Senator John Heinz Regional History Center Mural (1992-1995)*

Mural installed at Carnegie Museum
Holt and Barry Streets

About the Mural . . .

This is my first civic mural. I conceived it more as a composite or collection of adjacently positioned pictures than as a continuous image. It follows the classical formula of composition known as "correspondence" (in classical music the root of "Sonata Form") wherein each subpart or in this case picture has the same elements as does the greater whole. In that the mural contrasts two pictorial representations of space, linear perspective and a more naive flat understanding, in keeping with the formula of "correspondence," these two understandings are present to one degree or another in each and every individual picture of the composite. I developed the mural over a three year period and exhibited it as a work in progress at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, in both 1992 and in 1993.

It was also the first mural that I developed in cooperation with elderly. I worked jointly with elderly from Vintage (a senior activities center located in the East Liberty district of Pittsburgh). Because I had sufficient time, I was able to get many of these elderly to do drawings themselves. Their memories and drawings covered all aspects of life: kissing in the balcony of the Schenley Theater, the St. Patrick's Day Flood of 1938, the tragic death of a best friend who fell into a storm sewer and the very first game between the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays (two storied teams in the old Negro Baseball Leagues) to name just a few.

Though the mural is discontinuous, there is some continuity across its surface from picture to picture, and as a composite it shows the city from a sliding point of view along the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers that extends from Neville Island in the West to McKeesport in the East. With the stories of the elderly entered into the mural along its length, it forms a drawn oral history of these river valleys. In 1995, the entire mural was purchased for the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center and is now permanently installed in its downstairs lobby.

The Senator John Heinz Regional History Center is open to the public seven days a week 10am-5pm each day.

The project was funded with grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts and became the subject of a Television documentary, "A Map of Memories" produced by WQED TV.

*Permission for any reproduction of images from the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center Mural must be obtained from the Center.