At a time when New York City is witnessing an impressive surge in new construction projects and a staggering 192 miles of current street-level construction scaffolding, ArtBridge's mission to transform scaffolding into public art is as important and as exciting as ever. New York City's new construction initiatives reached a total of $22.2 billion in only the first half of 2015, compared with just $26.2 billion for all of 2014. Many feel that such ubiquitous construction eats away at the fabric of our neighborhoods. In fact, ArtBridge calculates that the current sheer amount of construction scaffolding would be enough to wrap the perimeter of NYC not once, but SIX times!
ArtBridge was founded in 2008 by graphic designer and artist Rodney Durso, who believed that New York’s scaffolding could be turned into a canvas for art, enlivening the City while promoting local, emerging artists. Since then, ArtBridge has transformed these eyesores into just that. Their exhibitions have resulted in incredible exposure for early-career artists, while artfully reinvigorating the urban landscape. Although focusing primarily on New York City, ArtBridge has also installed exhibits as far north as the Hudson Valley, and as far east as Italy.
ArtBridge has recently announced plans to target scaffolding in lower-income neighborhoods, empowering local artists to be community builders. Through a new fund called Radial Art, they plan to activate the arts in underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City. This fund will initially target Brownsville, the South Bronx, East New York, Far Rockaway, and East Harlem, and will especially focus efforts on NYCHA buildings, which are surrounded by an alarming 41 miles of construction scaffolding in New York City today. Radial Art will source talented local artists, helping them install large-scale public exhibitions within their communities. Throughout the duration of theses exhibitions, ArtBridge will produce activities centered around the installed art—from walking tours and neighborhood celebrations to after-school arts instruction for local youth.
To learn more about ArtBridge's current initiatives and how you can help, visit art-bridge.org