The Mattress Factory was founded back in 1977 as a way to bring contemporary and experimental art installations to the community, which were created by local artists, as well as artists from around the globe. They’re constantly introducing new exhibits, so there’s always something different to check out every time you stop by.
The History of The Mattress Factory
Over the years the Mattress Factory has hosted works from over 750 artists, including developments in technology and audience interaction, in order to challenge the traditional artistic practices and ideals. Here you’ll find site specific installations, video, and even performance arts.
In 2003, they opened up a fully-equipped Education Studio consisting of workshops, school programs, teacher training, and community activities. Ten years later in 2013, they also launched an after school program for kids ages 3 to 6, in an effort to serve the museum’s urban neighborhood.
Around the region, they’re widely respected. Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Economic Development conducted an economic impact study which resulted in the conclusion that the museum “makes important contributions to local workforce development, neighborhood redevelopment, cultural tourism, artistic entrepreneurship, and economic growth.”
Exhibits and Installations
While they are always rotating out different exhibits, there’s also a selection of permanent installations.
William Anastasi has a Calisthenic Series, which is a selection of timed drawings he created while blindfolded over the course of forty years.
Yayoi Kusama creates an alternative universe through paint, sculpting, performance, and installation pieces, and she began her artistic career in the 1950s in Japan, where she draws much of her inspiration from. Her installations, “Repetitive Vision”, and “Infinity Dots Mirrored Room” are always worth checking out.
Outside, you can find the Garden Installation by Winifred Lutz, which uses stones, concrete, rebar, wood, and planting materials to depict the lives of Italian immigrants’ agriculture-related jobs, which included food production and cooking, grocery store operation, and as vegetable hucksters.