Hudson Valley town tries to beautify railways through art competition

Jenna Flanagan
March 18, 2014

New York’s freight rail lines pass through many towns and communities in New York. They’re often viewed as semi-functional and unsightly infrastructure that communities just have to live with. The mid-Hudson City of Kingston is taking a novel approach and transforming one of its railway overpasses into an art project.

Anyone traveling east to west on Kingston’s Broadway may notice two murals hanging on either side of the railway overpass.

“There’s a definite desire to support the arts this is a very public way to do it. It does as we’ve discussed beautify the area. It takes an eyesore and turns it into an attractive artistic inflection point.”

Raleigh Green is the organizer for Kingston’s Art Bridge project. It provides a noticeable, high traffic viewing space for emerging new artists. The project, he says, has taken off in New York and when he moved to Kingston, he brought it with him.

This is the second year of the Art Bridge and it’s gaining in popularity, with a steady trickle of artists moving upstate for cheaper space to live and work.

“We invite local artists in the Kingston, metropolitan mid-Hudson region.”

A panel of four local artists serve as judges and whittle 130 entries down to 2 winners to hang on either side of the railway. This round they’re a panoramic view of the Ashokan reservoir on east Broadway and the four lighthouses of the mid-Hudson on west Broadway.

Once the final pieces are chosen they’re customized for the outdoor display.

“Those pieces are then photographed in a super high resolution and then blown up as you see them now to be 90 feet long by nine feet high on a digital mesh and then installed.”

The Art Bridge project installation hangs over the Broadway overpass from the weekend of Kingston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade through to Labor Day and then, as Green explains, the artwork goes through another metamorphosis.

“They will be carved up and made into tote bags by a women’s homeless shelter in New York City and auctioned off with proceeds going to the women’s homeless shelter and future Art Bridge Projects.”

Kingston’s Art Bridge project is supported by local businesses and the city.