BETHLEHEM — In late 2016, a group of Bethlehem community members gathered, brought together by Town Board member Julie Sasso and the owners of Our Daily Eats, Paul and Caroline Barrett, to discuss bringing art to the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.
The Barretts had been inspired by the Philadelphia Mural Arts program while visiting the city and approached Sasso about a similar idea for the new Rail Trail.
Forming a volunteer committee known as Art on the Rail Trail (ART), the committee has spent the past eight months working to implement the public art project in Bethlehem. They have partnered with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, which leases and manages the trail between Slingerlands and Voorheesville, and received approval from the Town Board.
ART has identified several benefits of creating public art along the Rail Trail, including improving quality of life, beautifying the trail during all seasons and creating a sense of community ownership. The first proposed art installation will be a mural on the corner of Adams St. and Hudson Ave. in Delmar.
Members of ART have been reaching out to local businesses and residents to build sponsorships, community support and public awareness for the project. The committee is now looking to hire an artist to paint the mural,.
On Thursday, June 29, from 6 to 7 p.m., an open house will be held at 90 Adams Street for any interested applicants. ART says they are specifically interested in those who have experience in public art, mosaics, and murals, and are hoping to hire an artist who lives in the Capital Region in an effort to support local community members. More specifically, they would like to see proposals which incorporate the themes of connectivity and movement.
Applications are due by end of day on July 31, and must be submitted through The Arts Center of the Capital Region’s website. Applicants can also find application instructions by visiting the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s website or by visiting https://tinyurl.com/rail- trail-delmar.
Throughout the month of August, up to three finalists will be selected and a public presentation will be made. The committee is prioritizing transparency in the selection process, and will welcome community members who would like to voice opinions on the different proposals. By mid-October, the mural is expected be complete and there will be a mural unveiling ceremony.
To stay informed, follow ART on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (search for Art on Rail Trail). More information can also be found on the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s website: www.mohawkhudson.org.