Human Dignity Project art installation slated for Monroeville Public Library
A group involving Monroeville religious leaders and the library is looking for volunteers and monetary donations to kick start a project that includes an art installation and diversity education programming.
The initiative, dubbed the Human Dignity Project, is expeted to have two components. The first involves building an art structure and the second incorporates diversity education.
The idea sparked around two years ago when Temple David Rabbi Barbara Symons started looking for outdoor space to create a Holocaust memorial.
She ended up partnering with the Monroeville Public Library, with a plan to build a more general art structure within the library’s “island” property between it and Gateway Campus Boulevard.
In January, Symons and others approached council seeking permission to move forward with the project since it would take place on public property. Council unanimously voted to support the initiative.
Since then, the group formed a partnership with the Pittsburgh Art Council, who successfully pitched the idea of the initiative being a “living monument,” which involves an ever-changing curriculum to cover a wide range of topics within diversity education.
Instead of focusing the project on the Holocaust, Symons said it will envelope all cultures.
“The idea is not only religious diversity. It’s going to celebrate (everyone) of Monroeville. So racial, ethnic, cultural, everything that you could fit in there,” Symons said.
The rabbi said the project was re-invigorated with a sense of urgency after a gunman killed 11 people at a Squirrel Hill synagogue.
“There was a renewed energy to celebrate our diversity given the event of Oct. 27,” she said.
Nevertheless, the project has an estimated completion date for the end of 2021.
Iszauk and Symons said there is not a sketch for how the art installation will look.
Instead, artists will meet with different segments of the community “to come up with a concept of a temporary art installation that will get people talking about human dignity and about diversity.”
“The idea is once we get to the final stage of funding we will have a visual of what this looks like. But the idea we’re all learning is that the process is as important as the product,” said Symons.
Symons said the group hopes to raise $30,000 by the end of this year. In all, Symons said the project could cost up to $500,000 – which the group plans to raise through grants, foundation support and individual donations.
To give, Library Director Nicole Henline said to send checks to the library and earmark the payment for the “Monroeville Public Library Fund,” a library nonprofit.
For more information on the project and how to give, call Henline at 412-372-0500, ext. 111.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .