The Westmoreland Announces the New Featured Writer for Bridging the Gap Public Art Project

GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (September 11, 2019) – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is pleased to announce that Michelle Stoner will be the next writer to have her poem, Mile Marker 322, featured on artist Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll on the North Main Street Bridge, located just South of the Museum grounds.

The first two lines of Stoner’s work will be installed on Zweig’s Analog Scroll, this Friday, September 13, weather permitting, by Museum staff and volunteers from United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Day of Caring Event. Installing Stoner’s poem on the Analog Scroll was approved as a Day of Caring Project due to the Bridging the Gap Public Art Project’s purpose of helping to invigorate foot traffic, connecting the Museum to downtown, and making Greensburg a more vibrant place.

Over the course of a year, Stoner’s commissioned poem will be gradually revealed with new sections of the text installed on a monthly basis by Museum staff and volunteers. Once fully disclosed, the entire poem will appear on the Museum’s website at thewestmoreland.org/bridging-the-gap.

With a published full-length poetry collection, Flats and Riots, and being deemed a finalist for the 2015 Robin Becker Chapbook Prize, Stoner should be considered an up-and-coming author. Her poems have been published in 5AM, Bloom, and The Collared Peccary, among others. Stoner holds an MA in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Carlow University, where she has taught in the departments of English and Women’s & Gender Studies.

Currently, she is a poetry instructor for the Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Workshops, has spent ten years as a sound engineer for Prosody, an NPR-affiliate program featuring the work of national writers, and works as an academic program manager at Carnegie Mellon University.

After submitting an application, Stoner was selected and commissioned to write an original, site-specific poem/text for the Zweig’s Analog Scroll. The commissioned poem/text had to relate to: the specific site or southwestern Pennsylvania; the concept of bridges or bridging; or the idea of literally bridging the gap between downtown Greensburg, the Museum, and neighborhoods or metaphorically between classes, neighborhoods, or communities.

This Friday afternoon, visit the North Main Street Bridge to find out the first two lines of Michelle Stoner’s poem, Mile Marker 322!

The Westmoreland receives funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the Marketing to Attract Tourism Grant through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, among other funding from government, foundations, corporations and individuals.

Funding for the Bridging the Gap project was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Westmoreland County Tourism Grant Program, Community Foundation of Westmoreland County/Revitalizing Westmoreland, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Carol R. Brown, The Tomahawk Hill Foundation and supporters of an Indiegogo campaign hosted by the Museum. Throughout the project, technical support has been provided by the Office of Public Art, Pittsburgh.

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About the Bridging the Art Project
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art and the City of Greensburg have partnered on Bridging the Gap, a public art project to revitalize the North Main Street bridge that connects The Westmoreland to downtown Greensburg. Working with Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Art, an Artist Selection Panel, which was comprised of local residents, Museum staff, representatives of the City and PennDOT, considered dozens of artists for the commission. In the end, Janet Zweig was selected to design and create the public art project. Zweig has been working in the public art realm for over 23 years. She has designed public art installations for the City of Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City and New York. Locally, she has successfully collaborated with LaQuatra Bonci Associates Landscape Architecture to build a memorial in the lawn of Pittsburgh’s Mellon Park.

Ms. Zweig’s installation utilizes both the east and west sides of the North Main Street bridge. When complete, a three-dimensional text will extend the length of both sides of the bridge, producing an experience of serialized poetry that will slowly unfold over time. The Museum will commission writers from the western Pennsylvania area to produce poems or prose of a specific length for display on the bridge. As residents and visitors drive or walk across the bridge, they can read an installment of the text, making it an especially appealing site for repeat visits and inspiring curiosity of what will come next. The full text with author credits will be available on the Museum’s website.

About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art: 
Western Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to American art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is a place to share meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives and possibilities. The Westmoreland’s extraordinary permanent collection, with its strong focus on the art and artists of southwestern Pennsylvania, is complemented by an impressive schedule of temporary exhibitions— both nationally traveling exhibitions and those organized by the Museum—as well as community-oriented programming and special events. More information is available at thewestmoreland.org and on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.