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Troy, NY

Bridging divided neighborhoods through art

The Project

In Troy, New York, a raised highway cuts through the city, creating a 500-foot-long stretch of road underneath it that is surrounded by vast areas of blank concrete and monumental stanchions. A remnant of urban renewal efforts from the middle of last century, these cavernous spaces have functioned as a major physical, psychological, and ultimately socioeconomic barrier dividing the thriving downtown from lower-income residential areas to the north.

The “Uniting Line” project, a partnership between the City of Troy and the Arts Center of the Capital Region, has transformed the 500-foot stretch of concrete abutments below the bridge into a welcoming pedestrian space that encourages movement between neighborhoods. Through discussion panels and hundreds of community votes, Jade Warrick, a local artist, was selected to design the installation, which was installed by professional contractors and community volunteers over the course of several weeks. Warrick’s large-scale murals on 32 bridge piers unify the area visually and act as a colorful backdrop for activities that take place at the adjacent basketball courts, waterfront, and other open spaces. The art also makes clear that this is space designed for people, and not cars. Future phases of the project will install lighting and other improvements to further activate the area.

“Art in public spaces can make a powerful narrative device, which I wanted to explore with my mural design. I created my design to guide the viewer through this story wrapped in nature that has you uncover the gems Troy has planted throughout.” 

Jade Warrick, Artist

Use the slider to see the transformation

Before
After

Neighborhoods

Downtown Troy

North Central Troy

Number of Bridge Piers

32

Installation Dates

October 2-16, 2021

Lead Partners

City of Troy

The Arts Center of the Capital Region

TAP, Inc.

Collar Works

Lead Artist

Jade Warrick

Materials

Home Depot Marquee Exterior Acrylic Paint

Square Footage of Artwork

28,524

Cost

Design: $21,500

Labor: $130,737 (including undercoat by contractors)

Supplies: $15,044

Links

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Best Practice Highlight: Open Call for Artists

The Arts Center issued an open call, informed by community surveys, that invited regional artists from Troy and its surrounding counties to apply to design the murals for the “Uniting Line” project. Artists could apply only to design the mural or also to oversee the mural installation process; this flexibility allowed for artists without experience implementing large-scale public art projects to be considered alongside veteran public artists. Three finalist artists were chosen by a jury of administrators and community members, and were commissioned to develop designs, which were then shared with the community for feedback. The winning artist, Jade Warrick, had applied only to design the murals, so the Arts Center hired a project manager and a team of 15 mural artists and three apprentices to oversee the implementation and facilitate the community volunteer involvement.


For inspiration and tips for the creation of art on roadways and public places, download the Bloomberg Associates Asphalt Art Guide which features successful plaza and roadway art activations around the world, as well as key steps for developing such projects.

Asphalt Art Guide