We recently spoke with Caledonia Curry better know as the Street Artist, Swoon about Braddock Tiles, Transformazium and their ongoing altruistic rebuilding efforts in Braddock PA.
Tell us about Transformazium and what you are trying to accomplish in Braddock?
Transformazium is my local partner in Braddock. They are an art collective I have worked closely along side since 2007. They work on wonderful neighborhood focused art projects which find a way to strengthen the connective tissue of a place like Braddock. Each of their projects tries to revalue what is already present in a place whose narrative revolves so much around blight, and to bring people together, provide resources, and start good conversations.
What is Braddock Tiles?
Braddock Tiles is (soon to be!) a ceramics studio centered around fixing an abandoned landmark 19th century church building in North Braddock, PA. I have a long-term vision of seeing the space become an arts focused community learning center. Because we have such a long way to go before the building is finished, we are working to make every step of the restoration somehow an interesting project for the community. With Braddock Tiles we hope to create jobs, teach a skill set, and transform a once abandoned space into a colorful shimmering jewel.
Work has begun on restoring the building. How far along are you in the restoration process?
In 2010 we deconstructed a burned out section of the building, and opened up public discussion in the community about the benefits of building deconstruction verses demolition. We have re-roofed a small section of the building, repaired the under-structure of the large roof so that it’s ready to receive tiles, as well as countless other small steps toward making the building useable – and we still have a very long way to go!
How has the community reacted to your efforts? Where can people see more and get involved?
From the beginning the community around the church has reacted with cautious optimism. Braddock is the kind of place that has suffered so many setbacks since the collapse of the mills – so many promises have been made to this community and have gone unfulfilled. So, people are happy to see something in the works, and at the same time, they’ll believe it when they see it. That’s a big part of what keeps me determined although work has been slow. The longer I live and work in a community context, the more I come to understand the value of a promise.
For more on Braddock Tile visit their website HERE