Looking Back at 2013: Threading Communities Together
As 2013 comes to a close, Sprout takes a few days to look back on a year of amazing projects, beginning with Knit the Bridge
It was hard to miss The Sprout Fund’s impact in 2013. With the help of our friends and supporters, Sprout catalyzed 85 new projects—directly investing more than $460,000 in the creative people and innovative ideas that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh.
As the year winds down, we can’t help but look back at a few of the Seed Award projects that really made 2013 a year to remember in Pittsburgh, like the massive Knit the Bridge art installation on a downtown bridge.
Bringing together more than 1,900 people from all over Southwestern Pennsylvania, Knit the Bridge wrapped Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge in colorful quilts during the summer of 2013. The “yarn bomb” was the largest of its kind in the United States, celebrating Pittsburgh’s contemporary arts scene during the Fiberart International exhibition.
From retirees in Homewood and professors in Shaler to youngsters in Allentown and teens on the North Side, Knit the Bridge engaged diverse communities in this bright and beautiful project organized by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. “Being inclusive means that anyone can come along and shape the project. It wouldn’t have happened if there weren’t thousands of people participating,” said project manager, Amanda Gross, of the project’s massive size and reach. A mixed media artist whose work is concerned with community and peace-building, Amanda worked with knitters, community members, engineers and county officials to make Knit the Bridge possible.
After the installation was decommissioned in September 2013, the hundreds of knit panels were laundered and donated as blankets to regional homeless shelters, women’s shelters, nursing homes, and animal shelters. Supported in part by a Sprout Seed Award in 2012, Knit the Bridge made global headlines, bringing international attention to Pittsburgh’s creative community.
By supporting projects like Knit the Bridge, Sprout is helping transform Pittsburgh into a city known for its unique and contemporary cultural community, its pioneering efforts in civic and community engagement, its rich and supportive learning environment for children and youth, and its enviable quality of life.