pennsylvania art


Centralia, Pennsylvania
Population: 10

“Analysts disagree about the specific cause of the Centralia fire. Writer David Dekok concluded that it started incident to cleanup of the town landfill. In May 1962, the Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip-mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery just outside the borough limits. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years when the landfill was in a different location.

On May 27, 1962, the firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire and let it burn for some time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not fully extinguished. An unsealed opening in the pit allowed the fire to enter the labyrinth of abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia.  According to a legend, the Bast Colliery coal fire of 1932 was never fully extinguished. In 1962, it reached the landfill area.

Few homes remain standing in Centralia. Most of the abandoned buildings have been demolished by the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority or reclaimed by nature. At a casual glance, the area now appears to be a field with many paved streets running through it. Some areas are being filled with new-growth forest. The remaining church in the borough, St. Mary’s, holds weekly services on Sunday. It has not yet been directly affected by the fire. The town’s four cemeteries—including one on the hilltop that has smoke rising around and out of it—are maintained in good condition.”

The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 9, 1879

During the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras it was considered a very big slight if a recognized artist’s paintings were “skied” (placed above the line of vision) or “floored” (placed below the line of vision) in a gallery exhibit. While usually there was a practical reason for skying a painting, it was also a common way for the committee to show favoritism. 

One man, in 1910, who had seen his painting placed in a favorable spot and was content, returned the next day - varnishing day - and found it skyed in another room. He left in a huff and came back with a fishing pole and attempted to knock the painting down and destroy it. When security kicked him out, he came back in disguise and shot the painting four times. 

Here are a couple illustrations showing what flooring and skying looked like:

Flooring could be much worse if the room or the painting were smaller, with people having to bend and crane to view. Here’s a modern example of “floored” paintings:


I adored diving into George Romero’s work again to create this aerial view of ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ So sad to see him go, what a cinematic legend. A special thanks to Tyler in PA, the incredible Romero fan who commissioned this work. There’s no one else I’d rather passionately obsess over zombie details with!