CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Diana Nelson Jones' Walkabout: Doors Open program gives access to unseen Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: If you have ever wanted to sit in the mayor’s chair without going to all the trouble of campaigning, you will have your chance soon.

Doors Open Pittsburgh debuts Saturday and Sunday with 40 Downtown sites in which people can go behind the scenes — into guest-only areas of hotels, members-only lounges in clubs, onto rooftops, architects’ offices and Mayor Bill Peduto’s office, to name a few.


Julian Goldman said...

This is a really interesting concept, and something that I never would’ve thought to try to do. I never really think about the fact that there is something inside all of the buildings I pass on as I walk/bus around Pittsburgh. I mean, I objectively know there is something inside, but when I pass by a building I just see it as the exterior. I think even outside of the couple days when these places are open, people can still participate in the mentality of Doors Open Pittsburgh on their own. All it really takes is just walking into a build you’ve never walked into before. Going into the coffee shop you walk past every day, or checking out the lobby of a nice hotel. To be fair, this project open up spaces that otherwise wouldn’t be open, but I haven’t been inside the vast majority of public buildings in Pittsburgh, and reading this article is making me think it might be interesting to try to explore a little bit more.

Rebecca Meckler said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. People can go along their lives never knowing about all of the amazing people who are to credit for things people take for granted. Although in theater, it often helps the allusion if the audience doesn’t realize that is going on, in other areas I think it hurts. People should want to know what happens behind closed doors but they often forget. They get swept up in the moment and never realize what they are missing. The idea of this day reminds me of a book I read called The Residence. The book detailed parts of the lives and jobs of the domestic staff at the White House. It recounted many of the funny and heartfelt stories of the workers. That book gave me a real insight into the lives of people who, I’m ashamed to say, I never would have thought about. I hope this day works out and gives people the ability to see what happens in the background.

Angel Zhou said...

This is a fantastic idea. Though Diana Nelson did not come up with the original concept herself, she has definitely put in a massive amount of effort to replicate Open House Chicago in Pittsburgh. Transparency is a characteristic that I care strongly about when looking for a company (or even a relationship), but I never thought about it as something I may want from a city. As I type this, this Doors Open program is going on (I think—the article was extremely unclear about the date of this event by simply saying “Saturday and Sunday”).

Though the article was relatively thorough regarding the ways in which Nelson brought this event about, it would have benefitted from listing out all of the locations and spaces that are now open during this weekend. Though “many of these buildings are ones we have passed hundreds of times and never set foot inside”, I still have no idea what “these buildings” are.

Ruth Pace said...

This idea is something I would love to see take root in cities all over America. It's a sad but universal truth that large amounts of the cultural wealth of cities lies inaccessible to the general public of those cities. Walls of Tiffany stained glass, founding documents, and historical buildings are locked away, whether it be for purely practical reasons, neglect, or individual greed. Grandstanding aside, the participating locations described in this article sound truly eye-opening. As a perpetually busy college student, it's one of my largest regrets that I have not yet gotten to know this fascinating city. Reading about these sites, makes me wonder if perhaps some sort of orientation week activity could be organized for incoming freshman (or anyone else, really), where Pittsburgh lets its normally shut doors open, allowing participants to gain a greater understanding of the oft-overlooked cultural wealth of this city (it's not all steel and perogies, you know.)