Be the change that you wish to see in the world
June 2nd 2017
State 1: Pennsylvania:
We woke up at the Somerset, PA Walmart parking lot around 10:00am. After some much needed sleep, we filled our bellies with a few oatmeal raisin Cliff Bars for breakfast. We decided to continue our trek across Pennsylvania towards Pittsburgh to see the Andy Warhol Museum. That was the original plan, but on the way we discovered Randyland!
Randyland was created by a man named Randy Gilson! Randy may not be as famous as Andy Warhol, but he is an extremely talented artist and community activist. He has owned and lived in a 3 story building in the impoverished North End of Pittsburgh for decades with his partner Mac. While crime and poverty ravaged his neighborhood, he took it upon himself to be a light that shined among the darkness. He spent his free time planting flowers in front of abandoned buildings, and offering odd jobs to the local homeless. He would wander the neighborhood collecting what others discarded as trash, and transformed them with his vision and creativity into unique works of art. To be more concise, Randy has transformed the entire outside of his building and yard into a gallery of his own creations; Randyland! Believe me, you will know when you have arrived at this 3 story piece of folk art! While he must be a nightmare for the planning & zoning department of Pittsburgh, we were in awe of his creations! To attempt to describe all the nuances of Randyland would be futile endeavor. This is an instance where a picture is worth a thousand words, and you really need to see it in person! Unfortunately, Randy was not there during our visit. His partner of 23 years has a terminal illness, and expressed a dying wish to see the Grand Canyon. The community started a go fund me page to fulfill Randy’s partners dying wish. We were almost moved to tears when we discovered the community that Randy reached out to for so many years, reached back out to him in his moment of need. Enjoy the pictures below of Randyland! Randy you are an artist, visionary, a humanitarian and exemplify what it is to be the change you want to see in the world!
After departing Randyland, we headed across town to the Andy Warhol Museum. Not only does the museum bearing his name display the largest collection of his work, but it has the unique distinction of being the largest museum in North America dedicated to a single artist’s work! Admission is usually $20 per person, but every Friday from 5-9 pm tickets are half price. As luck would have it, we just happened to arrive at the museum on Friday at 5pm. Score! Of course we have heard of Andy Warhol, and we have even seen one of his traveling exhibits in upstate NY a few years ago. However, we were not exactly sure what to expect during our visit. What laid in store of us was an 88,000 square foot facility on 7 floors containing 17 galleries, 900 paintings, 2000 works on paper, 1000 published prints, 4000 photographs, and over 4350 Warhol films! We are not going to even attempt to describe the works we viewed during our visit, because the Andy Warhol museum can only be truly appreciated by experiencing it in person! Actually, It was only after we left the museum we realized we did not take many pictures, because we were so enamored with what we saw. This museum was unlike any other we have ever attended, because Andy Warhol, the pop artist icon, is unlike any artist that had ever come before! We entered the museum with an open mind and ready for an enlightening experience. However, we were left with a deep admiration for his life’s work, and even deeper understanding about how he changed the worlds perception of art forever!
We pulled into the Walmart in Belle Vernon, PA about 30 south of Pittsburgh about 9:00 pm for a much needed sleep. We survived our first week on the road, and had a blast in PA! Hip Hip Hooray! We will be taking the weekend off from traveling to camp, write and do some work on the van. First thing Monday morning, West Virginia Here we come!