Artist chosen to 'bridge the gap' between cultural district, downtown Greensburg
By Bob Stiles
Published: Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Janet Zweig wants to spend this week getting to know the people of the Greensburg area before she lends her artistic flare to two bridges near the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
Zweig of Brooklyn has been chosen to design artwork on the North Maple Avenue and North Main Street bridges near the museum, as part of the Bridging the Gap project.
The National Endowment for the Arts is funding $75,000 for the project to revitalize the bridges, spruce up the area and ultimately create a connection between the Academy Hill cultural district and downtown Greensburg. Museum officials are looking to raise a matching share of funds.
“I'm excited to meet the people and the community, and I'll make something that makes sense for them,” Zweig said.
Museum officials view the bridges as their links to the city and beyond, and they want to improve their appearances while the cultural attraction is undergoing a renovation and expansion, said Judith O'Toole, museum director and chief executive officer. The museum will reopen in 2015 and has opened a temporary site in Unity.
“Those bridges are unattractive,” O'Toole said. “They're concrete and chain-link, and we see them (the bridges) as our arms into the city.”
Zweig has a long history of making places beautiful. She is probably best known in the area for the “walled garden” in Mellon Park in Pittsburgh's Shadyside neighborhood.
She worked with LaQuatra Bonci Landscape Architects on that project and will be doing so with the museum project. LaQuatra Bonci will design a lush landscape around the 12,500-square-foot expansion, most of it in the front of the museum.
Zweig's most recently installed work involved a performance space on a “prairie” on a Kansas City downtown green roof and a series of kinetic works in Milwaukee.
She was among 60 applicants seeking to do the Greensburg design work, museum officials said.
“We are happy to have an artist of Janet's caliber and experience working on Bridging the Gap,” O'Toole said. “Janet is known for listening and working with the various constituent groups involved with her public art projects and produces work that is both aesthetically superior and reflective of the community for which it is created.”
Zweig will meet with museum officials, government and community leaders and others before returning home later this week.
“I want to know what they want the artwork to do or accomplish,” she said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.
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