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Bella Luna

I found this manhole cover in the middle of the sidewalk on the corner of Smithfield and Fourth Street where the giant stone lions stood steadfast at the entrance of the old Dollar Savings Bank Building. Built in 1870, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I never know how a manhole will look on canvas until I try it. This one was an unexpected surprise with it’s wormy  texture made from a welding rod to create a tread like surface and one that was definitely not designed and pored in a foundry. People do stop and watch but only a few are inquisitive enough to ask what I am up to. Two from my small audience began to quiz me and finally wanted to know if I made a living doing manhole art? Hummmm, not yet, I replied and continued to apply more color to my canvas. The girls moved on, leaving me to ponder the question. Someday, I thought, someday. Bella Luna (beautiful moon) was inspired by my daughter Mollie and her escapades to Italy. Meanwhile keep looking down and if you spot a unique manhole cover be sure to let me know.
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From Italy to Ireland

My name is Mollie and I am the daughter of Dwight Pritchett, the artist and blog author of Art by Dwight. I have had the privilege to do some traveling and ended up collecting a few manhole stories of my own. As a photographer I’m a natural observer, or is it, as an observer I’m a natural photographer, either way, when I go to a new place or city in the world I feel that in order to personally breath in the culture it has to offer I need to capture it with my lens. Another thing that is becoming second nature is checking out all the manholes that I walk by. Ever since my dad started lifting manholes he’s had us all looking down at the street searching for unique designs and interesting and historical names and dates. Before leaving Florence Italy a couple weeks ago I thought I’d better do another manhole lift for my dad to complete back home in Pittsburgh. On my walk back from having tea and hot chocolate with my friends in the center I saw one that sparked my interest in Piazza Beccaria. I liked it because it actually had the city name […]
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The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My daughter, Mollie Pritchett, while living in Florence, Italy, decided to try rendering a manhole art. Her boyfriend, Alessandro Nepi, who lives in Florence, documented the show. As you can see in the photos below there was quite a crowd watching and asking questions. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I can’t wait to someday go to Italy to explore the streets and sidewalks to find some unique manholes. Here is Mollie to tell the story in her own words. “My name is Mollie and I am the daughter of Dwight Pritchett, the artist and blog author of Art by Dwight. I have had the privilege to do some traveling and ended up collecting a few manhole stories of my own. Usually when I go through security at the airport while I am giving my parents one more goodbye hug on my way to Italy, my dad with a grin reminds me to keep my eyes open and look down. Now why would any wide-eyed, culture hungry, pixel-loving traveler to a beautiful mountainous and sunny country like Italy keep their eyes down? If you know my dad at all you won’t even blink an eye. I […]
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Can’t wait to get on my bicycle!

For an artist who relies on a round hunk of metal in the middle of the street, Pittsburgh in February is not the most accommodating. So into the basement I retreat to refine the canvases that I started in warmer weather. Check out my workspace and my latest pieces.
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Everyone has a manhole story!

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I recently entered my “Pancakes at 6am” manhole art in the Mid-Winter Hues show at the North Hills Art Center and was given an honorable mention for the piece. I really enjoyed all the attention it generated and all the good conversation I had with people about my work. As it turns out everyone seems to have a manhole story of their own! Support your local art center and artists and go see the show. North Hills Art Center Mid-Winter Hues Multi Media Juried Art Exhibit January 21st thru February 15th 2012 3432 Babcock Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15237 Phone: (412) 364-3622 Monday – Saturday 12- 4pm Closed Sunday
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Another piece of history

I started working on this manhole art in 2011 and am just now finishing it. After researching the names (Nicholson & Payne, Eagle Foundry) I discovered that it was manufactured in 1850 and was part of the second foundry established in what is now downtown Pittsburgh, near where the main Post Office on Grant Street stands today. So far it is the only one that I have found with longhand style lettering.
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Indiana Free Library Fundraiser

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I’m at the beginning of my journey and I sold my first two pieces. They were the first two that I had created. How cool is that!  The show was at The Free Library in Indiana, Pa. I was set up along a magazine rack in the back of the room and really did not expect much attention. Was I wrong, I talked so much that I lost my voice in the process. By the end of the evening I had sold two. What a fun evening and an encouraging group of people.
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A Ride to Work

I’ve always loved art that was able to get the community surrounding it involved and thinking in new and creative ways. I really don’t think art is something separate from our daily lives, I think that it is as intertwined as the air around us. What has interested me is making the unnoticed, noticed. This could mean something as simple as really looking at the world around us to actually engaging in it and creating art out of the simple things we see everyday. I believe that art should be something that is shared, it is communication in its simplest form and without communication we fail as a community. I wanted to take this time to introduce myself, my name is Dwight, I am a believer in the intricate simplicity of the world, I have a million and one ideas, and I think it’s time I shared some of them. My latest body of work was inspired by my rides to work on my bike in the morning. This art is manhole lifts on canvas. If you want to read more about this exciting venture, check out the About section of this site. The goal for this blog is to […]
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Thank you Mollie!

First I need to thank my talented daughter Mollie Pritchett, freelance photographer and web designer in between Pittsburgh PA and Florence Italy, for helping me with this project. See her portfolio here  Mollie Pritchett Photography & Web Design This is a fun adventure that I hope will lead me to new places. If you spot an unusual or historic manhole/vault light please let me know.
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