Thriving cities depend on the adventurous among us, who alter the urban landscape when they forge their own successful paths.

Each month, we ask an influential Pittsburgher: What was it like for you in the beginning?

Lauren Goshinski & Quinn Leonowicz

Co-Directors,  VIA,
Live: Undisclosed locations
Work: Venues across Pittsburgh
How Long: Five years

Projects: VIA Festival, events & special projects including music booking, curating, developing & commissioning special art/tech projects, event production

What was the defining moment that propelled you to start VIA?

It was made up of a bunch of moments between 2008 – 2010. It may be more important to note the defining moment when we decided to continue VIA which was after our first festival in 2010 where we were blown away by the reception.

What struggles did you face when starting VIA?

The unknown of creating a model that works for what you want to do and then explaining that model to the general public to gain support for funding, organizing things like venues, etc.

What was the riskiest move you ever made?

Trying to roll out the first festival in 2010 in 4 months.  The same work now is about a year long endeavor to give you a sense of reference.

If you could change the past, is there anything regarding the festival that you would do differently?

Not really. Maybe not eat all the leftover tortilla chips the second the festival ended in 2012.

What personality traits must someone possess in order to do what you do and be successful?

Patience, both long term and short term.

In the beginning, if you could have had a glimpse into where your work is today, what 3 words describe how you might have felt?

Hungry, Proud, Humbled.