Slackline Pittsburgh

Public program / activity group

Organizer, Co-founder, Participant

Slackline Pittsburgh members in action

Slackline Pittsburgh is a public program / activity group centered around the balance sport of slackline and slack rope walking. Every Sunday in good weather, Slackline Pittsburgh holds free slacking sessions that are open to the public. These meet-ups have become occasions for general outdoor play and circus arts practice, with friends of the group coming to practice juggling, poi, hoop dance, acrobatics, and stilt-walking alongside. These gatherings often draw a crowd, and Slackline Pittsburgh sets up and supervises a low, beginner-friendly slackline for curious newcomers to try.

My friend Tilman Heueis and I founded Slackline Pittsburgh as a way of sharing our love of outdoor play with others. With regularly-scheduled events, open-access equipment, and a welcoming atmosphere, our group grew from three members and a single slackline in the spring of 2009 to sixty members, seven slacklines, and a slack rope by the following year. In April 2010, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh invited us to hold a interactive session for museum visitors as part of the We Can! Series, sponsored by UPMC Health Plan. We transformed their Garage/Workshop climber into a multiple-slackline setup for a four-hour workshop and demonstration promoting healthy, physically active play. Slackline Pittsburgh has been featured in e-magazine Pop City and on the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy calendar and blog, and by the time I moved away from Pittsburgh in November 2011 I had personally coordinated and ran over one hundred open participation circus arts meetups. The group remains active, with members continuing to organize new events via the Slackline Pittsburgh Facebook group.

Slackline Pittsburgh workshop at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh