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Musicians and artist host underground arts festival in old limestone mine

Andrew Russell
| Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, 5:21 p.m.

On Saturday night, 108 Carnegie Mellon University students and faculty plus performance art fans traveled an hour and 15 minutes from the CMU campus in Oakland to experience the region's first underground arts festival.

The event was dubbed SubSurface. A team of CMU students and faculty created works designed to be presented within the confines of Brady's Bend Underground Storage, an old limestone mine owned by CMU alumnus Daniel Bruce located in Bradys Bend, Armstrong County.

The project was conceived and executed by Richard Pell, an associate professor at CMU's School of Art, and Jesse Stiles, a faculty member with the School of Music at the university.

“It kind of became clear that there was an opportunity to do an event there, because they were so receptive and inviting,” Stiles said. “So we arrived at this idea of creating an evening of art and music that we could present in this really unique and unusual underground space.”

Audience members were transported to Bradys Bend via shuttle bus, and dropped off deep inside the mine.

After that, with glow sticks in hand, they began a tour that spanned a half mile through the mine with visual and performance pieces lighting the way.

The event culminated with a performance by a group that Stiles describes as CMU's experimental music wing called Exploded Ensemble.

Andrew Russell is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at

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