DELMAR — Art on the Rail Trail (ART), a committee of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, has chosen the finalist for the first piece of public art that will be created for the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.
The process of choosing one artist to paint the trail’s first mural spanned months of fundraising and garnering public support, and involved a lengthy selection process. Seventeen artists submitted work, from which three finalists were chosen.
Each of the finalists gave a public presentation at Bethlehem Town Hall on Thursday, Sept. 7, and Andrea Hersh, a Bethlehem resident and artist, was ultimately chosen to paint the mural at the corner of Adams Street and Hudson Avenue in Delmar. According to ART, the mural will be created to enrich the lives of visitors to the Rail Trail.
Hersh was selected over the other two finalists: Mike Conlin, a commercial artist who has painted a number of local murals, such as the bluebirds that can be seen on the side of the Quackenbush Parking Garage in downtown Albany; and Dan Mehlman, a multi-media artist and Bethlehem resident who has been involved with the ART effort. Paying homage to the history of the trail and region, both artists submitted artwork depicting a locomotive.
“The mural site is the most travelled part of the trail,” said Hersh. “With this in mind, I decided to create a landscape.”
Describing her work and the plans for the mural, she said, “My work is based on imagined worlds with part human and part plant figures. The scale of the mural will allow the viewer to imagine walking directly into the landscape. The yellow, greens, and blues will blend into the actual landscape in the summer months and then the painting will burst with color when we so desperately need some in the winter months.”
Hersh has an undergraduate degree in printmaking and painting from Skidmore College and an MFA in painting from the University at Albany. Her work has been shown throughout New York state and across the country. She is a longtime resident of Bethlehem.
Work on the mural is expected to start soon.