Artist Spotlight: Cathy Connor

Cathy Connor found a home in Pittsburgh and shows her love for her city through her illustrations.

This is the first in a series about local artists whose work is for sale in the WELCOME PITTSBURGH Information Center and Gift Shop on the first floor of Fifth Avenue Place in downtown Pittsburgh. Readers are encouraged to stop by to see the art in-person and browse the wide selection of other souvenirs and pieces of merchandise on display.


Cathy Connor loves Pittsburgh…a fact that’s obvious upon one look at her artwork.

Connor came to the city years ago to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and as is common with others who start out as transient visitors, she developed a deep connection with this special part of western Pennsylvania and has been here ever since

“I’ve explored this wonderful city from the tree-lined streets of Squirrel Hill to the heights of Mount Washington,” Connor explains. “I’ve practice ‘plein air’ sketching in Market Square and have been cheered on by my fellow Pittsburghers as I ran through these same neighborhoods.”

We are a unique patchwork of people and cultures and ethnicities that somehow work together to create a warm and beautiful blanket we live under on a partly cloudy day.

Cathy Connnor

And it’s the neighborhoods that have resulted in Connor’s most well-known piece of art. Her pen-and-ink depiction of all 90 of them, surrounded by the flow of the city’s famous three rivers, now appears on prints available in a variety of colors and sizes, as well as on the front of t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.

“A friend said, ‘It looks like a patchwork quilt.’ I hadn’t thought of it that way, but isn’t that the truth of it,” Connor recalls. “We are a unique patchwork of people and cultures and ethnicities that somehow work together to create a warm and beautiful blanket we live under on a partly cloudy day.”

The artist, whose full-time job is working as a graphic designer for Dick’s Sporting Goods, has also illustrated the Southside Slopes neighborhood and Allegheny County’s North Park, a major source of her creative inspiration.

“It’s funny how, when I’m out there in my own element, these ‘aha’ moments come into my head.

An avid runner and cyclist, Connor has experienced many parts of the city as a participant in popular annual events such as the Pittsburgh Marathon and The Great Race. Her portfolio is likely to expand as she continues to be influenced by what she sees during additional outdoor adventures.

A few years ago, Connor founded her own illustration company known as “runwithitcreative.” That’s where you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Etsy. Her motto is “Enjoy the journey.”

“I started drawing when I was in grade school, hand-lettering with my mom as we created posters for family birthday parties. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in the world, but who would have thought that I would be fulfilling my lifelong dream as an adult?"