The Tom Museum

The Tom Museum, 2007

The Tom Museum, 2006 – 2008

The Tom Museum was a community-based museum and residency project located in a Pittsburgh North Side row house.  As a residency and exhibition of the Mattress Factory, the project experienced a constant flow of visitors.  The project began in spring of 2006 with alterations to the building on Sampsonia Way.  Construction continued through the summer, with the museum opening in the fall.  The project was open to the public on weekends (and weekdays for tours and specials events) through May of 2008.  The Tom Museum was constantly in a state of transition.  Artist / museum director Tom Sarver lived within the house for the duration of the project.  Visitors experienced a behind-the-scenes look at the life and studio practice of an artist.  Eventually, visitors were invited to participate in thematic exhibitions including SNAPSHOT, MIXTAPE, Artist Books and Small Sculpture shows.  The Tom Museum was supported by grants from The Heinz Endowments and The Pennsylvania Council for the Arts.  The project received the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Mayor’s Award for Public Art.

Opening reception, 2006.  Photo by Larry Rippel

Opening reception, 2006. Photo by Larry Rippel

Museum logo.

Museum logo.

Opening night band.  L. Rippel

Opening night band. L. Rippel

Painting the museum mural, summer 2006.

Painting the museum mural, summer 2006.

Puppet making workshop for adults.

Puppet making workshop for adults.

Tom Museum sketch, 2006.

Tom Museum sketch, 2006.

Boats on the Ohio.

Boats on the Ohio.

Sketch for Universe Room and revolving space station.

Sketch for Universe Room and revolving space station.

Wooden structure of Universe Room.

Wooden structure of Universe Room.

Universe Room at The Tom Museum, 2008, Photo by L.Rippel

Universe Room at The Tom Museum, 2008, Photo by L. Rippel

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Visitors making art.

Visitors making art.

An impromptu performance by a visitor on puppet making day.

An impromptu performance by a visitor on puppet making day.

A planter box garden in the back yard.

A planter box garden in the back yard.

Front Window.

Front Window.

Kitchen at The Tom Museum

Kitchen at The Tom Museum.  Kitchen Magnets of Everyone I’ve Met on right wall. Photo by L. Rippel.

Central room of the project used as a work area, performance space and dining room.

Central room of the project used as a work area, performance space and dining room.

Pittsburgh visionary artist Steve Smith (pictured with his mother) had a solo exhibition of paintings at the museum.

Pittsburgh visionary artist Steve Smith (pictured with his mother) had a solo exhibition of paintings at the museum.

Steve Smith and a friend at his opening reception.

Steve Smith and a friend at his opening reception.

Steve Smith with one of his paintings.

Steve Smith with one of his paintings.

Visitors from across the country dropped off and mailed art for the Small Works Exhibition.

Visitors from across the country dropped off and mailed art for the Small Works Exhibition.

Small Work

A Small Work

The Small Works show was one of the highlights of the exhibition season.

The Small Works show was one of the highlights of the exhibition season.

The Dinner at The Tom Museum was a collaboration with Chef Dianne DeStefano.

The Dinner at The Tom Museum was a collaboration with Chef Dianne DeStefano.

Ten visitors were selected by lottery to come to dinner.

Ten visitors were selected by lottery to come to dinner.

Dinner at the museum.

Dinner at the museum.

Doug Hill visited the museum on Saturdays to demonstrate his gadget making.

Doug Hill visited the museum on Saturdays to demonstrate his gadget making.

Doug Hill often visited the museum on Saturdays to demonstrate the construction of cardboard gadgets.

Doug Hill often visited the museum on Saturdays to demonstrate the construction of cardboard gadgets.

During one month, I created a miniature golf course in the house.  This hole began on the second floor, with ramp wrapping down the stairs to the first floor.

During one month, I created a miniature golf course in the house. This hole began on the second floor, with ramp wrapping down the stairs to the first floor. L. Rippel

Visitors entering the basement of the museum would see Earth Pond in the distance.

Visitors entering the basement of the museum would see Earth Pond in the distance.

Earth Pond, located in the basement of the house.

Earth Pond, located in the basement of the house.

Earth pond.  A cement crater with miniature islands (Islands of Consumerism, Barren Wasteland, Extinction and Pristine Wilderness).  Live video feed of pond activity to Universe Room installation upstairs.

Earth pond. A cement crater with miniature islands (Islands of Consumerism, Barren Wasteland, Extinction and Pristine Wilderness). Live video feed of pond activity to Universe Room installation upstairs.

Island of Consumerism.

Island of Consumerism.

The Earth Pond during the development stage.

Earth Pond during the development stage.

Island under construction.

Island under construction.

Island of Extinction with dodo.

Island of Extinction with dodo.

Island of Barren Wasteland.

Island of Barren Wasteland.

Arial view of Earth Pond.  This view was captured by a live feed (can at bottom right), viewable on a monitor in the Universe Room (one floor above).

Arial view of Earth Pond. This view was captured by a live feed (can at bottom right), viewable on a monitor in the Universe Room (one floor above).

I tinkered with a robot sensory system developed by the CMU Robotics Department to activate installations within the project.

I tinkered with a robot sensory system (center white wall) developed by the CMU Robotics Department.  Sounds and smells activated sensors, creating movement in various gadgets. L. Rippel

Puppet Eyes

Puppet Eyes

An assortment of my Grandfather's Keys.

