SLINGERLANDS – The mural on the Cherry Avenue bridge is located on the columns underneath the bridge.
Last February, professor and artist Fernando Orellana was approached with the offer to create artwork to replace the previous installation painted by John DeMarco. The previous mural had suffered from years of weather and bridge construction.
Inspiration for the mural’s design came after Orellana’s recent visit to Europe. “In Europe my style loosened up a little bit, probably influenced by the street art I was seeing all around me,” he said.
Visitors of the mural will see a variety of shapes, colors and designs intended for both children and adults to enjoy. Orellana purposefully explored a maximalist style for this mural. “As I was drawing it, I was thinking, this is crazy, it’s going to take me forever!” he laughed.
“But as I was painting, I noticed people kept coming by. They might stop for a minute and see something and the next time see something different,” he said. “I just thought it was worth it to push myself to paint something that’s really complicated so that people can experience it in lots of different ways over the course of many visits. Maybe get a laugh from it! Maybe get inspired to go and draw.”
Most of all, Orellana says it’s a “celebration of joy and happiness”. “We live in such trying, tough times, I hope that as you drive by or to stand and look at it, you sort of leave yourself for a while and get to be a little happy and playful,” he said. “We created a safe space, a sanctuary.”
The efforts of the volunteers to complete the new mural were deeply appreciated.
“We’ve been really fortunate that we’ve had so many volunteers come and just want to paint,” said Orellana. “I met such interesting, fun people.”
“I feel like it’s going to draw more people to the trail, just word of mouth, to come look at it,” said member of the ART on the Rail Trail committee, Amy Griffin.
The mural is one part of a three-pronged project that included the unveiling of a miniature art gallery called MiniMoCa518 during a Chalk the Walk festival last week.
“I think I speak for all of us on the committee,” said Paul Barrett, “that it brings us all great joy to see these projects completed.”