Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Neighborhood Art

I've always admired this mosaic. It caught my eye during my first walk in the neighborhood, and I pass it frequently, as it's placed on the side of a building quite close to my local coffee shop.

I photographed it this afternoon, and have only just now realized that it contains a text component.

Here's what's written on the lower left:
I believe that my life is worth saving because of the person I am today. 2003 Rose Dinkins

Lower right:
Free Rose Dinkins

Rose Dinkins, it seems, is one of the Lifers on Tile.

Due to the expression of the figure's eyes, I had always assumed it was a death memorial. Though I wasn't entirely right, perhaps I wasn't too far off the mark, either.

Update 1.15.07:

A helpful reader has provided me with details on the artist, Mary DeWitt, additional information on Rose Dinkins, and context for the Lifers on Tile.

Here are the links:



Thanks AR!

I tried to find more about the organization or Rose herself, but there was nothing using major search engines. Do you know anything about her?

So many ways to absorb this work...
Yeah, I've been stymied by the paucity of information related to the project, too. And I can find absolutely no information about Rose Dinkins. (For example, she doesn't appear in Appendix A of this law review essay, which provides a list of death sentences imposed upon women from 1973-2003.)

There's an extensive database of Philadelphia's murals/mosaics, but this one isn't included.

I'll keep looking and post any information I find.
Perhaps she is a construct?
I hadn't considered that, but it's surely a possibility. This mosaic just gets more and more interesting...
Assuming this is the same woman, which seems very likely, I can fill in some of Rose Dinkin's history. In 1972 she was robbing a department store in a Pittsburgh shopping center (East Hills Shopping Center, technically in Penn Hills) at gunpoint. An off-duty Penn Hills police officer thought she was a child and tried to talk to her, and she shot and killed him. A second officer made the same mistake, and was also shot and killed.

This was a tremendously hard blow to Penn Hills, and in fact East Hills Shopping Center quickly deteriorated and essentially closed within a few years. The area is just now - thirty years later - showing prospects of rehabilitation, albeit as a WalMart.

So, I don't know anything about Ms. Dinkins today, but her actions in 1972 are infamous in our community.

The murdered men were William Schrott and Bartley Connolly Jr. There's an on-line memorial at

Tim Meneely
Pittsburgh, PA USA
Tim is 100% correct, If it is the same Rose Dinkins. I wonder why someone would make a piece of art about a cold-blooded killer boo-hooing about being in prison. It's like she is being portrayed like she is Rosa Parks or someone similair from the civil rights era. I would have a severe problem with that hanging in my neighborhood unless there were darts stinking out of it!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?