Will Pittsburgh forget the lessons learned from its toxic past in writing the next chapter for its future?
Several organizations concerned about the region’s air quality, environment and future have come together to present a multimedia exhibition that draws on the parallels of the environmental degradation of Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” and that region’s reputation for having one of the highest rates of cancer in the country and petrochemical development in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Allegheny County ranks third worst out of all 3200 counties nationally for cancer risk due to point source pollution. What happens when a new health-impacting industry adds to this heavy burden?
This exhibition draws on the book “Petrochemical America” by Richard Misrach and Kate Orff (New York: Aperture, 2012) and Petrochemical America: Project Room, an exhibition held at Aperture Foundation in New York City in 2012. The exhibit pairs the drawings of landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE Studio with images from the Photographers of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, audio recorded by Public Herald and a selection of documentary films to relate a unique narrative of the people who live in the midst of this polluting industry. CREATE Lab has created an interactive visualization of the EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment Toxic Release Inventory for public exploration. The visualization will make tangible the breadth and scale of toxic chemicals and will highlight known carcinogens from industrial sources in the U.S.
This show is curated by Sophie Riedel in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab, Clean Air Council, Beaver County Marcellus Shale Awareness Committee and PennFuture through the Air Quality Collaborative.
The two-week exhibit will open in downtown Pittsburgh’s SPACE gallery, Sept. 27-Oct. 7, and move to the Beaver Station Cultural & Event Center for a second showing Oct. 16-20. Three events are planned in Pittsburgh and one is planned in Beaver, Pa.
Opening Reception with Wilma Subra
September 27 – 5:00 to 8:00 pm
Regional Visioning Session. Elected officials and the public are invited to a conversation around a healthier economic future.
October 4 – 3:30 to 6:00 pm
Closing Reception with Gena Wirth of SCAPE Studio
Bus Tour of the Petrochemical Plant in Potter Township
October 7 – 5:30 – 8:00 pm
Opening Cocktail Reception with Sandra Steingraber
Beaver Station Cultural & Events Center
Petrochemical America hopes to engage citizens of SWPA and ignite a deeper conversation and actions around our right to clean air and water in Pennsylvania. This show is curated by Sophie Riedel in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab, Clean Air Council, Beaver County Marcellus Shale Awareness Committee and PennFuture through the Air Quality Collaborative.
Photo: From Pipe to Plastic Bag, Petrochemical America by Richard Misrach and Kate Orff.