Every few years, the Carrie Furnace becomes a playground for artists where they produce temporary, site-based installations. This residency program, called Alloy Pgh, is organized by Rivers of Steel Art. The opportunity allows for a curated group of creative types to spend time in a location that is a hallowed remnant of who we are as a City. They learn from iron workers of the past, explore the grounds, and dig through archives; all with the intention of developing an understanding of what was, and the footprint that it leaves on our future.
Chris McGinnis is the Director and Chief Curator at Rivers of Steel Arts, and here is what he had to say about the program, “We created Rivers of Steel Arts and subsequent programs including Alloy PGH and the Mon Valley Creative Corridor to celebrate and expand the relationship between the arts, local history and the many communities whose legacy is in some way linked to the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark.”
After spending time wandering the furnace, artists are given an opportunity to fabricate work to be temporarily installed and visited by the public during artist-led walking tours. The selected group this year includes:
- Angela Biederman
- Sara Caplan
- Elizabeth Fortunato
- Michael Hull
- Katie Rearick
- Curtis Reaves
- Gwen Sadler
- Sophia Sobers
- Sheila Ann Swartz
I made sure to visit the opening weekend celebrations, and I was pleasantly surprised by the dynamic and diverse range of work that was produced this year. The artists impressed with strong work that was clearly related to its surroundings. Gwen Sadler’s piece, “The Iron Smelled Sweet Like Rain,” runs along the ground in a way that makes the metal appear to still be fluid, as though you’re currently experiencing the true intention of the furnace. The work of Sophia Sober, though a clear derivate of Do Ho Suh, is brilliantly placed and ignites an uneasy feeling of large airy objects that are far too clean for their surroundings.
Artist-led tours are scheduled for September 15thand September 22nd if you haven’t had a chance to visit. Registration can be found online.
Or to get a fiery experience of the Furnace’s history, while seeing this year’s temporary site-based installations, visit the Festival of Combustion on September 29.