Here’s something good that came from the Government Shutdown of 2019. With a lot of time on my hands and some really good timing, Degibnio and I salvaged components from the Moller Organ Factory site. We arrived just as they were being pushed by skid-steer loader into a pile, to eventually be loaded into a dumpster. Together we loaded 26 keyboards and various other intricate parts that I can’t name. It filled the back of our flat bed truck.
Degibnio’s plan for Moller’s Sustained Wind doesn’t include any keyboards–the focus will be on the organ pipes. But when an assemblage artist finds a cache like this, they don’t walk away. Instead the ideas start boiling for more creations. So stay tuned for more posts on what he’s creating using these pieces. We’re hoping a large collage can be installed in the atrium of the organ factory’s new incarnation.
Back to the sculpture update: Degibnio recently submitted a formal proposal to install Moller’s Sustained Wind along Hagerstown’s Cultural Trail. The site has been chosen — it will be in front of the Mural of Unusual Size, provided they get permission from the adjacent housing complex.The city committee will be applying for a grant to fund the project and they’re confident they’ll receive it. We’ve also gotten a couple donation commitments from friends. We’ll also be holding a fundraiser party later this spring.
The sculpture will be a composed of a “forest” of metal organ pipes rising up out of two brick rubble piles. The brick pathway will meander between the piles. It represents the spirit of the arts that has been sustained in Hagerstown, despite loss of industry, population, and money. It’s an honor to the thousands of people who worked at Moller over the course of a century. Both the craftspeople — woodworkers, metal workers, tuners, designers, and draftsman — and the accountants, salesmen, office workers, and managers who kept the projects coming in. This company touched a lot of people in Washington County. This video from the 1980’s, The Sound of M.P. Moller, has some great video of people working there.
Now we need to find the organ pipes. Of course I’m searching eBay and have found several dealers. We haven’t made a purchase yet. But we need to soon. Many dealers don’t ship pipes because of their size. So when we finally buy some organ pipes, there’s probably going to be a road-trip involved. (Woo-hoo!!)