Pittsburgh Art Places

Menu
 

The Andy Warhol Bridge

Related Links

Keywords

Fiber

Artwork Type

Integrated, Interactive, Removed, Social Practice, Temporary



Knit the Bridge

2013


Amanda Gross



Photo

PhotoPhoto

Yarn Bombing refers to a type of street art made by colorful knitted yarn or fiber. It is often understood as an alternate to graffiti. The ephemeral material can be easily removed and does not damage or destroy the historical landmarks on which the fiber is displayed. Yarn Bombing began as a way for artists to reclaim or personalize dissonant or cold public places. The movement originated in Texas in 2005 and is attributed to Magda Sayge who began by knitting a custom door-cozy for her boutique. The idea soon spread and in 2009, Knit the City was born. Knit the City was founded by a group of “graffiti knitting” London street artists led by Deadly Knitshade (later revealed as Lauren O’Farrell) who began by knitting simple “cosys” but soon began their mission to “turn the city knitwise.” Their installations developed into “stitch stories,” telling narratives across the streets of London.

In 2003, O’Farrell’s concept behind Knit the City made its way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Knit the Bridge was a community-driven public art installation that took place in Pittsburgh, PA from August 12th – September 6th 2013 in conjunction with Fiberarts International 2013. The piece spread 1061 ft. long from one end of the Andy Warhol (7th Street) Bridge to the other—connecting Downtown and the North Side of Pittsburgh. Knit the Bridge brought to light a celebration of Pittsburgh as a city of bridges, steel, rivers and art. With over 1,900 volunteers and collaborators, Pittsburgh’s Knit the Bridge was called the largest Yarn Bomb to have ever been created in the United States. Such community engagement expressed how bringing a diverse range of people together can emulate the strong, creative and cooperative city of Pittsburgh. The collaboration between artists and community members from every corner of Pittsburgh and Southwest PA was central to the project’s goals. 

As a public installation, the piece not only connected the communities who were a part of its creation, but it also became driven by the audience members of the community. After its completion, the installation could be seen from all over the city. It was left installed for one week, allowing members of the Pittsburgh community to come see the piece, or simply pass by it on their daily commutes.  The project aimed to tell the story of connecting and “bridging” these many communities together—creating cohesion within the city. The bridge became a symbol of not only the city but also of the way the diverse communities of Pittsburgh are connected and brought together. By creating beautiful fiber street art, the project reclaimed these bridges as a symbol of harmony in the city of Pittsburgh.

By Kirk Savage, art historian 

Knit the Bridge was a community-led project that aimed to bring the diverse communities of Pittsburgh together. The large, fiberarts, public installation connected Pittsburgh and Southwestern PA communities through art and the city. The 1,900 contributors assisted in creating works of art on the bridges of Pittsburgh, helped install the pieces, and donated materials and funds. 

 

Knit the Bridge was 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.

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.