Why do this in Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh has a deeper history in the creation of the United States and the formation of its free-expression values than any city west of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The recently idled Post-Gazette presses spun out news of Pittsburgh, the United States and the world for generations, and their lineage reaches back to the Pittsburgh Gazette. Founded in 1786, the Gazette was one of the original newspaper publishers of the U.S. Bill of Rights, which inspired, more than 150 years later, the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are the seminal declarations by humankind that all people have the right to freely express themselves.
- WQED: WQED 13; the first community-sponsored television station in the United States
- Established on April 1, 1954, it was the first community-sponsored television station in the United States as well as the fifth public television station. WQED also became the first station to telecast classes to elementary school classrooms when Pittsburgh launched the Metropolitan School Service in 1955. WQED has been the flagship station for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (in co-production with WGBH-TV), and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (its live action sequences were filmed in Pittsburgh).
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette: first newspaper published west of the Allegheny Mountains
- On July 29, 1786, John Scull and Joseph Hall published the first newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, the Pittsburgh Gazette . This four-page weekly was produced on a wooden press, the first ever to make the precarious wagon journey over the mountains from Philadelphia.
- KDKA 1020AM: 1st commercial radio station in the USA
- The site now available for the Global Symbol of Free Expression and Marketplace of Ideas is one of the most beautiful anywhere — at the convergence of three rivers, over which looms a mountain ridge.
- The adjacent former pressroom has just been abandoned and is currently available for redevelopment. Not only does the pressroom retain its inky industrial ambiance, it is uniquely situated along a major boulevard at Pittsburgh’s front door. It is uniquely flexible – with I-beams 40-feet high that can carry 50 tons, and a rail system that criss-crosses the floor. These could move massive art installations, floor panels, artisan stalls, food galleys, maker machines and objects of every sort up and down in the pressroom and in and out of the building.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper that was printed in this building dates back to 1786. It was one of the original newspaper publishers of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution is first national legal guarantee of the right to free expression and the precursor to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Pittsburgh also is home to the first commercial radio station in the world (KDKA), the first community television station in the United States (WQED) and one of the most influential African-American newspapers in US history -- the New Pittsburgh Courier.
- Looking forward, Pittsburgh is positioning itself as an international driving force in the protection of free speech, most recently with two major National First Amendment Conferences. Pittsburgh also is home to City of Asylum, the US headquarters for the International Cities of Refuge Network.
- Dozens of Pittsburgh leaders, institutions and individuals support the project and are aiding in its development – including the mayor, county executive, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Office of Public Art, foundations, business leaders and the like.
- IFEP also has generated substantial national and international support, with advisory board members such as actor/director Michael Keaton, journalist Tom Brokaw and Nobel literature laureate Svetlana Alexievich.
- IFEP has a plan, which includes internationalizing its work at every stage, so that it is not a Pittsburgh project but a global project unlike any other. It internationally crowdsourced the design of its logo, which was created by Indonesian artist Lina Syahaqila. Also internationally crowdsourced will be aspects of its centerpiece work of public art, its curation of artworks and its periodic redesigns of the Marketplace of Ideas (made possible by the former pressroom’s singular capabilities -- I-beams that can lift 50 tons and a rail system throughout its floor).