On Thursday, the first day of winter, observant Greensburg pedestrians passing 137 S. Pennsylvania Ave. may have caught a glimpse of a warmer, sunnier time.
A raven-haired sunbather claimed a reclining spot, peeking out through the metal fence fronting Pennsylvania Avenue Park, in the latest installation of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s “Art Happens” project.
The bather’s central image was lifted from a 1965 painting, “Sun Bath Tat is Hot” by Anthony DeBernardin-Burghet, and was fastened against a side wall of the parklet by a crew from Blue Sky Sign Co.
It is one of a planned dozen such detail images — replicated from works in the museum’s collection — that have begun popping up in unexpected sites in the city, as a way to engage citizens with art.
“The one that seems to be a favorite is the white dog that’s in St. Clair Park,” said Catena Bergevin, the museum’s director of advancement. “We’ve worked with the building owners, to see what fits with the location.”
In an especially appropriate match, the museum placed an image from a 1938 oil painting, “The Swimming Pool,” on a wall of the Greensburg YMCA.
In the case of the Pennsylvania Avenue installation, Bergevin said, “We love the fact that it’s reclining and it’s in this little, intimate park. It’s a real surprise to see this woman in a bathing suit here. It just seemed to fit.”
Art Happens images that have been installed can be viewed at arthappensproject.org. There is an incentive for viewing them in person.
“We’re inviting the public to come check them out. If they take a selfie with them (using #arthappensproject) and bring their selfie to the museum, they can get in free,” Bergevin said.
Other installations are planned at the First Commonwealth Bank on Main Street, at the Seton Hill University Visual Arts Building and at the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library.
Bergevin said performance artists are being sought to provide presentations at four of the Art Happens sites April 14 as part of the Greensburg ArtsWalk event. Details are available at thewestmoreland.org.