The First Stanza of Sarah Williams-Devereux’s Poem To Be Installed as Part of the Bridging the Gap Public Art Project
GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (June 8, 2022) –The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is pleased to announce that the first stanza of literary artist Sarah Williams-Devereux poem Nexus will be installed Tuesday, June 14 , weather permitting, on artist Janet Zweig’s Analog Scroll. Located on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg, Zweig’s Analog Scroll displays three-dimensional metal letters held by tracks fastened to the concrete walls of the bridge. This installation marks the fifth year of the Museum’s ongoing Bridging the Gap public art project.
Every month from now until May 2023, new stanzas from Williams-Devereux’s poem will be installed on Zweig’s Analog Scroll. As each stanza is revealed, they will also be divulged on the Museum’s website at thewestmoreland.org/bridging-the-gap.
Williams-Devereux was selected and commissioned to write an original, site-specific poem/text for the Zweig’s Analog Scroll after submitting an application for the project to The Westmoreland in 2020. The commissioned poem/text had to relate to at least one of the following themes: 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.
“I dug into the history of Greensburg, the indigenous and immigrant peoples who have lived here, the early businesses and the later ones, the city’s namesake, the industries that thrived and fell here, and the complexities of all that history existing in one place at one time. This is where bridging the gap comes in for me,” commented Williams-Devereux. “How do we meet each other as human beings? How do we cross these bridges of history and knowledge to get to another side? Are there places where we can meet in the middle? How can we honor those who have laid these physical or societal or cultural bridges before us?”
As a poet and teacher of writing, Williams-Devereux frequently draws upon her background—multiracial African American, Buddhist, living with chronic mental and physical illness, and an abuse survivor—to explore issues of race, sexuality, human connection, compassion, mental illness, and recovery. Many of her past personal and professional projects have focused on using words as vehicles for transformation, and her poetry has been published in F(r)ictionLog, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Sampsonia Way Magazine, and Pittsburgh City Paper, among others.
In addition to leading poetry workshops for the Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Workshops at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, Williams-Devereux is the series editor for the annual Madwomen anthology, Voices from the Attic. She is a graduate of Seton Hill College, where she received her BFA in Art, and John Hopkins University, where she received her MA in Teaching Writing.
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. 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. 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.
So far four poems have been previously exhibited on Analog Scroll: Main Street Bridge, Greensburg by Jan Beatty, Ohr Ein Sof – Light Without End by Jacob Bacharach, Mile Marker 322 by Michelle Stoner, and Fulcrum by Fred Shaw. In total, ten writers will be selected to write commissioned works for the Bridging the Gap public art project, and the next two selected writers and the schedule for their text to appear are as follows: 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.
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.
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 temporary exhibition schedule featuring both nationally traveling exhibitions and those organized by the Museum. Additionally, The Westmoreland presents a full slate of community-oriented programming as well as special events. More information is available at thewestmoreland.org and on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.
General admission to the Museum is free with advance online registration recommended. The Museum’s operating hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. One can find information on registering for a visit at thewestmoreland.org/visit.