River of Words Open House

You’ve probably noticed words on houses and gardens throughout the neighborhood. River of Words is the first of a series of temporary public art commissions being installed along City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s Garden-to-Garden Artway, an Alphabet City™ Production.

On Friday, July 25 from 6 until 8 pm, explore the installation, enjoy light refreshments and meet the artists behind the project at the River of Words Open House. Neighborhood maps will be available for pick-up at the Alphabet City™ Tent (318 Sampsonia Way) that will guide you to each word. Reservations are not required, but you can call 412.391.2060 ext. 237.

River of Words is a project by writer Israel Centeno and visual artists Carolina Arnal and Gisela Romero. It includes temporary, ephemeral artworks, texts, and words “hosted” by community members on the exteriors of their homes and gardens. The artists said this about the project in their proposal: “Human beings make contact with each other through the exchange of energy, affection, and knowledge. We’ll use words and sentences as links between houses as in the synaptic space.”

Carolina Arnal is a Graphic Designer and Founder of ABV Design Workshop, who has worked in corporate imaging, design, and publishing, with particular emphasis on the cultural area. She has participated in exhibitions including the International Exhibition of Book Art, Leipzig; Graphic Design in Venezuela at the La Estancia Art Center; and the International Children’s Library in Bologna, among others. Arnai has won national and international awards, such as the Diploma of Honor at the International Exhibition of Book Art , Leipzig , and several awards for her work as an editorial designer. She is co-founder of a group of independent pro-democracy creators, established to encourage citizen participation through visual and written ideas.

Gisela Romero is a visual artist who fuses images with words. Since 1999 she has developed a dialogue between her writings and images, giving her work a narrative dimension. Her artistic research is grounded in the territory of dualities, encompassing both rigorously-planned and chance encounters. Romero, who lives and works in Caracas and Playa Pintada, Boca Uchire, Venezuela, received her Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, New York and a BA in Fine Arts, with honors, from California College of Arts, Oakland. She also received a certificate in Graphic Design from the Institute of Design, Foundation Neumann, Caracas . Romero studied literature at the Central University of Venezuela, and participated in workshops in Graphics at Studio Camnitzer, Valdottavo, Italy, and in poetry and narrative at the Trasnocho ICREA and Cultural Center, Caracas, Venezuela.

Israel Centeno has published 14 books including novels, short stories, and poetry. He is regarded as one of the most important Venezuelan literary figures of the last 50 years. He has won numerous awards including Spain’s Federico Garcia Lorca Award and Venezuela’s National Council of Culture Award (1991). Through his narratives, he conveys a sense of the many shortcomings of a society that feeds on grandiose historical myths that lead to poverty and violence. His fiction also accommodates his experience of exile. Centeno currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two daughters, where he has been Exiled Writer-in-Residence at City of Asylum.

The Artway will connect City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s new Alphabet Reading Garden on the 1400 block of Monterey Street to its new Alphabet City literary center in the Garden Theater block. It is a seven-tenths mile walk transformed and activated by the arts and resident artists with temporary and permanent public art, numerous free performances on public streets and in tented vacant lots and gardens, smartphone app-tours, and community-based artist residencies with public workshops and performances. The Garden-to-Garden Artway is underwritten in part thanks to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America. This project is sponsored by City of Asylum Pittsburgh with support from the Office of Public Art.


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