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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
May 31, 2005

Carnegie Mellon's Persephone Project Commissions Sculptor for Frank Curto Park

PITTSBURGH—Wisconsin-based sculptor Gail Simpson installed a sculpture, "Broken Hardscape," by using plants and landscaping material in Frank Curto Park on May 26-28 as part of Carnegie Mellon University's STUDIO for Creative Inquiry's Persephone Project. Simpson built her sculpture on the old exposed roadbed that is next to the cinder-walking path by using a pattern of hollow logs and plants that suggest the original paved road. Carnegie Mellon STUDIO fellow Stephanie Flom leads the Persephone Project.

Simpson said, "The site in Frank Curto Park is a good example of what interests me. I like working with disturbed sites with rich cultural histories where built structures have been abandoned and natural forces are attempting to reshape the space. In Frank Curto Park, the phenomenon of broken pavement with plant material growing in the cracks represents the transitional growth common to areas balancing an urban environment and nature."

Simpson has worked as a sculptor for many years, designing and implementing commissions for sitespecific public artwork. She recently collaborated on a sculptural rain garden by using recycled material for an industrial site in Middleton, Wis., that is being converted into residencies. She is on the art department faculty of the University of Wisconsin.

Founded by Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts in 1989, the mission of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry is to support interdisciplinary projects that connect the arts to academic disciplines, such as science, technology and humanities, and to local and global communities. The Persephone Project is a community-focused project sponsored by the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry that aims to educate the public about art and the environment by exhibiting gardens as art and introducing gardeners as artists.

The Persephone Project is made possible by the in-kind support of the City of Pittsburgh and by the financial contributions of the Sprout Fund, local foundations and Pennsylvania Partners. Pennsylvania Partners is funded by the citizens of Pennsylvania through annual legislative appropriation and administered locally by Pro Arts. The PCA is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on the Persephone Project, visit the Web site for Carnegie Mellon's STUDIO for Creative Inquiry: For more information about the College of Fine Arts, contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or


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