It’s been 5 months since the announcement was made that we would be Bringing Fred Home on June 11, 2016.  In addition to the bronze statue and historical marker, we revealed we would be teaming up to bring a world-wide collaborative art project to the Latrobe Community in honor of Mister Rogers.

“The Puzzle Art Installation and Collaborative Project began 7 years ago as a collaborative project at a teen arts festival.  The project has a big name, but there is nothing small about it.  Anyone can participate.  “The Puzzle Project” has grown to more than 15,000 pieces world-wide and is based in Brooklyn, New York City.  Individuals, families, galleries, art groups, corporations, schools and communities have all participated.  It is an easy way to express yourself.  There are no rules to how you make your puzzle piece or what you make it about.  All we ask is that you make it meaningful to you.  Every piece is different, just like all of us,” said Tim Kelly.  

Creator and New York Artist, Tim Kelly came to Latrobe for a week long “Art is Good” Workshop in January.   He was able to create puzzle pieces with the whole Latrobe Community including the Greater Latrobe School District.  

“Mister Rogers taught us that it is OK to be different and that the differences are what make us unique.  The Puzzle Project contains thousands of unique puzzle pieces created by thousands of unique people.  Mister Rogers, The Latrobe Foundation, The Latrobe Art Center and the Puzzle Project are a natural fit.  From the moment Miss Gabi contacted me, I’ve been super impressed with the kind nature of everyone in Latrobe.  Every single person I met greeted me with a smile and a kind word.  The amazing art created in the week I was there was artsolutely inspiring.  I’ve read that Latrobe was a steel town and been told that Latrobe was a beer town…but if you ask me Latrobe is an art town,”  said Tim Kelly. 

On an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Fred explains that his mother knitted cardigan sweaters not only for him but for the people that she loved.  ‘This was one of the ways she showed her love for somebody.’ Fred explained.  Another 143 way to say “I love you.”  With every stitch that was made, there was love.  

“When I think of Fred, I automatically think of the Red Cardigan Sweater.  I often wondered why RED?  Well after being involved in this project,  the pieces are starting to fit together. . .it all makes sense. . .it’s a beautiful thing. . .we love the RED cardigan sweater because of the RED THREAD. . .    It is a perfect example of the Chinese Proverb ‘The Invisible Red Thread…”

The RED thread that Mrs. Rogers used to knit Fred’s cardigan sweater continues to stretch all over the world bringing people together…it stretches…it tangles…but it never breaks…just like Fred’s love for us.  The bond is unbreakable.

The same goes for the Puzzle Project.  It stretches all over the world and connects us in ways we never would have imagined.  There is a love and uniqueness with every piece that is created.  Mister Rogers continuously told us we have a purpose in this life, and because of the Puzzle Art Project we are able to tell our story, show the world what means the most to us, and honor and keep Mister Fred Rogers Mission ALIVE,”  explained Gabi Nastuck.

We hope you will join us for Opening Day on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 11:30am to 5:00pm.  Over 2,000 individuals, ages 3 to 93, make up this exhibit. 

“I’m heading back to Latrobe in June to assemble, exhibit and celebrate the thousands of Latrobe puzzle pieces and to honor the life and message of Mister Rogers.  I cannot wait to see everyone from Latrobe soon.  The exhibition will be inspiring and well worth the drive to see.  Hope to see you all of you in the neighborhood!” said Tim Kelly.

Thanks to the brilliantly, talented Julian Zeta Zee for putting this amazing video together for us.  Tim Kelly gave Julian all the information and he took off!

We cannot tell you how excited we are to share “Our Story of How the Puzzle Project Came to Latrobe!”

 “Our Story of How the Puzzle Project Came to Latrobe”

BlogSharon Reaves