“Waves of Gratitude” Movingly Commemorates the One Year Anniversary of the Pandemic
Aspinwall Riverfront Park has a beautiful way of commemorating the one year anniversary of the pandemic.
“Waves of Gratitude” was created with the help of over 1,000 people around the Region. The large-scale work of public art is composed of 1800 ribbons hanging twenty-four feet in the air. Each colored ribbon represents a life in the Region lost to COVID during the past year and each has a personal expression of what an individual is grateful for handwritten on it. As the wind blows through the piece, the sound produced is like waves lapping on the shore.
To create the work of art, the Park received submissions of what people were grateful for from over 1,000 people around the Region. Many schools participated including Fox Chapel School District Schools, Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy, Pace School, Shadyside Academy, Shaler Elementary School and Winchester Thurston. Girl Scout Troops, Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience, Lighthouse Point Retirement Community Residents, garden clubs and even a rug hooking guild submitted answers from their members.
“These past twelve months have been so difficult and filled with loss for so many people. Everyone’s lives are different now. But as a result of 2020, more than ever we can appreciate what is truly important in life and the little things that give us joy,” said Susan Crookston, the Park’s Executive Director who conceived of the art work. “We have so much to be grateful for, and this work of art is designed to display and spread that gratitude. Part of the fun of experiencing it is visiting the Park to find your gratitude.”
Psychologists have determined that the practice of focusing on gratitude can have powerful positive impacts on brain function, mood, interpersonal relationships, and even improve physical health indicators such as blood pressure and immune function.
“Fred Rogers encouraged children to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis,” said ARP Board Member Carole King. “We think that this focus on looking for the good, the things to be grateful for, aligns with the values he taught and the values of our Park. It is especially appropriate now for the year anniversary of the pandemic shut downs.”
“This week marks the end of a challenging year. This work of art is designed to make people feel happy,” said Ms. King. “When the wind blows, Waves of Gratitude looks like field of color blowing in the wind. It’s spectacular.” “Waves of Gratitude” is the second in a three-part series of public art funded by Dave and Beth Short.
“Waves of Gratitude” is located in the Park’s Welcome Center Pavilion at 285 River Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15215.
Founded in 2011 and dedicated to the memory of Charles R. Burke, Aspinwall Riverfront Park (ARP) features a fabulous Playground sculpture by world renowned artist Tom Otterness, a sled riding hill, off leash dog park, a fishing dock with hanging swings, walking trails, and native gardens. During the summer, it offers café, marina, kayak rentals, music, theater, free concert series, summer camps among other programs to the public. It is located at 285 River Avenue, in Aspinwall 15215.