If you’ve driven through the main street of Bridgeville in the past two years, you’ve probably seen a series of sculptures lining the streets. The sculptures are a product of a cultural collaboration between Public Art Bridgeville and Bridgeville Borough.
We sat down with Elizabeth (Bitsy) Bellaver, one of the faces behind Public Art Bridgeville to learn more about the organization and its work within the Bridgeville community.
What is Public Art Bridgeville? What is its purpose?
Public Art Bridgeville is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, whose mission is to contribute in a unique way to the borough’s built environment by encouraging residents and visitors to explore it through the medium of public art.
How did Public Art Bridgeville begin?
When Guy and I first moved to Bridgeville we spoke with Borough Manager, Joe Kauer about our interest in public art. He suggested some folks that he thought might be interested in that subject as well – and, as is often the case, those people suggested other people, and so on. The first “project” idea was a mural on the railroad overpass over Washington Avenue. We spent some time talking with mural artists about concepts, costs, etc. Fundamentally, we decided that murals on that overpass would never survive more than a few years and we would have to get permission from the railroads to both repair and paint the structure – which we could not make happen.
What is your favorite thing about Public Art Bridgeville?
The opportunities that it has presented for developing and executing multiple public art ideas.
Can you talk a little about creating cultural partnerships within the community?
Among the long list of things that cultural initiatives need to begin and to flourish, are people and creativity. After that, they often involve “places” – especially visual art. Public Art Bridgeville’s partnership with the library is a perfect example of how a cultural partnership works. It combines our experience with organizing and curating sculpture shows plus our artist database, and the library’s willingness to allow us to use their wonderful space for those shows. Permission is necessary, but also a bit passive. But the Bridgeville Public Library has gone far beyond that – including publicizing the event, printing out show brochures, providing input, and more.
What would you like to see in the future for Public Art Bridgeville?
I guess more of the same. We’re delighted to continue to work with partners like the library whose interests align with PAB’s and who understand the value of public art to them and to the community.