“From our founding in the mid-1800s right up to today, we at Dollar Bank believe that support for the arts means more than just making contributions to arts organizations. Over the years, we have tried to create opportunities for our citizens to enjoy the arts, from historic stone sculptures, to magnificent murals, to free concerts to emotional and inspired films about people and places important to all of us,” says Robert P. Oeler, President & CEO, Dollar Bank
The Dollar Bank is a long standing supporter of the arts in its community.
It has included the arts in its business since its founding in the 1870s, when it commissioned Max Kohler to create the signature lions guarding the front door of the Fourth Avenue branch.
Two stone lions were carved in place at the main entrance of the Fourth Avenue Building and symbolize guardianship of the people’s money. Each lion was sculpted from a single block of quarry-bedded brownstone and stayed on the bank’s steps until removed for restoration in 2009.
The Dollar Bank became famous for offering savings accounts that could be opened with as little as one dollar, and from these humble beginnings, it developed a reputation as an institution known for its personal touch and deep ties within the community.
"The lions are a symbol for Dollar Bank's commitment to the communities we serve,” said Dollar Bank’s President & CEO Robert P. Oeler. “They depict strength and a longstanding heritage of service and reliability.”
In 2013 Dollar Bank completed a major project to restore and replicate the two brownstone lions at the historic Fourth Avenue building in downtown Pittsburgh.
The lions are more than 130 years old and are two of the most celebrated sculptures in the city; however, due to their age and the ongoing harsh climate to which they are exposed, they had undergone considerable degradation. After consulting a number of experts, the bank decided to move the originals to a stable indoor environment and replace them with an identical pair.
Meanwhile, Master Carver Nicholas Fairplay was commissioned to carve replicas of the lions for outside of the building.
The lions continue to inspire the bank’s partnerships with the arts.
In tune with its long standing support of the community it serves, for over a decade the Dollar Bank has been the main stage sponsor of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, which attracts artists from across the country for a free 10 day music and art event which has been held in Pittsburgh’s downtown annually for more than 50 years. The event attracts over 500,000 visitors and 1,000 artists.
Dollar Bank also led a consortium of banks to provide more than $7 million in financing to build the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in recognition of the award-winning Pittsburgh born playwright, August Wilson.
Photo: Photograph of the re-created stone lion created by Master Carver Nicholas Fairplay, which is located on the right side of the Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh’s Financial District. From bizjournals.com