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EMU Alum Knitting Community in Pittsburgh

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One Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) alum plans to bomb Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Bridge next month – with miles of yarn.

More than a year of work involving thousands of volunteers will culminate in the “yarn bomb” that will clothe the bridge in a massive, colorful art project.

Amanda Gross, 29, who graduated from EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding with a master’s degree in April, is the mastermind behind Knit the Bridge, a project bringing about 1,500 Pittsburgh area residents together for one common goal.

Residents representing all ages and subsections of Pittsburgh have helped to knit and crochet 630 34-by-72-inch yarn panels to arrange on the bridge in what is possibly the biggest yarn bomb ever.

It’s definitely the biggest art project for Gross, who grew up in Atlanta but has been living in Pittsburgh on and off since 2008.

Gross has been working on the project hands-on since June 2012 and just received the green light from the Allegheny County, Pa., County Council in June.

“Really, the main idea behind it is using an art project to make connections within the community,” said Gross, who also earned her bachelor’s degree at EMU. “It’s bridging different communities both through the process of actually making the work and then also in the finished project.”

At EMU, Gross focused on studying the intersection of art and peacebuilding.

“One thing I really got out of [the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding] is the importance of big vision, something that people can really embrace,” she said. “It’s doable, but it’s pushing the boundaries a little bit.”

The installation will begin Aug. 10, and the piece will be taken down from the bridge starting Sept. 7.

Since the hundreds of panels are roughly sofa-throw size, they will be washed and donated to shelters around the area.

The price tag on the entire project, sponsored by the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, is roughly $124,000. Almost $21,000 of that came from an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign.

Although some of those helping with the project may receive a stipend if it reaches its financial goal, everyone involved is working on a volunteer basis for now.

For more information, visit knitthebridge.wordpress.com.

Article courtesy Daily News Record, July 23, 2013

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