Sunday afternoon was the official dedication of the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs- A Holocaust Sculpture at the Community Day School at the corner of Beechwood Boulevard and Forward Ave. The sculpture is a maze in the shape of the Star of David, created with glass blocks which are filled with six million pop tabs which took almost five years to collect , each tab representing a human life lost in the Holocaust. Many people contributed time, money and effort to the creation of the sculpture and the beautiful surrounding park. Walking into the maze, one is struck by the magnitude of the horror of genocide, the number of victims is hard to fathom but the pop tabs in the glass blocks are a reminder of the millions killed.
The resident artist, Elena Hiatt Houlihan has been with this project since 2002. Pop tabs were being collected since 1996 and Mr. Walter the History Teacher at Community Day School had aquariums filled with them when Elena arrived to help the student teams design the sculpture. Their original artist statement was read by her at the dedication ceremony today.
Elena had been a resident artist at Greenfield Elementary when I was the art teacher there and I remember her talking about the ongoing work of this sculpture and then funding and other circumstances delayed the completion.
It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon and there were speeches and prayers and an 8th grader played the violin. A chill wind and shadows gave one a shudder and reminded those present of the significance of the memorial sculpture. Never Forget.
I went up earlier in the day to photograph the memorial sculpture before all the people arrived.
Receiving a standing ovation, Mr. Walter comes to the podium to speakArtist in Residence Elena Hiatt Houlihan and Social Studies Teacher Mr. Bill Walter who started the collection of the pop tabs when he was teaching the Holocaust to middle school students at Community Day School.
Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Keeping Tabs Memorial Sculpture Dedication, this time including Elena Hiatt Houlihan’s name