Live metal sculpture part of Gate 5 festival
WEIRTON — A new festival planned to celebrate the industrial heritage of the area will be leaving a lasting impression once it wraps up its inaugural event.
Throughout the day of the Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival, residents will be able to watch as artists from the Pittsburgh Mobile Sculpture Workshop create a piece of lasting artwork using pieces of scrap metal provided by the Frontier Group of Companies and coming from the Weirton steel-making operations.
Alecia Ford, who is chairing the committee planning the Oct. 20 festival, expressed her appreciation to the Frontier Group for its support of the festival.
“They were incredibly generous,” Ford said, explaining Rob Zuchlewski, Frontier’s chief operating officer, walked committee members and artists from the Pittsburgh Mobile Sculpture Workshop through the property to pick up pieces of scrap for the artwork.
Zuchlewski said Frontier finds it important to preserve a sense of history and community bonds, and feels the sculpture will do just that.
“Since acquiring the old steel making facility and related land back in March of 2017 we have felt the sentiments of the community at large and understand how important their steel industry heritage is to the greater Weirton area,” Zuchlewski said. “Preserving that heritage is very important to the community and we are very happy to support the Gate 5 initiative and to contribute to the efforts that people like Alecia Ford and Tim Kaulen are working on to that end.”
The sculpture will begin taking shape at 9 a.m. the day of the festival, with a work site on Lee Avenue.
Tim Kaulen, one of the artists involved in the project, said the group is looking forward to creating a piece of artwork reflective of Weirton’s history.
“We’re totally inspired to take materials that were once part of the production of steel at the Weirton site to create a lasting piece that tells the story of the mill and the community and the human spirit that is a major component to industry and community,” Kaulen stated.
Once completed, the sculpture will remain in Weirton.
It won’t be the only piece of artwork being created, though.
Beginning at 8 a.m., at Cove Commons, community members can come together to contribute toward the creation of a 40-foot-long mosaic made from pieces of Fiestaware.
The Fiestaware has been provided by Homer Laughlin, and area residents will be able to assist with smashing them into pieces for the mosaic during the next First Friday event in Steubenville.
Ford describes the Gate 5 festival as a heritage event, showcasing the history and culture of the Weirton area, which was built up around Weirton Steel.
“We don’t have big pumpkins,” Ford said. “We’re not famous for apple pie.”
The Gate 5 Industrial Art Festival will be focused around the Weirton Event Center, with activities beginning at 8 a.m.
In addition to the sculpture demonstration and mosaic work, events will include the Tin Man Run 5K, the Gr8 Gate 5 Puzzle Hunt, a Steampunk Fashion Show and live music from groups including Steel Cassa, Mr. Fancy Pants, U.S. Kids, Easy Street and Strutter.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)