New Exhibit Centers Around Pittsburgh's Water

Apr 11, 2014

Chatham University graduate students, Ann Payne and Kristen Reynolds, and their professor have created an entire exhibit about water -- and they hope it has a rippling effect.

“The Drop Project” is an interactive exhibit that shows the relationship among Pittsburgh, its residents and water.

Molly Mehling, sustainability professor and ecologist, said they want to create a networking event.

“The goal of it is to combine art and science around celebrating water and sort of raising awareness [of the] diversity and complexity about the way we talk about water in Pittsburgh,” Mehling said.

At the exhibit, which is open through April 26th, people will see remnants of streams, including a stream “bed” they can lie on, and will have the opportunity to listen to several guest speakers.

Mehling said there is a photography exhibit that attempts to tell the “Stream Story” of Nine Mile Run in Pittsburgh’s East End.

“If you haven’t been out to Nine Mile Run and you haven’t stepped foot in it, the imagery is a good way to get a sense of what that system is like,” Mehling said.  “It’s one of the longest stream restorations in the country right here in Pittsburgh, and we’re working hard to make sure that it continues to improve its conditions.”

She said they hope to build a community around Pittsburgh’s water system, which is important to the city’s economy, quality of life and recreation.

“You know, it’s such a contentious issue and we’re always talking about water in terms of how problematic it is,” Mehling said. “And we wanted to create a playful, fun space for people of all ages, and you know, all interests to come together and really celebrate water and also talk about how we can solve some of our problems here in the region.”

Mehling said the issues revolve around too much water at the wrong times in the wrong places.

“Most of my research focuses on how we can make small landscape changes like in your backyard to help use that water on your property and bring better awareness to the impact that everybody has everyday on the amount of water and what goes into that water that flows down our roads and eventually into our rivers,” Mehling said.

Other issues include pollution from objects such as plastic and pharmaceuticals that add stress to the watersheds.

The exhibit is open at the Assemble gallery space at Penn Avenue in the Garfield neighborhood Tuesdays-Fridays from 4 to 7 pm and Saturdays 12-4 pm.