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IUP artists draw inspiration from Braddock iron mill

by The Indiana Gazette on September 27, 2013 11:00 AM

Two faculty members from Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Art will unveil their summer-long artist residency, Alloy Pittsburgh, at an opening reception Saturday.

Sean Derry, professor of sculpture, and Chris McGinnis, director of the IUP’s Kipp Gallery, co-founded the Alloy Pittsburgh initiative in collaboration with the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

Alloy Pittsburgh will open with a public reception at 2 p.m. Saturday and remain on display through Oct. 26.

The project was conceived as a laboratory where 14 regional artists, including six IUP graduates, created temporary artwork at the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The former iron mill is located along the Monongahela River near Braddock.

“Each of the artworks reinterprets the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark in a unique way,” Derry said. “The artists have engaged the site from a range of perspectives. Some have responded to how light intensity affects particular parts of the mill in subtle ways. Others have considered the role of play and interpreted the site as a giant game.

“It was important that participants in the project had some understanding of the past, but we don’t want the work to become monuments to the history of the CF. Having said that, some artists have truly embraced the importance of history and its role in shaping the region.  

“One of the artists Ryan Keene invested months of research into the mill and its impact on the domestic lives of those who worked there.”

“It is a particularly interesting moment to be developing a program for the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark,” McGinnis said. “There is a groundswell of interest in the site and physical changes are occurring on a daily basis. Sean and I were interested in facilitating a project that would allow artists to contribute to the discourse surrounding the site.”

IUP graduates unveiling work at the exhibit are Kyla Groat, Emily Sciulli, Amber Niedomys, Laurie Barnes, Michelle Colbaugh and Ryan Keene.

Proceeds from the opening reception will benefit the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area and Alloy Pittsburgh. Tickets are $20 and available online from alloypittsburgh.blogspot.com or from the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area website, riversofsteel.com.

PHOTO: Participating students with ties to Indiana University of Pennsylvania are Kyla Groat, Emily Ciulli, Amber Niedomys, aurie Barnes, Michelle Colbaugh and Ryan Keene.

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