On March 25, 1911, a fatal fire broke out inside Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan, New York’s Greenwich Village. This industrial disaster caused 146 deaths as a result of the owners’ negligence. Of these 146 people, a majority were young immigrant women that were subjected to a harsh and unfair working environment. This event became a catalyst for workers’ rights movements. Consequently, numerous factory laws have since been passed to improve factory conditions and ensure worker safety.
For the 4th consecutive year, students at WHSAD are participating in the living memorial to the victims of the fire, ensuring their memories and story can continue to be kept alive. Though this year not all students were able to do this commemoration face-to-face, the WHSAD community still united to create pieces that memorialize the importance of the lives lost in this tragedy.
Artist Ruth Sergel creates pieces in commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire victims and frequently collaborates with WHSAD to teach students about the event.
Ruth educated WHSAD students through virtual means this year on the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, its significance, and its impact on our society today. On top of that, she discussed how artwork can be used to illustrate the significance of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and other social inequalities present today. During this talk, Ruth also presented Chalk, an artwork created in 2004 to honor the victims of the fire by writing their names on the pavement in front of their homes each year on March 25th. Several students from WHSAD have volunteered to be part of this project after having been so deeply inspired to preserve the memory of those lost in the fires.
To view the Ruth Sergel speaking event, click here.