Vertical Bridges: A Presentation & Poetry Reading about Pittsburgh’s City Steps

Date & Time
Thursday, Jul. 20, 2023
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location Heinz History Center 1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh PA, 15222
Ticketing Free

Join the Italian American Program for a celebration of Pittsburgh’s City Steps.

Pittsburgh has more than 800 sets of steps, which connect communities and provide access to city residents. Historically, these steps were used by the working class to commute between their neighborhoods and their places of employment. Today, Pittsburgh’s City Steps are used for more than just commuting – artists use the steps as canvases to express their creativity, hikers walk the steps to explore and work on their physical fitness, and historians study the steps to understand the evolution of our city’s neighborhoods.

This program will feature a presentation about the City Steps by Lee Ann Draud and a poetry reading by Paola Corso. Learn about their projects that engage this unique feature of our landscape and celebrate one of the physical characteristics that makes our city unlike any other in the United States.


Vertical Bridges: A Presentation & Poetry Reading about Pittsburgh’s City Steps is free with advance registration. Please register in advance online. The program will take place in the museum’s first floor Great Hall. For additional questions, please contact Melissa E. Marinaro, director of the Italian American Program, at

About Paola Corso

Paola Corso’s fiction and poetry books are set in her native Pittsburgh and included on Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s Literary Map. Her latest is “Vertical Bridges: Poems and Photographs of City Steps.” She co-founded Steppin Stanzas, a grant-awarded poetry and performance project celebrating Pittsburgh public stairways and paying tribute to the early immigrants who built them in a short video, “On the Way Up: City Steps, City Immigrants.” Corso’s essay on city steps was published in Western Pennsylvania History Magazine and a short vignette of her was aired at the Pittsburgh City Steps Symposium. As a member of a Brooklyn artist’s collective, she exhibits her photographs in open studios and galleries. Her first solo photography exhibit, “Vertical Bridges,” includes not only city steps in Pittsburgh but countries where she travels, most recently Turkey and Mexico. It is a traveling exhibit, viewed most recently at Carnegie Library-Oakmont. Learn more.

About Lee Ann Draud

Lee Ann Draud is a transplant from the eastern part of the state who came to Pittsburgh to ride roller coasters at Kennywood and fell in love with the city and its industrial history. She first spotted steps driving up I-279, discovered Bob Regan’s book “The Steps of Pittsburgh” and made it her goal to climb them all. In climbing and photographing the steps, she has discovered how they connected lives and neighborhoods and how so much of the city’s history can be seen just by climbing some steps. Lee Ann was born in Cincinnati, Ohio—another city with hills and city steps–and has graduate degrees in anthropology and political science. She works as a copyediting administrator for a medical publisher, is the publications director for the American Coaster Enthusiasts, and is also a volunteer at the History Center in the Detre Library & Archives.