Radiant Hall traces its origins back to November 2012, when Ryan Lammie returned to Pittsburgh from New York. He was looking for a studio space, an alternative to working out of his home, and soon signed a lease for a makeshift studio in a 1930s former Polish social hall in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Finding himself with more space than he could use, he invited an artist friend to move in. Jonathan Chamberlain himself had recently returned from Chicago, and the two often found themselves in conversation about the ways that shared workspaces contribute to creative communities. Having lived in Brooklyn during a period of rapidly increasing real estate values, Lammie was acutely aware of the socio-economic impact—and the fragility—of local artist-run spaces.
Through Chamberlain’s local network, more artists learned about Radiant Hall and moved in, in sufficient numbers that a public “open studio” event was held in January, 2013. Following the expansion of studio spaces into the building’s second floor, another open studio event was held in June—this time for about 250 guests, who were given a rare peek into the studios of working artists.
Radiant Hall has since become a framework for creative community building, especially around issues of sustainable development. Since its formalization as an organization, Radiant Hall has served as a host for school tours, arts patrons, film/photo location scouts, corporate events, interns, nonprofit leaders, and neighbors. It has developed collaborations to generate professional development, networking and exhibition opportunities for artists with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Thrival Innovation and Music festival, Homewood Artist Residency, Sedona Arts Center, the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, the Yale Club, the Carnegie Museum’s Contemporary Circle, Treading Art, Three Rivers Arts Fest and the Skibo Society, and has proudly sponsored the Mattress Factory’s Urban Garden Party, Alloy Pittsburgh and the Lawrenceville Artist’s Annual Studio Tour. With the support of Radiant Hall’s leadership, the 10th Annual Studio Tour doubled its artist participation, and the 11th Annual Studio Tour recorded its highest ever level of attendance.
In April 2015 Radiant Hall became a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with Ryan Lammie as Executive Director. With the support of the foundation community Radiant Hall embarked on an ambitious expansion plan to meet growing need, increasing its studio space in Fall 2015 by 150% and serving over 65 artists of wide-ranging creative practices.