A New Way to Check Out Art
With the help of a Seed Award from Sprout, the Braddock Carnegie Library expands its circulating collection to include artworks that anyone can check out and take home.
Through a partnership with the Carnegie International, arts collective Transformazium brought Pittsburgh’s first Art Lending Collection to the Braddock Carnegie Library in the fall of 2013. Just like in any other section of the library, anyone with an Allegheny County Library Card can browse and “check out” pieces of artwork from both regional and international artists featured in the 2013 Carnegie International to enjoy in their homes like a book or a DVD.
Braddock-based artist collaborative Transformazium is made up of three artists—Ruthie Stringer, Dana Bishop-Root and Leslie Stem—whose art intersects with activism, agriculture and education. Through their work with partners in the community, Transformaizum has been working to
The Braddock Carnegie Library, built in 1888, is the first Carnegie Library in the United States. The building includes a 964-seat Music Hall, gymnasium, swimming pool and duckpin alley. Today, the library’s role in the community of Braddock has evolved to become a central hub for social, cultural, and educational programming. Now with the Art Lending Collection, the Braddock Carnegie Library has expanded its offering to include sculpture, paintings, silkscreens, photography—more than 120 works of art by 85 artists.
“Libraries are really powerful and beautiful things. Public institutions of ongoing learning and self-enrichment,” said Dana of Transformazium. “We’re really interested in the way art can participate in the library experience.”
Opening alongside the International in early October, the Art Lending Collection received a $10,000 Seed Award as well as grants from the Heinz Endowments and the Carnegie Museum of Art to help bring world-class art to the public in a personal way.
“One of the Art Lending Collection facilitators Jonathan always talks about how artworks need people,” said Dan Byers, co-curator of the 2013 Carnegie International. “We’re used to the idea that people need art, but I think that’s really interesting to flip that around and think about how artworks need people. The Art Lending Collection is the most elegant and direct way that I’ve seen that formula solved.”
With community art facilitators always on-hand to assist patrons as they explore the collection, as well as artist talks and educational programs, the Art Lending Collection works to open a discourse about art with the people of Pittsburgh, nourishing the vibrancy of the city’s arts community and fostering the transformative and transgressive interaction of individuals, artists, artworks and the world.