Tucked away, deeps inside the hills and ravines of northwestern Pennsylvania, is America's best kept secret. Its hard to explain the incredible amount of movement and hope that exist in this place, but I'm going to try give you a small insight through our limited experience.
The town itself is a relic to times America has seen pass. the empty shells of factories, and mansions adorn the hillsides. Hillsides that not only add to the charm, (coming from a town in the flattest, lowest part of the world- this alone is highly attractive.) but also divide the city into neighborhoods which are as unique and diverse as any city can claim.
There's the University, with its cathedral of education towering higher than the catholic cathedral nearby, and a huge student body which is active in the arts as well as leading in sciences. A student body which is also active politically, looking for change.
On the other side of the city in the Mexican ward streets, the empty buildings which are rented for a song, have started to attract artists away from the over saturated epicenters of american life. The strange combination of low income families, spotted with a few high end liberal lofts, and motivated artists has created a beautiful cohesion full of small communal gardens (with more vegetables than anyone can eat), a co-op run local cafe which has neighborhood potluck with local jazz musicians and a high-school artist exhibiting her work.
In this world, where the empty space encourages anyone to do something, to start anything, and every initiative is a welcome addition the fast growing diversity which has already started here, one feels that anything is possible.
To sum up, although we were only able to be here for a short while, we cannot deny the inspiration that these wonderful people were for us. From the frozen compost (a perfect solution for city dwellers!) to the vegetable garden, we've learned and shared some amazing things. With a special thanks to Danny and Phil, and cafe Beleza, we're on way to Youngstown OH to the Cedar lounge. And we hope to see you all there.