Fred Shaw Next Featured Literary Artist for the Bridging the Gap Public Art Project
Over the next year, Shaw’s poem Fulcrum will be revealed on artist Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll
GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (June 14, 2021) – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is pleased to share that the first two lines of literary artist Fred Shaw’s work Fulcrum will be installed, tomorrow, June 15, weather permitting, on artist Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll as part of the Museum’s ongoing Bridging the Gap public art project. Located on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg, Zweig’s work displays text by utilizing three-dimensional metal letters held by tracks fastened to the concrete walls of the bridge.
Shaw’s poem was originally scheduled to be scrolling from February 2021-February 2022; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a delay in the previous poem’s text installations, which is a manual process overseen by Museum staff and completed by a small group of dedicated volunteers.
Over the course of the next year, from June 2021-June 2022, Shaw’s commissioned poem will be sequentially displayed with new stanzas being installed on a monthly basis, creating an experience of serialized poetry. Once fully disclosed, the entire poem will appear on the Museum’s website at thewestmoreland.org/visit/bridging-the-gap.
Shaw’s poem Fulcrum is not his only foray into the world of writing, but one of many. In 2020, his first full-length collection of poetry, Scraping Away, highlighting restaurant service workers, was published by CavanKerry Press. He is also the author of the chapbook, Argot, published by Finishing Line Press, and his poems have been published in 5AM, Poet Lore, Briar Cliff Review, Permafrost, SLAB, Spry Literary Magazine, Floodwall, Nerve Cowboy, Mason’s Road, Shaking Like A Mountain, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Currently, Shaw teaches writing and literature at Point Park University and Carlow University, reviews books for Pittsburgh City Paper, and serves as poetry editor for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Shaw is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and Carlow University, where he received his MFA. He has also worked in the service industry for the past twenty-five years.
Fred Shaw was selected and commissioned to write an original, site-specific poem/text for Zweig’s Analog Scroll after submitting an application to The Westmoreland in 2020. 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.
The poems Main Street Bridge, Greensburg by Jan Beatty, Ohr Ein Sof – Light Without End by Jacob Bacharach, and Mile Marker 322 by Michelle Stoner were shown previously on Analog Scroll. Shaw is the fourth literary artist whose work will be displayed.
In total, ten writers will be selected for commissioned works. The next three selected writers and the schedule for their text to appear are as follows: Sarah Williams-Devereux, June 2022-June 2023; Joy Katz, June 2023-June 2024; and Karen Dietrich, June 2024-June 2025. A call for artists to select the final three writers will be issued in the future.
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. Located in Brooklyn, New York, 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, Analog Scroll, utilizes both the east and west sides of the North Main Street bridge. When complete, a three-dimensional text extends the length of both sides of the bridge. The Museum will continue to 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. In 2018, Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll was recognized by the Public Art Network (PAN) Advisory Council in their 2018 PAN Year in Review Trends and Themes: Site Responsive Projects.
Funding for the project was provided in part from a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant program award, The Heinz Endowments, 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.