Welcome to the Knit the Bridge Virtual Media Room
Jay van Wagenen firstname.lastname@example.org 610-357-3948
Our latest media release is below.
Knit the Bridge comes down
in a blaze of color and community effort
It was bold, bright, and all too brief. Knit the Bridge, the nation’s largest yarn bomb, on display since August 12 on the Andy Warhol Bridge, was unraveled on Saturday. The project came down just the way it went up – as a huge volunteer effort, produced by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh in partnership with Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The de-installation was scheduled to take all weekend but it went faster than planned so the bridge was open to traffic as usual on Sunday.
Working in teams of two or three, volunteers carefully cut the cable ties that held the 580 community-created panels to the railing on both sides of the pedestrian walkway. Professional riggers removed the knitting from the towers and more volunteers separated the material from the supporting construction fencing.
The panels will be commercially laundered and distributed to shelters. Knit the Bridge (KtB) is working with the Homeless Children’s Education Fund to identify local organizations with the greatest need for the clean blankets. “We actually have more requests than we have panels,” said Amanda Gross, lead artist and co-director of the project along with Penny Mateer, while noting that KtB has an additional 120 community-made blankets over and above the 580 on the bridge.
Four panels are reserved as awards for KtB’s Indiegogo campaign which raised $20,000 toward the cost of the project. T-shirt sales contributed another $5,000; generous grants from local arts and community foundations (listed below) made up the bulk of the funding.
In addition to the knitted material, every scrap of refuse from the nylon cord to the cable ties and construction fencing will be reused or recycled. “We tried very hard to be intentional about all aspects of the project,” said Gross. “Knit the Bridge was all about communities coming together to celebrate our region and our fabulous local art scene. We wanted the de-install to be as positive as the project itself.”
During its run, Knit the Bridge was seen by tens of thousands of people – from downtown workers to international visitors. A community art party on the bridge attracted over 3,000 fiber artists, friend, and fans. Nearly 1,900 volunteers representing 95% of Southwestern PA municipalities contributed to the project which generated positive publicity throughout the country and around the world.
After devoting the last 18 months of their lives to Knit the Bridge, both Mateer and Gross are ready to get back to their individual art projects. “I’ve been thinking about weaving,” says Gross. “I have lots of rugs planned out in my head.” Mateer commented, “I can’t help but feel so inspired by this project. I look forward to time in the studio and learning more about the knitting machine. So many possibilities.”
Knit the Bridge is made possible by: the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc., Fiberart International 2013, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts/Pittsburgh Filmmakers, The Heinz Endowments, and supported in part by a Seed Award from The Sprout Fund and by the Nelle M. Oliver Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. Additional support by: Awesome Pittsburgh, Colcom Foundation, Green Light Wireless, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, PA Council for the Arts, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Spinning Plate Gallery, plus hundreds of individual donors. The community art party was sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Knit the Bridge would not have been possible without the support of County of Allegheny, and particularly the endorsement of County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny County Council. The Andy Warhol Bridge is owned by the County of Allegheny and it is through its generous support, cooperation and approval that we are able to provide this public art project which brings communities together, one bridge at a time.