Don’t sleep on Sharpsburg’s emerging art scene

Nestled approximately six minutes outside the City of Pittsburgh is the community of Sharpsburg. With a population of just above 3,000, the borough might best be known as the place where the Heinz family got their start in 1869. Now, in 2023, the community is collaboratively implementing a series of placekeeping initiatives, with creativity and the arts being a central component.

Here are some Sharpsburg art spaces – and artists! – we believe should be on the radar of anyone invested in the region’s arts and culture community.

An exhibit wall showcasing five framed paintings of buildings
William Daniel Pfahl's paintings on display inside Ketchup City Creative // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Ketchup City Creative

612 Main Street.

Ketchup City Creative strives to make art accessible to the community. The business is run by Nanci Goldberg, a retired art educator, who exhibits the work of emerging and mid-career artists who receive 100% of art sales.

Currently on exhibit at Ketchup City Creative is a solo show by Pittsburgh-based artist William D. Pfahl, which is on view through Sat., Sept. 9. Working in oil and pastel, Pfahl is a plein air painter who works in oils and pastels. The works on exhibit document the built environment in Sharpsburg.

A Black man with a beard wearing a gray baseball cap, black glasses, a dark gray T-shirt, and a short-sleeved denim shirt poses in front of a colorful artwork
Artist Corey Ochai // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Corey Ochai

Corey Ochai is a painter, podcast producer, and one of the community advocates working hard to make things happen in Sharpsburg. We recommend checking out The Indefinable Corey Ochai, a great article about his practice by Emma Riva in UP Mag.

Artwork displayed on gallery walls including three circle-shaped paintings in the foreground and various sized pieces on a background wall
Artwork inside ZYNKA Gallery // Photo by Patrick Fisher

ZYNKA Gallery

904 Main Street.

Located just a couple blocks down Main Street from Ketchup City Creative, ZYNKA is a contemporary art gallery focused on exhibiting work in a variety of mediums created by emerging, mid-career, and established artists in Pittsburgh and beyond. Presently, ZYNKA represents approximately 50 living, working artists. Jeffrey Jarzynka serves as the gallery’s founder and director.

Currently on exhibit at ZYNKA is Expanses Explored, a two-person show featuring works by Stephanie Armbruster and Kevin Mack. In tandem, the artists document their personal explorations of self and the world around them. The show runs through Sat., Sept. 2, so prioritize a trip to Sharpsburg and ZYNKA if you wish to experience the work before the exhibition closes.

On Sat., Sept. 9, Other Worldly opens at ZYNKA. This two-person show features works by Sarah Jacobs and Evan Boggess, who “conjure memories and question the meaning of life through their surreal paintings layered with objects of symbolism and personal experience.”

A white woman with long brown hair and bangs wears a colorful tie-dye shirt with a cartoon flying dragon on it. She's smiling and posed in front of a wall displaying colorful stickers
Artist Emily Meagher // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Emily Meagher

In addition to her illustrative work, Emily Meagher is a creative entrepreneur who runs a business through which her illustrations are translated to playful stickers, enamel pins, magnets, and T-shirts. Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram to see her frequent behind-the-scenes videos where she demonstrates the process of designing her joyful digital illustrations.

A gallery space showcasing artwork hanging on a wall, wooden floors, a colorful purple sitting chair, and white beams
Artwork displayed inside Atithi Studios // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Atithi Studios

1020 N. Canal Street.

If you live in Pittsburgh, you are likely familiar with Adda Coffee & Tea House. What you may not be as aware of is the commitment that owner Sukanta Nag has made to artists and the arts. That commitment is demonstrated through Atithi Studios.

When you enter Atithi, you step into an open-floor plan that has a large chandelier located in its center. This chandelier is a remnant from the days when the building served as a hotel. The 3,500-square-foot, three-story building now serves as a multi-use venue featuring an art gallery and 11 private artist studios. Like Ketchup City Creative, Atithi’s primary focus is emerging artists. The venue is also serving as more than just a studio and exhibition space. Atithi is serving as a creative hub for artists to gather together, while also providing artists with access to professional development such as financial planning and marketing strategies.

A white woman with pulled-back brown hair and a orange, brown, and white collared shirt smiles and poses in front of a display of colorful tumblers
Artist Jacki Temple // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Jacki Temple

Jacki Temple is a self-proclaimed “recovering graphic designer” who pursued her career as a studio artist after she walked away from both a job and a marriage. With her newfound freedom, she explored the possibilities of what could be and invested time in moving from digital to tactile art making. Jacki has been with Atithi since the beginning and is the longest-standing artist in residence.