Dennis and Marilyn Funtal inched their way along the Andy Warhol Bridge Monday morning, stopping with every step to admire the 580 hand-stitched afghan panels that currently envelop the structure.
“Quite unusual,” Dennis Funtal said, “just like the City of Pittsburgh’s always been — unusual.”
The retired Brookline couple made a point to venture downtown Monday to see what's been called the largest “yarn bomb” in the United States. “Yarn bombing” is a form of street art, which unlike graffiti can be easily removed and doesn’t damage public property.
Knit the Bridge is a community art project working to celebrate Pittsburgh as the city of bridges and steel. The art installation was completed Sunday night and opened to the public Monday morning.
Lawrence Kohler, of Lawrenceville, drove by the bridge Sunday but decided to come back to take a closer look.
“It’s encouraging that people are involved and got together and put the project together and everything,” he said. “It shows that people are community spirited, and it’s good for Pittsburgh.”
Hundreds of volunteers spent more than a year knitting and crocheting the 3-by-6 foot panels, according to organizers. Installing the art and covering the railings in black yarn took more than 30 hours this past weekend.
New Castle resident Susann Russo said she was amazed by the amount of time it took to complete the project.
“All the work, the patterns, the colors — they’re just so vibrant,” she said. “It brings out the art that’s in Pittsburgh that Pittsburgh is noted for.”
The art installation will remain in place through Sept. 7, and then the hand-made panels will be taken down, washed and donated to shelters and nursing homes in the communities where they were crafted.
Alice Lewis now lives in North Carolina, but was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She said she always enjoys coming back to see how they city has changed.
“I think this is fabulous,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed. I do a little bit of this and it knocks my socks off to think that all this has been done. It’s beautiful, just beautiful.”