Bridging Creative Communities

Art is bridging the gap between New York City and Kingston this March.

ArtBridge will be making its mark outside New York City for the first time with the upcoming Greenkill Avenue Bridge installation.

ArtBridge is a New York City-based organization, founded in 2008, that creates temporary public art exhibitions on construction scaffolding. ArtBridge’s installations feature the work of “emerging artists,” or artists who are not represented commercially at a gallery.

Raleigh Green, a friend and former colleague of ArtBridge founder Rodney Durso, said he came up with the idea for the project when he moved to Kingston from New York City a little more than a year ago.

“I noticed that Kingston as a city seemed fragmented, yet one of the characteristics of Kingston is the wealth of its artistic talent,” he said. “So I conceived the idea of using the bridge metaphor as a bridge between the artistic community and the wider city at large.”

Green, who works as a branding consultant, described the upcoming installation in terms of its potential to transform Kingston as a “brand.”

“In part, the impetus for doing this whole project was to see an area that has so much to offer, yet…in my business we would say Kingston and Hudson Valley is an under-promised community,” he said. “Its brand has so much to grow and offer. Artists are a natural resource that is being used. [Art] seems still underused by municipal governments.”

Director and Curator of ArtBridge Jordana Zeldin said supporting exposure opportunities for up and coming artists has become an integral part of the organization’s mission.

“We seem to have grown into an organization that really supports the development of emerging artists both in terms of exposure but also in terms of arming them with the tools they need,” she said.

A typical ArtBridge installation lasts about six months to a year, Green said. The artwork, submitted as photographs and .jpegs, is photographed by ArtBridge and printed on vinyl banners stretched over the construction-site canvas. When the installation has run its course, it is transformed into materials that benefit future projects, he said.

“Upon its completion…it will be carved up and made into tote bags which are then auctioned off to benefit the organization, future programs and a women’s shelter,” Green said.

Zeldin said the typical curatorial panel, including the one for the Greenkill Avenue Bridge, is chiefly made up of local “art professionals.” She said having a local curatorial panel is important in keeping with ArtBridge’s objective of fostering community.

“It’s really important that the work and the selection process feels really connected to the community in which installations are produced,” she said. “If we can connect everyday residents in Kingston to the arts, I think that’s a really important goal for us.”

The call for artists opened on Nov. 18 and will run until Dec. 30, when the curatorial panel will begin to review the submissions. Guidelines for submission are available on the ArtBridge website,