Location: Pittsburgh, PA

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Randy Gilson. Colorful, unique, inspirational. Moving into the “Mexican War Streets” area of Pittsburgh, (that’s the actual name, not our opinion) Randy Gilson wanted to try to help turn the neighborhood around from the dilapidated state it was becoming. And well, we’ll let Randy tell the rest of the story.

“I really fell in love with the architecture even though it was in a rough neighborhood. There were a lot of empty lots littered with garbage. It seemed like there was a lot of separation of values and people were not getting along and no one picking up any of the weeds or litter. That’s when I started thinking that I need to do something myself.

I dipped into my savings from my job as a waiter and started cleaning up the neighborhood, starting with the litter and planting hundreds of mini gardens. With one thousand dollars, I bought whiskey barrels and put them in front of all the empty houses with shrubbery and flowers, and that’s when the magic started to happen!

In 1995, I purchased this dilapidated, abandoned building with a credit card and began turning it into my expression of art, which was later dubbed by a friend, “Randyland.”

Over the years, I’ve created many pieces of street art, in addition to 800 gardens, 50 vegetable gardens and 8 parks. Doing all of this on a shoestring budget taught me how to recycle. So when I bought the building, I thought well why not use the same ideas? I could recycle paint, wood and things I find in the alley ways. So I started applying these ides into this building and turning it into a giant outdoors art gallery.”