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Art & Museums

Greensburg's 'Bridging the Gap' poetry project seeks helping hands

Shirley McMarlin
| Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, 12:31 p.m.
Volunteer Tom Tallerico and project manager Bonnie West move letters on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg on Feb. 26.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Tom Tallerico and project manager Bonnie West move letters on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg on Feb. 26.
Karen Krieger traveled from Mount Lebanon on Feb. 26 to help update the script  on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Karen Krieger traveled from Mount Lebanon on Feb. 26 to help update the script on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg.
Volunteers Karen Krieger and Mike Doran remove letters while updating the script on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg on Feb. 26.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Volunteers Karen Krieger and Mike Doran remove letters while updating the script on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg on Feb. 26.
Project manager Bonnie West says volunteers are needed to move letters in the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg.
Shirley McMarlin | Tribune-Review
Project manager Bonnie West says volunteers are needed to move letters in the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street Bridge in downtown Greensburg.

Project manager Bonnie West had been waiting for a good day to update the text on the Bridging the Gap public poetry project on the North Main Street bridge in downtown Greensburg.

Between winter weather and a lack of volunteer helpers, the work had fallen a little behind schedule, says West, also a curatorial assistant at the nearby Westmoreland Museum of American Art, which partners in the project with the City of Greensburg.

Clear skies, moderate temperatures and three volunteers arrived on Feb. 26 to install the next lines of poet Jan Beatty's "Analog Scroll."

The current poem, the first in a 10-year series, was supposed to be unscrolled over the course of one year, West says.

"To make that happen, we have to change the text every two weeks, so we're running a little behind," she says.

Many hands, light work

The job takes about nine manpower hours, she says, so it's truly a case in which many hands make light work. And while it is manual labor, it doesn't take a lot of physical strength to accomplish.

The letters themselves are aluminum, so they're pretty easy to handle, West says. They slide along rails and are screwed into place.

Karen Krieger braved morning traffic from Mount Lebanon to help with the work.

"I love (The Westmoreland); it's such a great resource for Greensburg," she says. "I'm an artist myself and this is a good project, so I wanted to support it."

The other two volunteers were Greensburg residents Tom Tallerico and Mike Doran. Both say they had signed up to help as a way to give back to the community.

West says the next text update is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 12, weather permitting.

Anyone interested in volunteering on that date or other upcoming dates can call West at 724-837-1500, ext. 129.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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