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The Sun Has Risen in White Plains

Ryan Rivet-Frame, of McLaren Engineering Group; John Sosa, of Sky Boom Service LLC; artist Amanda Browder; and Kathleen Reckling, 
of ArtsWestchester during the installation of Metropolis Sunrise on ArtsWestchester’s building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains

[Editor’s Note]: For this blog post, we gladly gave artist Amanda Browder a platform to discuss her monumental public artwork Metropolis Sunrise, which is now installed on the façade of ArtsWestchester’s historic landmark building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains. 

The installation took three years to realize, and was the result of 55 public sewing days throughout Westchester, 10,000 yards of donated fabric and 1,000 volunteers who donated fabric and helped to pin and sew the materials. 

Below is a letter from the artist: 

“I titled this piece Metropolis Sunrise to represent the sublime moment when the setting sun creates a brief glow at the top of a building. The point at which you stop walking and take a moment to look up and appreciate the beauty as the building lights up with that golden hue. 

We started this project back in 2019 when we sent out a call for donations of fabric, and sought hosts for our Public Sewing Days. At that time, I would drive up from the city in my 1995 Ford Explorer, filled to the brim with fabric and sewing supplies, and unload all the materials to have a celebratory and creative afternoon. It was electric! If we had only a few people, it was more intimate and our conversations were more personal. If it was packed, we were laughing, telling stories and celebrating our 80-foot-long fabric strips.

Not everyone needed to know how to sew! We sewed with people from ages two to 95! Anyone who wanted to learn was welcome! Kids were shocked at how fun the sewing machine was, and people were soon bringing family members to continue sewing as a collective project. The pandemic put a pause on the project for several years, but it was the joy of connecting with each other and the love of sewing that brought us back together.  We were a perpetual dance of creativity, connection and celebration as the piece took shape. 

Now we get to see the results of our work! AND we get to acknowledge and appreciate how everyone’s participation was valued, whether they sewed a little or a lot. I have heard from people who learned how to sew during this project who have since taken up sewing on a regular basis. In ways such as this, the glow of the project will live beyond the life of the textile installation. 

Take a photo or selfie and tag @ArtsWestchester and @browdertown on social media, and tell us YOUR story! Let’s celebrate the collective creative spirit of Westchester! 

On a personal note, I feel forever thankful to all the volunteers and participants. I will never forget our connection.” 

A version of this article first appeared in the November 2022 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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