Art as a Bridge

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Art as a Bridge
I-87/Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA. Paint, acrylic, LEDs, steel, sensors, control, cell phone interface

The project “Senses YOU” via overhead motion sensors to trigger localized sequences. The artwork brings much-needed illumination and activation to an area where pedestrian activity was previously eschewed, serving to reconnect two important parts of the downtown – a long-desired improvement by the community.

Underpasses tend to feel a bit sketchy as dark and forgotten spaces where garbage coming from above seems to congregate with unhoused folk seeking refuge. Many people feel, at best, unsettled and, at worst, truly rattled as they pass through. Maybe it’s the ‘Troll under the Bridge’ imagery from folktales or a touch of nyctophobia (fear of the dark). Nevertheless, these artists and city planners have worked to transform these spaces into welcoming and even magical spaces.

Photo by Sam Kittner

‘Rain’ is part of DC’s first Underpass Art Park. It comprises approximately 4,000 LED-illuminated polycarbonate rods and pulses in response to vehicular traffic. (Washingtonian)

We walkers have all been spooked by a creepy underpass. What (or who?) lurks in the shadows? Art has banished that ominous feeling of dread on the San Antonio Riverwalk. The undercrofts of our bridges are beautiful and safe. Let’s start with the FISH, Philadelphia artist Donald Lipski’s school of giant fish swimming through the sky beneath the I-35 interstate overpass at Camden Street. Twenty-five seven-foot-long creatures of hand-painted fiberglass resin are anatomically correct models of long-eared sunfish native to the river. Lit from within at night, the glowing fish are a beacon from blocks away, adding color and humor to a once-neglected downtown area. (texastrailroundup)

Photo by Kevin Lavery
1 of 4 murals on embankments beneath US 127 at Michigan Avenue where Lansing and East Lansing meet (WKAR)

Whitfield is working to capture the history and culture of Lansing and East Lansing through his work. While working on this project, he received many positive affirmations from drivers honking and giving him the thumbs up! (WKAR interview)

The shaggy troll, …


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