artist of The Year in Pittsburgh. This honor includes a solo exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts alongside Dee Briggs, The Established Artist of the Year. From now until September, Saige will be working on this gallery exhibition by creating a whole new body of work for mostly indoor viewing. This work will be similar to past work by staying interactive, but takes quite a different approach by focusing on personal experiences. Historically, her sculptures address community requests, so for the first time in her art career, Saige will be designing and displaying all new, private work.
Follow her journey on Instagram at @saige.baxter.art.