It Makes My Bread Sweeter Billboards, Aliquippa, PA

9.4 x 21.3′ Image designed in computer, photomontage, output to silk-screen on paper mounted on two billboards in Aliquippa, PA, 1994.
Artists: Lisa Link and Carolyn P. Speranza , a collaborative team.
Project written about by Lucy R. Lippard in The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York: New Press, 1997. 

We created “It Makes My Bread Sweeter” for the festival “Community + Art = Adopting Aliquippa.” We conducted research on Aliquippa’s history and created an image to honor a local unsung hero – Mario Ezzo (d. 1939). Ezzo was an immigrant who voluntarily swept the streets of the town every day in gratitude for his government relief check. He was honored by the community with a funeral in 1939 that drew over 600 people and made the New York Times. We discovered, through much investigation, that his actual gravestone had been destroyed so we recreated one for him on this billboard. The words on the billboard are those that actually appeared on his gravestone. “It makes My Bread Sweeter” was Mario Ezzo’s explanation for why he volunteered to care for his town. In the Pittsburgh area, memorials often only honor and acknowledge the contributions of the very wealthy. We felt it important to focus on those of more modest means as well as to dispel stereotypes that equate poverty with laziness.

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