Carnegie Mellon University students transform old mine into underground arts festival
Last Saturday, for the second year in a row, a group of Carnegie Mellon University students and faculty transformed a 100 year-old limestone mine in East Brady into the region’s only underground arts festival called SubSurface, Site Specific Sight and Sound.
A team of CMU students and faculty created works designed to be presented within the confines of Brady’s Bend Underground Storage, an old limestone mine owned by CMU alumnus Daniel Bruce located in East Brady, Armstrong County.
The project was conceived and executed by Richard Pell, an associate professor at CMU’s School of Art, and Jesse Stiles, a faculty member with the School of Music at the university.
“I think it is a very dreamlike experience to kind of leave the reality that we’re familiar with for a little while, and enter this world that is, perhaps unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” Stiles said. “Hopefully have that experience uplifted by music, visual arts and performances, and then come back to our world.”
Audience converged on the entrance to mine and, with flashlights in hand, began a tour that spanned a half mile through the mine with visual and performance pieces lighting the way. The event culminated with a musical performance by a group that Stiles describes as CMU’s experimental music wing called Exploded Ensemble coupled with Activated Animorphs. That class is focused on performance art led by CMU professor Scott Andrew centered around a unique approach to costume design.
Andrew Russell is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Andrew at [email protected]