Peace, Love and Folk Art

Tonight is the eve of Christmas Eve, and I think it is fitting to post about one of the surprises and pleasures Pittsburgh offers! We discovered this place quite by accident. The morning we were due to leave Pittsburgh, our waiter at breakfast commented on a brightly colored sweatshirt I was wearing, noting that the colors reminded him of his house. We began talking and he introduced himself as Randy Gilson, artist.

He showed me photos of his house and garden courtyard, and they were amazing. He also shared his vision of love for the world he lives in, his hope that someday peace will predominate around the world, and his colorful outlook on life that is expressed in his artwork.

Because the rest of our stay in Pittsburgh had been unplanned — I went where the day took me — we decided to stop at his home, which he calls “Randyland,” before heading home to Maryland.

Located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh’s Northside, Randyland shares Gilson’s unique outlook on life, a sweeping, optimistic view that is rare to find.

And indeed, Randyland is relentlessly optimistic. Bright colors and creatively painted and placed stuff — from old panel doors to metal patio chairs to mannequin heads — decorate the side of his house and his yard. On the wall of his home is a colorful mural depicting normal people going about their lives in Pittsburgh. I loved it.

When we arrived, we met a mother and her three young kids who’d just enjoyed the courtyard. I wish we’d arrived a few minutes earlier, so I could have enjoyed their reactions! I chatted with the mother for a few minutes, explaining to her I’d just met the artist that morning, and I told her some of what Gilson had told me over breakfast. We shook hands afterward and parted, but for a brief moment of time, two very different people came together in enjoyment of Gilson’s art.

Randyland, according to Gilson’s website, is going to be a non-profit Folk Art Museum for the whole world to teach forward recycling and repurposed ideas. Some time soon, Gilson will be relocating to Spring Garden to build a warehouse home and art studio for teaching.

Getting there: 1501 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, 15212

Hours: The Randyland courtyard is open almost every day between 1 pm and 7 pm

Website: http:\

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One Reply to “Peace, Love and Folk Art”

  1. Greetings From Randyland Pittsburgh, hi, what a surprise to find this kind and wonderful article, SURPRISE, Ha ha ha,what can I say but Thanks for the call out, and Thanks for stopping by Randyland,for more up to date green photos please see #randyland , all the universities have been hash tagging with exciting smiles.Peace and Love and happy Holidays Too Randy Gilson

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