Announcing Bridging the Gap Public Art Project Installation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Barbara L. Jones
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
GREENSBURG, PA, Friday, January 27, 2017 – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in collaboration with the City of Greensburg is pleased to announce that the installation of artist Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll for the Bridging the Gap public art project on the North Main Street bridge in Greensburg will be completed over the course of this weekend. Zweig’s work utilizes three-dimensional letters held by tracks fastened to the concrete walls of the bridge. Once installation is complete, the work will feature the first verse of a site-specific poem – Main Street Bridge, Greensburg – by writer Jan Beatty from Pittsburgh. Verses from Beatty’s commissioned poem will be manually advanced along both sides of the bridge with some text removed and some added every two weeks throughout 2017. Once fully revealed, the entire poem will appear on the Museum’s website at thewestmoreland.org/bridging-the-gap.
“Thanks go to City of Greensburg and the Office of Public Art in Pittsburgh for their ongoing assistance and support of this project. We would not have been able to make it a reality without the help of these wonderful partners,” Judith O’Toole, The Richard M. Scaife Director of The Westmoreland, commented.
The next writer selected for involvement in the project is Jacob Bacharach, whose commissioned work will appear on the bridge over the course of 2018. Bacharach grew up in Greensburg and now lives in Pittsburgh. All future writers will be selected from the western Pennsylvania region as well.
“We are very happy to see this project come to fruition and are delighted to involve literary artists from the region on an ongoing basis as Janet has envisioned,” stated Barbara Jones, The Westmoreland’s Chief Curator.
Janet Zweig worked with Sign Effectz, Inc. out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the fabrication of the 253 letter forms to be used throughout the life of the project as well as the rods for the letter fastening tracks. The project is being installed by Minnick Signs of Greensburg.
About the 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.
A reception to celebrate the Bridging the Gap project is being planned for June 3, 2017 with more details to come soon. The guidelines for the selection process of future writers will be announced in June. Funding for the 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.
About Janet Zweig
Janet Zweig is an artist who lives in Brooklyn, NY, working primarily in the public realm. Her most recently installed public works include a performance space in a prairie on a Kansas City downtown green roof, a series of kinetic works in Milwaukee, a generative sentence on a wall in downtown Columbus, a sentence-generating sculpture for an engineering school in Orlando, and a memorial in the lawn of Mellon Park in Pittsburgh. Other public works include a 1200′ frieze at the Prince Street subway station in New York, and a system-wide interactive project for eleven Light Rail train stations in Minneapolis, incorporating the work of over a hundred Minnesotans. Her sculpture and books have been exhibited widely in such places as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Exit Art, PS1 Museum, the Walker Art Center, and Cooper Union. Awards include the Rome Prize Fellowship, NEA fellowships, and residencies at PS1 Museum and the MacDowell Colony. She teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design and at Brown University. More available at janetzweig.com.
About Jan Beatty
Jan Beatty’s fifth full-length book, Jackknife: New and Collected Poems, is forthcoming in spring, 2017 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her last book, The Switching/Yard, was named one of …30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry by Library Journal and won the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. The Huffington Post named her as one of ten women writers for “required reading.” Her poem, “Shooter” was featured in a paper delivered in Paris by scholar Mary Kate Azcuy: “Jan Beatty’s ‘Shooter,’ A Controversy for Feminist & Gender Politics.” Other books include Red Sugar, finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize; Boneshaker, finalist, Milton Kessler Award; Mad River, Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize – all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. A limited edition chapbook, Ravage, was published by Lefty Blondie Press in 2012. Another chapbook, Ravenous, won the 1995 State Street Prize. She is the managing editor of MadBooks, a small press that has published a series of books and chapbooks by women writers. For the past twenty years, Beatty has hosted and produced Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national writers. She has lectured in writing workshops across the country, and has taught at the university level for over twenty years at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carlow. Beatty directs the creative writing program at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and teaches in the MFA program. More available at janbeatty.com.
About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, located at 221 N. Main Street in Greensburg, PA, completed a transformational renovation and expansion project in October of 2015. A new LEED-certified addition of over 13,000 square feet features a dynamic cantilevered design along with a stunning view of the City of Greensburg and the Laurel Highlands beyond. The Westmoreland’s permanent collection is comprised of works by major American artists from the 18th century through the present, with a special emphasis on Southwestern Pennsylvania art and artists. The Museum also offers an impressive schedule of temporary exhibitions of American art – both nationally-travelling and those organized in house – as well as events and community-oriented educational programming for all ages.
More information is available at thewestmoreland.org.