Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hi. I’m Shannon.

I happen to think that I work for one of the most amazing museums in the world. I’m constantly surprised by what we do here. Sometimes it is shock and awe. Sometimes it is just pure joy that only strange art can create. Whatever it is… I love it. I also happen to be in a position where I get to share that experience with the public through programming related to our exhibitions.

Hey, that's me over on the far right

What did I do to deserve this? I’ll tell you what I did… I became theEducation Programs Coordinator for the Mattress Factory in summer 2010. This job allows me the freedom of imagination and reflection to put my own stamp on the programs I plan. So, I imagined ways to revamp our Saturday ARTLab programs. Folks can go anywhere, including countless museums and centers, and create art projects to take home and enjoy on shelves and mantles but how often do they get to become installation artists and temporarily show their work at a museum? Not often. That must change. It will change now.

Factory 14s "Eat It All" opening on July 30, 2010

Every 3rd Saturday of the month our visitors are invited to contribute their blood, sweat, tears, and creativity to a communal installation project here at the Mattress Factory called ARTLab. Please spare us the blood, sweat, and tears but bring the rest. One of our very own museum educators will guide willing participants of all ages through the process of installation art. The level of effort is up to you but the impact of the experience is up to us.

Rice paper flowers

This Saturday (March 17, 2011) Gian Carlos, an installation artist from Puerto Rico, will be leading a ARTLab activity that will help you melt away your worries by creating rice paper flowers and then releasing them along with all your troubles in a large water vessel. Watch your creation slowly disintegrate along with the troubles of the world.

Hope to see you at our next ARTLab this Saturday from 1-4pm!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Because a picture is worth a thousand words, we want your design on a t-shirt to explain to the world how the Mattress Factory is literally a museum where we exhibit "art you can get into!"

Nathan Hall, ex-MFer, is currently busy making beautiful music in Iceland
where he proudly sports his MF t-shirt

The winner of the contest will receive two free general tickets to our 2011 Urban Garden Party on Friday, June 17th! The winner's design will be featured in the MF Shop and online at Once the shirt is manufactured, the winner will also receive one free fabric edition of their own winning design and bragging rights.

Your rad t-shirt design could be featured in our MF Shop

• Use "art you can get into" as the tag-line or inspiration
• All designs must be completed and submitted to shop [at] mattress [dot] org no later than Friday, April 15, 2011 (happy tax day!)
• Complete all requested information (name, address, email, phone & design as described in the tiny print below)

Tiny print stuff:
The contest begins March 11th, 2011 and ends April 15th, 2011. By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states they are at least 18 years old.
How to enter:
• Graphics and general silhouette (i.e., a representation of how it'll look on a person) for the t-shirt, submitted along with your name, mailing address, email, and phone number.
• All designs to be submitted as .ai format for the design and any image format (e.g., jpg, pdf, gif) for the general silhouette.
• Email your final design (up to 10MB) to shop [at] mattress [dot] org.
• Judging will be conducted by the MF staff and directors, based on originality and creativity
• The winner of the contest will receive two free regular tickets to the Mattress Factory 2011 Urban Garden Party on Friday, June 17th, 2011.
• The winner's design will be featured in the MF Shop and online at Once the t-shirt is manufactured, the winner will receive one free fabric edition of their own design.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Factory 500 Member Tour: Historic Allegheny West

Just in time to welcome spring, the Factory 500 members and their guests gathered to take a tour this past weekend in historic Allegheny West. Each location was completely new and different, offering a look at some buildings and people with interesting histories.

The members get a tour at Calvary United Methodist Church.

The first stop was Calvary United Methodist Church at the corner of Allegheny and Beech. Construction was started on the Church in 1893, and it features three Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. Reverend Larry discussed with the group the painstaking effort that went into fund raising for and restoring the Church, and also gave the group a tour through the church’s interior, describing some of the unique architectural details and history.

The group looks at renovation plans for the Hipwell building, bought by Elaine and Mitchell.

The second stop was Elaine Stone and Mitchell Schwartz’s old Hipwell building, located on West North Avenue. The old flashlight factory is full of history and lots of spare flashlight parts. George C. Parks, who was the President of the Hipwell flashlight company, gave a talk and Elaine and Mitchell served hot and cold drinks alongside their Airstream. Mitchell led the group through the building and described some of the renovation plans, including living space, work space and apartments.

Photographer Annie O'Neill snaps some photos of the group at her studio.

The third and final stop was photographer Annie O’Neill’s studio on West North Avenue. The members enjoyed wine and refreshments and Annie spoke about some of her photography and the history of her studio building. The group was able to see a preview of some of her work for her next show on March 25th, and even got to participate in a photo shoot of their very own. Annie was kind enough to make the group a great slide show from the evening that you can view! Click here to see the photos.

Thank you to those who made the evening so wonderful. And as always, we are so grateful our Factory 500 members could come out and spend the night with us. If you want to see more of the photos from the evening, you can check out our Flickr. If you like what you see and want to be part of the Factory 500 membership level, you can visit our online shop to purchase a membership or call Abby at 412-231-3169. See you next time!

Friday, March 4, 2011


On March 25, 2011, the fifteenth installment of the Mattress Factory’s Gestures: An Exhibition of Small Site-Specific Works series will open with a reception from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at our annex gallery located at 1414 Monterey Street. Guest-curated by Katherine Talcott, Gestures 15 includes new work from Sue Abramson, Chris Craychee, Jerstin Crosby, Will Giannotti, Deborah Hosking, HOT SPOTS: What Comes After Oil? (artist collaborators Ann T. Rosenthal, Wendy Osher, Elizabeth Monoian, and Karin Bergdolt), Stephanie Mayer-Staley, Ingrid Nagin, and Garry Pyles.

Gestures 15 is about process and collaboration: how the curator chooses artists and the process of the artist to create and respond to visual cues or concepts,” says Talcott. “My process as curator is to identify the inner workings and conceptual subtleties of aesthetic practices, see the potential, and offer experimental opportunities to Pittsburgh’s creative community.”

We started the Gestures series back in 2001 to showcase the diverse talents and practices of Pittsburgh artists. Gestures openings are always a blast. Visitors get the chance to talk with the artists and MF staff over delicious food and drink and incredible artwork. Plus, the turnout numbers in the hundreds, making for an amazing party!

Atticus Adams, castles in the air, 2009, Gestures 12 opening

“This is where you come in. We are consistently blown away by the support of our online community, and with the opening fast approaching, we could use your help getting the word out to people. I’ve embedded an electronic flyer below. Feel free to share the Gestures 15 poster on your blog or other social networking site, or email the flyer to your art-loving friends. As always, thank you so much for the online support, and I hope to see you on the 25th!

Gestures 15 Poster

Poster design by Paul Schifino