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Vintondale & Coal Country
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New: "Art That Works": AMD&ART featured in DemocraticVistasProfiles: essays in the arts & democracy.

Welcome to the AMD&ART Project in Vintondale, Pennsylvania

AMD&ART, The Project: 1994–2005

Southwestern Pennsylvania, indeed the entire Appalachian Region, is an area of remarkable beauty. Unfortunately, residents and visitors alike can often miss this natural beauty, blinded by the devastated environments, crippled economies and abandoned peoples that are the overshadowing regional legacy of pre-regulatory coal mining. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is the most widespread water quality problem, as well as a significant economic and social constraint. Seeping or surging from abandoned coal mines, AMD is the metals-laden water, often acidic, that coats stream beds with orange sediment, killing the bottom of the food chain. Often desolating entire watersheds, these rust colored streams are the consequence of a proud past filled with hard work and dedication in an era that paid little attention to environmental consequences. Today, AMD is a painful reminder of the poverty and economic abandonment that still exists in coal country, the emblematic orange silent signature of dying communities.

The AMD&ART Park in Vintondale, Pennsylvania
The AMD&ART Park in Vintondale, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: AMD&ART Photo Archive

AMD&ART is one effort to confront this legacy in a way that honors a past of hard work and significant accomplishment while opening windows to broader participation and deeper engagement. We worked with many disciplines to destabilize the typical negative expectations of this region with a large-scale, artful public place that directly addresses the problems of AMD and much more. Beginning our work in Vintondale, Pennsylvania, in 1994, we've established a model of holistic renewal that brings the perspective of history to mix with the discipline of science, the delight of innovative design, and the energy of community engagement. For me as Founding Director, each of these perspectives or disciplines is necessary — but none is sufficient. Our strength is in our interdisciplinary approach and in our determination to give art-full form to community aspirations.

— T. Allan Comp, Ph.D., Founder/Director

AMD&ART is the recipient of the following awards:

All Rights Reserved • AMD&ART 2003 – 2007 • Email: info1994to2005@verizon.net