Penn State Wilkes-Barre librarians create a hanging solution for the Friedman Art Gallery

By: Megan Mac Gregor

On a quiet Monday afternoon Jonathan Pineno, director of the Friedman Art Gallery went to the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Library to borrow a gallery key from the library staff. Outreach and  Engagement Librarian, Megan Mac Gregor went down with him to open the door. When they entered the gallery, Pineno was disappointed to discover that almost all of the canvases for the Penn State student art display had fallen off the hanging rods. Using the limited available art gallery resources, Jonathan explained that attaching Velcro to the paintings was one of the last efforts to secure the canvases to the existing gallery hanging system. By the time Megan returned to the library, she devised a possible hanging solution.

The Nesbitt Library at Penn State Wilkes-Barre has had 3D printers for the last four years. The printers are open to everyone on the campus to use, and the librarians have basic design skills to help students who would like to try it. “We encourage students, faculty, and staff to  experiment with printers,” says Megan, “We want them to see the printers as just another tool in their box of tricks they can draw on to solve problems, and the best way to do that is for them to mess around with them.”

3D hangers Megan introduced her possible hanging solution to John Owens, Information Resources Support Specialist at the library, and “go to guy” for the 3D printing. He mocked up her idea in
Tinkercad, an easy to use, free design tool for creating 3D printed objects. “John has extensive experience using Tinkercad and designing projects with specific measurements,” said Megan.
Using measurements from the canvas frames and the hangers that were available in the gallery, John created a 3D printed attachment that clips onto the old hangers and supports the
student canvases. After creating several printed prototypes, he had a working design, so they mass printed a batch on the MakerBot Replicator+. “Pineno was not scheduled to be on
campus the next day so we left two of them in the Gallery with a sign to surprise him,” said Megan.

When Jonathan arrived on campus and opened the Friedman Art Gallery, he literally shouted with joy to see the simple, effective, durable, hanging solution created by the library staff. The 3D printed hangers are easy to reproduce and will provide years of hanging support for the multiple sizes of canvas frames that will be displayed in the Friedman Art Gallery.


The Friedman Art Gallery features five to six annual exhibits of student, faculty, staff and community artworks. The gallery is located on the lower level of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Nesbitt Academic Commons building and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For further information about the exhibits, contact Jonathan Pineno or call 570-675-9159.