The Crooked House
The Crooked House: Art, History, Community – Home
The Crooked House, a public artwork, located directly across from the Milesburg Historic Museum, is being developed from the remnants of an unsalvageable 1857 house. Although the building is beyond restoration, components of the historic structure are incorporated into the public work.
The ultimate visual result will be a distinctive concrete façade representing a historic house in a small town in Pennsylvania. This site-specific sculpture will be sixteen-feet wide by sixteen-feet tall and located five feet from a public sidewalk facing the Milesburg Historic Museum, inviting visitors to experience historic and contemporary art in their community spaces as they look across Market Street.
While the rest of the unsalvageable building is dismantled, the large Rumford fireplace (hearth) in the historic home will remain and be re-purposed to provide a comfortable, warm venue for community gatherings where an interaction with art in everyday life can serve as an anchor for events rich with meaning and as a catalyst to a greater understanding of community and home. Regardless of age, ethnicity or gender, the concept of home is a universally held idea across a multitude of experiences. Whether the place one calls home has been in the family for generations or changes regularly, the idea of home still resonates across demographic and geographic lines. The Crooked House actively involves a rural community with limited opportunity to participate the arts in creating contemporary public art as a community venue and anchor, and engages the wider community in supporting the arts in Milesburg, PA.
Preserving and reinventing the facade of the 1857 building provides a new type of place for this community to experience contemporary art as part of their lives and, for many, to contribute to its creation. During an community open house, research historians identified the structure as a "Miles House" constructed by a cousin of the town founder, investing the sculptural preservation of its façade with even greater significance for the community. In subsequent sessions, previous residents and neighbors have gathered to share their memories of living and playing in the house. The ultimate success of this project depends on achieving the goal of participation by the greater community – only by engaging Milesburg residents in this project to experience art as part of their daily lives, will it fully succeed.
The Crooked House expands the role of the creator beyond the primary artist to incorporate the interaction of local residents' ideas, history and unique perspectives -- adding a uniquely local sensibility and pride in area history to the development of public art. The goal is bring together the community - not only in the creation process, but also for reflection and celebration - over decades to come.