Work on mosaic pieces for Library Park in Carnegie nearly finished |
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Pittsburgh artist Laura Jean McLaughlin (left) and library executive director Maggie Forbes arrange pieces of tile for a Rachel Carson-inspired mosaic mural at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The murals, which will be completed over a total of 10 sessions, will line two long benches at the new Library Park.

Mosaics assembled by members of the community for the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s planned Library Park project are nearly complete.

The library’s series of workshops drew over 300 participants.

Depicting scenes and people from local history, the mosaics will form a 117-foot mural that will be set in the walls of two long curved benches at the top of the park that will overlook Carnegie.

“We wanted it to be a celebration of the library and music hall, of Carnegie itself, of Pittsburgh,” library and music hall executive Director Maggie Forbes said. “It truly is a celebration of our town.”

First announced in 2016, Library Park will reshape the hillside connecting the library to Carnegie’s business district into an open green space.

Forbes said the park’s incorporation of a public art project fulfills a longtime goal for the library.

Pittsburgh-based artist Laura Jean McLaughlin designed each of the mural’s 29 panels based on conversations and research she conducted.

Elements include railroads, steel factories and historical figures such as Honus Wagner.

McLaughlin said the Carnegie mural is the largest collaborative art project on which she has worked. She previously took on a similar endeavor that can be seen in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood.

“It’s an art form in itself, working with so many people,” she said.

Participants in the workshop series, some of whom came from as far away as York, cut and pieced tiles together per McLaughlin’s drawings. At one workshop, McLaughlin said, they created personalized tokens to set in the panels as well.

There’s no word on when Library Park will officially open, though Forbes said the mosaic panels could be mounted over the summer.

“I’m really look forward to people coming back and seeing their contributions,” McLaughlin said. “It’s kind of a lasting memory.”

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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