Historic Cemetery Invites Pittsburgh Community to Reclaim Discarded Trees for an Artful Afterlife

Pittsburgh’s Homewood Cemetery is engaged in the restoration of its historic landscape. They decided to reclaim discarded trees to create fine wood sculptures. As a result, the social-enterprise project ‘reGenerations’ was formed to create an institutional art collection.

Online PR News – 26-October-2012 – Pittsburgh, PA – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Historic Cemeteries Invite the Pittsburgh Community
to Reclaim Discarded Trees for an Artful Afterlife

PITTSBURGH, PA, Oct 16, 2012 -- Pittsburgh’s Homewood and Allegheny Cemeteries are engaged in long-term tree conservation programs at their respective locations. As Pittsburgh battles a serious invasion of oak wilt necessitating the removal of hundreds of trees, The Homewood and Allegheny Cemeteries have joined with other organizations in the restoration of their own historic landscapes. An unfortunate outcome of their efforts is the removal of the blighted trees for others to remain healthy. Their conservation programs are implemented to preserve key species of endangered trees and promote the aesthetic beauty of the city’s most lush landscapes. Together they’ve planted over 160 new trees on-site this year.

While serving during the funeral of a friend at the Homewood Cemetery, Kenn Thomas, a local social entrepreneur and artist, noticed a large pile of cut timber and inquired at the office about its availability for a personal project. That’s when Gary Frink, General Manager of The Homewood Cemetery, proposed the unique idea of a community outreach initiative to reclaim discarded wood from its tree conservation program to create and promote attractive wood sculptures and crafts. David Michener, Chief Executive Officer of Allegheny Cemetery and The Homewood Cemetery, readily got behind the idea.

The thought of cemetery tree reclamation-art seemed a perfect way of showing reverence for these mature and stately life forms that once stood respectfully serving many generations of Pittsburghers. The Homewood Cemetery and Kenn formed a small team to refine their tree reclamation-art concept and two months later the project ‘reGenerations’ was born. reGenerations is a unique social-enterprise initiative to reclaim discarded tree wood to create a set of public and private institutional art collections.

reGenerations is a collaboration coordinated by The Homewood and Allegheny cemeteries, Kenn-Thomas and Associates, and Pittsburgh Urban Tree. Pittsburgh Urban Tree, is a local, environmentally conscious tree reclamation operation which supports local business and conservation by intercepting trees headed for the landfill and putting the salvaged wood back into a productive life cycle. They currently salvage tree wood for making beautiful functional and decorative furniture.

The project is engaging the public directly through petition to regional artisans, environmentalists, historians, and educators to take part in this unique market enterprise and share its social benefits…those benefits being conserving the local environment by promoting sustainable market alternatives for waste trees, utilizing salvaged wood to create an exclusive art collection for public offering, and celebrating the region’s creative, environmental, and historical assets.