An assortment of my Grandfather’s Keys.

Mural detail of old Heinz factory along the Allegheny River.

Mural detail of old Heinz factory along the Allegheny River.

Detail from the Universe Room.

Detail from the Universe Room.

Detail of backyard in winter.

Detail of backyard in winter.

Backyard fire pit used for outdoor cooking.

Backyard fire pit used for outdoor cooking.

Puppet by Diana Vencius on display during puppet month.

Puppet by Diana Vencius on display during puppet month.

Detail, Universe Room

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Family puppet making day.

Family puppet making day.

Marionette.

Marionette.

Guest artist Jeremiah Johnson setting up an installation in the attic.

Guest artist Jeremiah Johnson setting up an installation in the attic.

The Tom Museum

Political cartoon drawn on a continuous surface, basement to attic.

Pittsburgh puppeteer Gregory Knipling performs during puppet month.

Pittsburgh puppeteer Gregory Knipling performed during puppet month.

Visitor taste-testing day during food month.

Visitor taste-testing day during food month.

Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh

Looking into the backyard.

Pittsburgh Mural.

Pittsburgh Mural.

Sketches, paintings and collages.

Sketches, paintings and collages.  Painting by Steve Smith on green wall.

Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh

Guest artist Alberto Almarza with his MIMA project (Miniature Museum of Art).

Visitors on the final day of the project, May 2008.

Visitors on the final day of the project, May 2008. L. Rippel

Opening reception of Handmade Books and MIMA exhibitions.

Opening reception of Handmade Books and MIMA exhibitions.

This scrolling book by Rose Clancy was one of the highlights of the Artist Books exhibition.

This scrolling book by Rose Clancy was one of the highlights of the Artist Books exhibition.

Artist book by Alberto Almarza.

Artist book by Alberto Almarza.

Artist Book by Claudia Giannini.

Artist Book by Claudia Giannini.

More Artist Books.

More Artist Books.

Grandfather's Workbench, a basement display.

Grandfather’s Workbench, a display at the bottom of the cellar stairs.

Universe Room, a maze-like entrance including sound and kinetics.

Universe Room, a maze-like entrance including sound and kinetics.

Detail, Universe Room.

Detail, Universe Room.

Souvenir mini-museums were given to visitors on opening weekend.

Souvenir mini-museums were given to visitors on opening weekend.

A visitor listens to music during the exhibition, MIXTAPE.

A visitor listens to music during the exhibition, MIXTAPE.

Kitchen Magnets of everyone I've Met.

Kitchen Magnets of Everyone I’ve Met.

Visitor creating a puppet.

Visitor creating a puppet.

Closing reception, May 2008.

Closing reception, May 2008. L. Rippel

The Tom Museum, photo by L. Rippel.

The Tom Museum, photo by L. Rippel.

Fireplace.  Show of drawings by Mr. Funky on right.

Fireplace. Show of drawings by Mr. Funky on right.

Center workspace during the exhibition, MIXTAPE.

Center workspace during the exhibition, MIXTAPE. L. Rippel

Audio submissions from across the US arrived for the MIXTAPE show.

Audio submissions from across the US arrived for the MIXTAPE show.

Listening at the exhibition MIXTAPE.

Listening at the exhibition, MIXTAPE.

MIX TAPE

MIX TAPE

MIXTAPE entries on third floor.  Photo by L. Rippel.

MIXTAPE entries on third floor. L. Rippel

Backyard.

Backyard.

In The Universe Room.

In The Universe Room.

Puppet Archives Room.  Photo by L. Rippel.

Puppet Archives Room. L. Rippel

Puppet Archives, Photo by L. Rippel.

Puppet Archives.  L. Rippel

Puppet Demonstration.  Photo by L. Rippel.

Puppet Demonstration. L. Rippel

Puppet Archives.  Photo by L. Rippel.

Puppet Archives.  L. Rippel

Attic installation by Jason Lockyer.

Attic installation (sound and props) by Jason Lockyer.

Pittsburgh artist Steve Smith played a round of miniature golf during his visit.

Pittsburgh artist Steve Smith played a round of miniature golf during his visit.

Puppet making day.

Puppet making day.

Sketches.

Sketches.

Family puppet making day was part of the Black Sheep Puppet Festival.

Family puppet making day was part of the Black Sheep Puppet Festival.

Backyard experiments.

Backyard experiments. L. Rippel

Artist visitor John Colaric spend the day sketching in the backyard.

Artist visitor John Colaric spend the day sketching in the backyard.

First floor (Abstract painting by John Colaric directly below light).

First floor (Abstract painting by John Colaric directly below light).

Huh?

Huh?

Sound sensor.

Sound sensor.

All Clap.

All Clap.

With guest artist Jeremiah Johnson.

With guest artist Jeremiah Johnson.

Wall Art.

Wall Art.

A temporary tree.

A temporary tree.

Mural Detail, Fishing on the Allegheny.

Mural Detail, Fishing on the Allegheny.

Rose Clancy at the closing reception, May 2008.

Rose Clancy at the closing reception, May 2008. L. Rippel

Closing Reception, May 2008. L. Rippel

Closing Reception, May 2008. L. Rippel

Closing Reception, May 2008.  L. Rippel

Closing Reception, May 2008. L. Rippel

Backyard. L. Rippel

Backyard. L. Rippel

Backyard #2. L. Rippel

Backyard #2. L. Rippel

 

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