Celebrating Labor Arts
Mixed Media: Fiber, rug-hooking , weave stitching , etc.
By Susan L. Berger
Part of "Threads: A Sampling of Fiber Art" at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
Murray Arts Building; 10a-5p daily; Admission $5 (free for members); 13480 Dowell Road, Dowell, Maryland 20629
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Manhattan, New York City on March 25, 1911 was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in US history. Susan Berger's deceptively powerful artwork packs an emotional punch in the softest of fabrics, drawing you in to the lives and deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16 to 23. Because the owners had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a then-common practice to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft – many of the workers could not escape and jumped from the high windows.
While at Annmarie, be sure to check out the sculpture garden, which includes "A Tribute to the Oyster Tonger, A Chesapeake Waterman" and features many pieces on loan from the Smithsonian, with which it is affiliated.