Pittsburgh Black artists create commemorative Carnegie Library cards for its 125th anniversary

What does ‘Free to the People’ mean to you?

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a place where, at one point or another, you’re sure to frequent.

Where else can kids have a section dedicated entirely to them? Children’s books, activities, computers…

Where else can adults find an all-in-one space that’s adept for studying, tailoring their resume, and holding a meeting with their organization?

Takara Canty, Cue Perry, Janel Young and D.S. Kinsel all have significant, intimate experiences with the Carnegie Library. Thus, it was a no-brainer to participate when the Library commissioned them to create new library card designs based on the question: “What does ‘Free to the People’ mean to you?”

The New Pittsburgh Courier obtained the photos of each artist’s library card design, pictured below. Residents can choose to acquire one of the four library cards below for free at any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branch.

To receive a commemorative card through the Library’s curbside pickup, residents should: Call their preferred pickup location ahead, register, and schedule a pickup time; or arrive at their preferred Library location and register over the phone and staff will deliver an active card in real-time.

For more information on receiving one of the four cards, call 412-622-3114.

Takara Canty

Takara Canty, 36, of Garfield Heights, is a classically trained visual artist who grew her talent from watching her mother paint pictures in watercolor and acrylic. Inspired by her mom and prominent artists like Frida Kahlo, she evolved into having an appreciation for art and followed her passion.

After realizing that working in a mainstream studio art class environment was not for her, she decided to teach at-risk kids art by providing them with nontraditional art projects in art class. She has been professionally teaching at-risk youth in grades K-12 for more than 10 years. In her spare time, Canty likes to paint, tattoo, weld, sculpt, sew, draw and create memorable pieces.

“Completing a compelling fresh piece of artwork is the only thing that satisfies this thirst to create,” Canty said. “Unapologetically not caring if it is beautiful but allowing an outpour of emotion in color and substance to create an existence of a story that first was cultivated through my mind.”


Cue Perry

Pittsburgh North Side native Cue Perry has been pursuing a career in the arts his entire life. After years of studying graphic design at both Brashear High School and the University of Pittsburgh, Perry decided to change his major and pursue other ventures until he turned 30 years old.

He is known for his unconventional art style and humor, which is translated throughout his artwork.

Perry has sold nearly 2,000 original paintings worldwide and has been nominated by Pittsburgh City Paper for best local visual artist four years in a row.

“I always try to portray and express positivity,” Perry said. “I feel like this project exudes that. It’s messy. It’s wild. It’s creative. It is all the things, in my opinion, that embodies love. Love is free.”


Janel Young

Janel Young, a Pittsburgh native, painter and muralist, is on a mission to inspire through creativity and play. Prior to pursuing art full-time, Young studied business marketing at Penn State University and relocated to New York City to work in public relations. After taking the leap to practice art full-time in New York, Young went back to her childhood neighborhood, Beltzhoover, to install her largest-led mural to date — The Home Court Advantage Project.

The city awarded her for her community-centered efforts, making Oct. 23, 2019, “Janel Young Day” in Pittsburgh.

Young’s latest public works in Pittsburgh include the reworked Black Girl Magic “Masked” series and her first curated project, New Space Spheres.

In New York, Young was selected to exhibit in the “Black Lives to the Front” art showcase during the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament. Most recently, Young became the first artist ever commissioned to design Yahoo!’s Black History Month logo in February 2021.

“When I thought about the theme, ‘Free to the People,’ immediately, my mind went to my experience reading, especially when I was younger,” Young said.

“Growing up with my mom being a reading specialist, I always felt like reading books and stories were a form of liberation, an escape, so I wanted to show the transition to ‘freeing the people’ through literature.”


D.S. Kinsel

D.S. Kinsel, an award-winning entrepreneur and cultural agitator, expresses himself through many artforms. His art themes focus on space keeping, urban tradition, hip-hop, informalism and cultural re-appropriation.

In addition to his art, he also co-founded BOOM Concepts, an inspirational hub devoted to the advancement of Black and brown artists representing marginalized communities.

Kinsel has received numerous awards, including the New Pittsburgh Courier “Fab 40,” Pittsburgh Magazine PUMP 40 Under 40, Pittsburgh Tech Council Creative of The Year, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s “Top Ten People to Meet in 2016” and the Incline’s “Who’s Next” for 2018.

“I was really inspired by the motto, ‘Free to the People,’ and wanted to find an intentional intersection for the commission and my Nothing But Love series,” said Kinsel.

“I have been exploring love songs and pulling lyrics from different songs to express different ways in which love can be expressed. I really connected to the idea of ‘Free to the People’ and how CLP’s history offering free art, music, and literature was a true expression of love. I believe the library allows for exploration of knowledge, culture and love by being ‘Free To The People.’ After researching different love song lyrics, I landed on the lyric, ‘everybody come together (love is free)’ from the song ‘Love Is Free’ by Sheryl Crow. Free knowledge, free culture, and free love is a reason for folks to come together and the library is the perfect place for that action to happen.”






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