Sandy Kessler

Resident Artist

I believe in the power of art to inspire change.

Since 2003, I have been steadily collaborating with communities and creating art.  As an Alloy artist working with Rivers of Steel and The Rankin Christian Center, the temporary installation, “Legacy, was created.  Carrie Furnace, a former steel mill and now historical site, is slowly being reclaimed by nature.  The Rankin Christian Center serves the families that remain after the mill’s closure.  My work uses reclaimed engineering drawings, maps and mill plans of structures that, often, no longer exist.  On top of these reclaimed plans, I make drawings of colorful flora and fauna that have re-occupied the area.  Architectural renderings are populated with the residents who are re-making the community after the environmental and the economic devastation left Rankin in a precarious position when Carrie closed. The resulting installation room shows the unpredictability of change while the drawings document the people and place involved over time.

I was honored to be chosen as the Artist-in-Residence in Shenandoah National Park.  This location, the most planned of America’s National parks, used the Civilian Conservation Corps to install an immense amount of infrastructure.  Using Park schematics along with plants found in the park, I show what was designed not to be noticed with what was planted and can be seen growing now.  The final work ”Ginny” will be exhibited by the Shenandoah National Park Trust, part of the US Department of the Interior Collection.

My recent artist residency is with the students of PPS Lincoln Elementary and Urban Academy Charter School.  The final work “Urban” , a large scale circuitscape, showing in the Larrimer neighborhood, at Bakery Square.

Other community inspired works include; Welcome to the Strip (Sprout Fund), It’s in the Attic (Millvale), Sun and Planets in Riverview Park (Art in Parks), Robots Going to Read (Art Excursions LLC), Negro League, (The Pittsburgh Project), Lantern (National Endowment for the Arts), LISTEN! The North Side Girls Have Something to Say! (Changemakers) A Path to Peace, (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh), Time Travelers (Edith Abeyta, Trying Together and City of Pittsburgh).