More than a decade and a half in the making giant 20 feet tall sculptures of Steelworkers created out of ties from the Hot Metal Bridge and scrap from a vanished Pittsburgh Steel mill will make the journey from the LTV Coke Plant in Hazelwood to their permanent home in the South Side Works starting Wednesday this week.
Commissioned by the City of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Endowments in 1997 the sculpture, entitled The Workers, honors the regions workers—past, present and future. Created by Tim Kaulen and the 21 artists of the Pittsburgh Industrial Arts Co-Op (IAC) these figures are a testament to the collaborations and unions that have, and continue to, forge the region.
“We hope that they act as reminders that this city’s legacy is a commitment to collaboration, whether between millworkers and teachers, boilermakers and nurses or engineers and janitors” Kaulen said of the figures. “They celebrate Pittsburgh’s ever forward motion that remains however fueled by our collective history.”
The spectacle of the move and installation was the final stage of the project and was supported by PJ Dick Corporation and Century Steel Erectors.
The IAC is a collective Pittsburgh based group of regional artists who have been facilitating and executing collaborative public arts projects for over a decade. For this project they worked with a number of collaborators and partners including Rivers of Steel, Iron Workers Local Union 3.
Ron Baraff, Director of Museums and Archives at Rivers of Steel noted “it has been a privilege and honor to be part of the process of bringing such a spectacular and fitting monument to the region’s workers and industrial past to fruition. The Workers will stand as a testament to the region’s strength, resilience, and ability to forge a new future from its glorious past. I couldn’t be more proud of Tim’s efforts and our small part in it.”
The sculptures, visible from the Birmingham Bridge, are the capstone to the new South Side Riverfront Park near the 18th Street boat launch. Kaulen hopes to see this become a destination for workers and their families as well as art lovers and recreational visitors. “These sculptures are about the people who go to work every day — a broader homage to labor and the spirit we all carry in this region.” Kaulen is hoping to transfer symbolic ownership to workers at a dedication later in the Summer around Labor Day.
Media are encouraged to contact Jennifer England for more information, 412-513-9091.