Fans Of The '10th Street Geese' Flock To Preserve Artwork

Jun 1, 2018

If you're headed to the South Side from Downtown on the 10th Street Bridge, it's easy to spy four black geese painted onto the arch of one of the tall towers. The artwork, created by Tim Kaulen more than 20 years ago, is at risk as the bridge goes through a major rehabilitation.

The bridge has been under renovation since last summer, and last week it closed to outbound traffic. It will stay closed through most of the year. The repairs include replacing the bridge deck, installing a dehumidification system and repainting the structure.

Kaulen painted the geese -- which some think look like dinosaurs -- at a time when Pittsburgh was at a crossroads, a few years after the collapse of the steel industry.

"In so many cases, the arts community was there to say, 'we're a part of this identity, and we want to claim this space and time as something that's noteworthy,'" he said.

An online petition set up by Kaulen to preserve the geese has more than 450 signatures. One supporter writes that preserving the artwork would be a symbolic gesture to the resilience of the local arts community. Another says, "These dinosaur ducks are the spirit of the Southside!"

"I think the appropriate step would be to at least maintain the outline of what is there now, and to add to it," Kaulen said. "If they were covered over completely, and I was then given the chance to go back onto a freshly painted surface to replicate that, I would be thrilled to do it."

However, Kaulen does say that repainting the geese would get rid of some of the art's authenticity.

An Allegheny County spokesperson said the County had not received any formal requests for the geese to be preserved.