Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography




Pittsburgh is an amalgamation of land and water and people.  Art that attempts to mirror this city’s spirit, if it hopes to succeed, must acknowledge and reflect the collaboration between landscape and memory.  The city forged by these men and women is not a finished product.  The Workers celebrates Pittsburgh’s ever- forward motion, driven by an abiding respect for the past.


The sculpture’s medium is leftover scrap metal from vanished Pittsburgh steel mills; an iron hot-metal ladle donated by another mill; the ties from bridges that once carried steel’s raw materials across the city’s rivers.  The materials and methods employed to create The Workers are a testament to the unions that have set Pittsburgh in motion – unions between men and women, workers and capital; between the land the piece guards and the rivers that it watches; unions of past, present, and future.


The Workers creators, the 21 artists of Pittsburgh’s Industrial Arts Co-op, operate in much the same way their mill worker forebears did.  For a decade, they labored individually and as a team in a former mill site.  For a decade, they collaborated with industrial, foundation, and political entitles necessary to make this massive sculpture a reality.  And for a decade, they committed themselves wholly to an endeavor they may have never seen finalized – just like the workers and entities that made Pittsburgh.


The Workers is not a nostalgic monument; the piece creates, in its material and conceptual bricolage, a sculptural break from the past.  These strong, vigilant watchmen act as reminders that this city’s legacy is a commitment to collaboration, whether that is mill workers or teachers, boiler makers or nurses, engineers or technologists.  The Workers is a Pittsburgh forever in progress, built on the hallowed ground of industry, but forged in the crucible of its people’ minds – people fueled by history, and looking forward toward a future brighter still.

Above statement by the Industrial Artist Co-op:

The above photos were taken while attending the opening reception of The Workers on November 17, 2012 at the South Side Riverfront.

A special thanks goes out to fellow blogger Ruth E. Hendricks Photography for informing me of this event.  Check out her blog for wonderful photos.

Related Article:  Tour of Carrie Furnace.



17 Responses to “THE WORKERS”

  1. Such an interesting sculpture. I enjoyed reading the information as well Francine. Shows a perspective I don’t think of too often.

  2. I love to see items re-used to create art!

  3. I love this series of photos!

  4. How creative and a fine testament to the men who helped build America.

  5. Incredible sculptures, Francine. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. The robot reminds me of Pittsburgh
    that was once called ” Iron City.”

  7. hi there! for the first time i have been nominated for an award and I want to pass it on to you. I’ve nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Please accept this and check out the rules at:

  8. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  9. Magnificent! Love how art mirrored the soul of city. Beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Thanks for the shout out on the blog today! Missed you. I was glad to see you today on my blog. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. So happy you went to this event and photographed it. The pictures are wonderful. xxoo

  11. That is such a creative way of recycling metal scrap! And a very photogenic one at that!

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