An art installation, “The History of the Land Grant in Allegheny County” was unveiled at the September 2nd Open House at The Penn State Center Pittsburgh. Penn State is Pennsylvania’s only land grant institution and the permanent installation details University services in Allegheny County via the development of Extension in 1914 through the opening of the Penn State Center Pittsburgh this past May, 2015. Land Grant universities were established by federal legislation in 1863 with the charge to provide research-based practice for community problem solving. Currently, there are 77 Land Grant institutions in the United States.
Patterns from buildings in the city of Pittsburgh form the structure for the installation and reflect on Penn State’s involvement with Pittsburgh. Vignettes of images of actual historical photos from a variety of Penn State Center Pittsburgh programs are interspersed across the patterned panel of windows: Top: 4-H Summer Day Camp, Family Community Leadership, and Master Gardener Program. Middle: EIC Building, Landscape Architecture’s Fall Studio, 4-H, Project 15206, Better Kid Care Program, and Community Volunteer Outreach. Bottom: Diet, Health, and Food Safety, Pittsburgh Green Innovators and the Connelly Vo-Tech High School, and Food and Nutrition Program. Open windows are left for future urban programming by the Penn State Center in Pittsburgh.
Intense colors combined with stainless steel reference the historical Connelly Vo-Tech High School where The Penn State Center Pittsburgh is now located. Handwritten lines of text from the 1920 Penn State Extension of Allegheny County’s annual report are laid out like rows of a field and create the base of this work as agriculture was the origin of Extension’s formation over 100 years ago.
Artist Jennifer Kirkpatrick, MFA in Ceramics from Penn State University, currently works at the University of Georgia. She has undergraduate degrees from Northwest Missouri State University and attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to work as a post-baccalaureate student in ceramics. Jennifer is from Nebraska and her work has been in exhibition in Missouri, Arkansas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas. Ms. Kirkpatrick undertook the planning, design and actual installation while she was a graduate student at Penn State.