Public Art Projects
On Sunday, 16 August, a dedicated was held.
The below 4000 square foot public art project, located at 400 West Crawford Avenue in Connellsville, (Italian Social Club) was created by Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer. It depicts the old Connellsville B&O Rail Road Station, an Italian Dinner Scene and a Historic Coke Oven. Summer 2019
Note: (Summer 2022) The Fayette County Cultural Trust partners with property owners in the downtown area to produce these murals. The Italian Social Club was chosen because it was located on the West Side of town and the building was painted white which was ripe for a mural. This mural was installed in the Summer of 2019. When COVID hit, the Italian Social Club fell on hard times because they lost a majority of their patrons. They approached the Cultural Trust because they were closing down and putting their building up for sale. The Cultural Trust stepped up and purchased the building to save these murals and the building (circa 1860's). The money from the sale of the property went to a Geibel Catholic School Scholarship fund. When the Trust purchased the building half of the upstairs was unaccusable because wall's were put over doors leading upstairs. We had a few architects come out to look at the building, so we gained access to the upstairs rooms. These rooms were in such bad condition, and neglected for many many years, that the walls on the inside were bowed inward and outward. The two architects that came out said the building was in such bad shape that one of the outside facing walls could collapse at any moment. They strongly suggested that we have the building taken down for safety concerns and said it would be well over 1 million dollars just to fix the structural issues. Since COVID hit foundations changed their giving priorities to COVID and Food Bank related projects. We had no choice but to sell the building to someone who wanted to develop the land. At this point a developer was able to purchase the property from the Cultural Trust and the building was demolished. The lot was put back in use for other economic development initiatives.
Jeremy Raymer did a fantastic job on this building and we were sad that the building had to be demolished. We hope the citizens of Connellsville enjoyed seeing this public art for the 3 years that it was in place.
In partnership with the Trail Town Initiative of The Progress Fund and the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority, a steering committee was formed to facilitate two public art pieces being installed in Connellsville. Grants were received by both organizations from Pittsburgh 250 Community Connections and The Sprout Fund. Community Connections is a grassroots initiative of Pittsburgh 250 supporting projects that encourage civic engagement throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania, commemorate the region's 250th anniversary, and provide lasting value to communities and the region as a whole. More than 500 applications for funding were submitted by individuals, community groups, and organizations to celebrate the "Pride and Progress" of Southwestern Pennsylvania--the theme of Community Connectons. A region-wide community decisionmaking process selected 100 projects to share $ 1 million in funding for events and activities occurring throughtout the anniversary year of 2008.
The Sprout Fund is a nonprofit organization supporting innovative ideas and grassroots community projects that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh. Founded in 2001, Sprout is designed to facilitate community-led solutions to regional challenges and supports efforts to create a thriving, progressvie, and culturally diverse region. With strong working relationships to many community organizations and regional stakeholders, The Sprout Fund is one of Southwestern Pennsylvania's leading agencies on issues related to civic engagement, talent attraction and retention, public art, and catalytic small-scale funding.
The theme of Natural Cycle of Renewal was selected by the Regional Steering Committee. The art projects were unveiled on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 and was followed by a community celebration. The Fayette County Cultural Trust will continue in its mission to improve the quality of life in county by encouraging additional works of art to be incorporated into pocket parks throughout the region.
As part of Celebration Saturday, a community event was held on September 27th. 2010 to unveil the two pieces of public art. The following pictures are from the day's festivities.