History & Timeline

In 1903 the Union Project building was originally constructed in the Gothic Revival style by the Second United Presbyterian Church. The building was purchased by the East End Baptist Church in 1933. The last congregation to own the building was the Union Baptist Church.

2001

A series of tours and vision meetings were held in the abandoned building.

Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation purchased the building and provided startup funds to hire UP’s first employee, Justin Rothshank.

2002

The board expanded beyond the original founding members.

UP hired Jessica King as the first Executive Director.

UP incorporated as a 501(c)3.

UP received the first competitive design grant from the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh to begin the design phase of our ambitious restoration project.

2003

We began the stained glass restoration program teaching community members skills to restore the badly damaged historic UP windows.

2005

The stained glass restoration program was later named Glass Action and became a full-fledged social enterprise restoring stained glass throughout the city and engaging over 100 community members.

2006

Union Project took ownership of the building and mortgage from the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation.

2007

We paused major restoration work and began place-based programming like MLK Day, Barbecue and Beats, and Tuesday Stew.

2009

UP hired Jeffrey Dorsey as the new Executive Director and charged him with restructuring the organization. He reduced staffing requirements, increased arts programming, and sought to empower community partners.

2010

We continued to work on major capital improvements.

2011

UP completed Phase I exterior improvements, began Phase II interior improvements, finishing and painting the Great Hall.

We completed the restoration of 155 historic stained glass windows.

2013

UP “flattened” the floor in the Great Hall by building directly over the original raked floor. We celebrated this major development with a Flat Floor Fiesta.

2014

We joined the Arts Finance Cohort to hire a shared CFO to provide a high level of strategic and operational financial expertise that the member organization could not afford individually. The members of the Arts Finance Cohort are Contemporary Craft, New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Union Project.

UP held the first Mother of All Pottery Sales (MOAPS), which would grow into Union Project’s largest annual event.

2016

UP started the Creative Conversation Series, a monthly community-facilitated discussion.

We hosted PICT Classic Theatre for their 2016-17 season.

2018

We participated in the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conference in Pittsburgh by hosting five exhibits, two panels, and two hands-on art activities.

2019

UP broke ground on the new Kiln Shelter in the side yard.

We received funding through a RADical Impact Grant from the Allegheny County Regional Asset District to build a mobile ceramics studio.

2020

UP staff worked with local marketing and design firm Carney to rebrand and launch a new website.