Art the Focus in River Town

Washington PA Observer Reporter
27 September 2012

GREENSBORO – This summer, the little river town of Greensboro was buzzing with creativity as it readied itself for its annual Art Blast on the Mon festival over Labor Day weekend.

Artist Jamie Rinehart of Dilliner was hard at work building the rebar and wire substructure for the big, cement Greensboro crock that would eventually emerge from the lawn in front of the log cabin on Front Street, resplendent in the blue floral swirls and chunky lettering that the very collectable Greensboro pottery of the 18th and early 19th centuries is famous for. Now the crock is finished and Greensboro is having an unveiling at 2 p.m. Saturday of not one, but three works of public art that might just be the beginning of Greensboro’s new role as an almost forgotten river town worth visiting for its art, history and fun things to do on the Monongahela River.

“We are grateful for Jamie Rinehart’s beautiful creation and are proud to display it in the center of our historic town,” borough council member Mary Shine said. “We are pleased to be part of the River Town Program, welcoming visitors to enjoy the river and learn about our glass and pottery- making heritage.”

The River Town Project is an initative by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council to help the health of the river by empowering six towns along its banks to become places to visit. Point Marion, Greensboro, Rices Landing, Fredericktown, Brownsville, and California are all part of this project.

“The Mon River is a tremendous asset. If a community cares, the people will protect it and visitors will benefit when river access is provided by these towns. I’m proud to say all these towns now have public access to launch boats, to go kayaking or fishing,” program director Cathy Mc-Collom said.

Rinehart’s project was funded with seed money from the River Town Project, along with some extra dollars from Greensboro’s Elm Street Project and the Pittsburgh-based Sprout Fund’s creative communities initative.

Rinehart’s project planted its own seeds with a fellow artist.

“When I saw Jamie’s work, I decided to donate one of my pieces. I want to help Greensboro in its mission to support the arts, and hopefully other artists will become involved in what we’ve begun,” noted Waynesburg sculptor Steve Murdoch said.

His impressive, industrial-strength sculpture, aptly titled, “The Burgh,” was last shown in the 2000 International Sculptors Conference in Pittsburgh. Now it will be anchored in place beside Greensboro’s new gazebo, its long metal lines evoking the patterning of the suspension bridges that once spanned the rivers of this steel-producing region.

During Art Blast, funding from the Nathanael Greene Society made it possible for assemblage artist Kyle Hallam of Jefferson to put together the third piece of public art to be unveiled Saturday, a richly textured wall hanging made from recycled cardboard that Art Blast visitors helped design, square by square. Hallam’s piece will have a permanent spot on an inside wall of the log cabin that is used by the community for events and public meetings.

Saturday is also a good time to meet McCollum over refreshments and learn more about the events the River Town Project has lined up. “We have a kayak sojourn planned for October 20 from Point Marion to Greensboro, and on Saturday two of our River Program people will be paddling to Greensboro from Point Marion to try out the course,” McCollom said.

For more information, call 724-603-3151, or to register for the sojourn, go online at river.