Many of those who aren’t familiar with the city of Pittsburgh tend to have a certain viewpoint of how the city looks and appears.  A city consumed by sports, abandoned steel mills, and at times, perhaps, the next Silicon Valley (we see you, Strip District).

Yet, nestled within the North Side district of the city, visitors will find a hidden rainbow of colors, a world of wonder – even something so special it might become an “Instagrammable” spot.  For visitors, welcome to Randyland.

Randyland is widely regarded to be one of America’s most color public works of public art landmarks. 

And what might you say how Randyland came to be, per say?  Created by Randy Gilson in 1995, Gilson was no stranger to creating a world of urban life.  Gilson had in fact moved to the North Side in 1982, establishing over 850 street gardens and vegetable gardens, which have spanned across neighborhoods such as Manchester, the Mexican War Streets, as well as the North Side.

When Gilson purchased the property in 1995 (for $10,000, on a credit card), and began to create the modern-day museum that we see now.  For Gilson, who uses dumpster diving and upcycling to furnish the exterior of the house.

Many of the oddities that one might find throughout the home would include pink flamingos, mannequins, as well as plastic dinosaurs.  And that’s not it – the house and fences are adorned with murals of locals dancing and smiling all around.

On a personal note for Gilson, his partner Mac Mcdermott was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.  Upon hearing the news, Randyland fans helped raise over $20,000 to help send Randy and Mac on their first ever vacation, to the Grand Canyon and Hollywood.

Afterwards, Gilson announced plans to retire, allowing for Foo Conner to join in as co-director.

The museum itself has become a major rejuvenation aspect of the North Side (such as City of Asylum and Mattress Factory).  The museum itself, as of 2017, attracted well-over 100,000 annual visitors, and is one of the most photographed places on Instagram.

In need of a little happy place to spend a quiet afternoon?  Look no further than Randyland.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Aaron Valentic

Aaron is a recent transplant back to Pittsburgh, PA after living in New York for five years. From all things relating to art, culture, fashion along with the Pittsburgh social scene, he surely knows the heartbeat of his hometown.

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