Features NY Life — 13 January 2011
ArtBridge: Connecting the Public to the Arts

Like it or not, construction is a big part of city life- be it the jackhammer pounding all hours of the night on a certain 2nd Avenue subway line or the huge, and sometimes dangerous cranes perched atop some 35 story high rise.  As New Yorkers, we’ve become used to the constant commotion of improving the city and the extensive scaffolding used to camouflage some formerly picturesque sights.  Enter the team behind ArtBridge- formed in 2008 with the intention of making the scaffolding (gulp) aesthetically pleasing.  And after a trip into Chelsea one afternoon, we found ourselves wanting more.

The London Terrace Gardens building plays host to this year’s collaboration, in a public outdoor exhibit titled “In Plain Site.”   The display features the work of 25 contemporary artists on 1,840 square feet of scaffolding that runs down half of West 23rd Street between 9th & 10th Avenue.  ArtBridge utilizes these large scale works on massive vinyl canvases and places them on the scaffold’s exterior display effectively bring the art away from the gallery and directly to us.  They completely beautify the area and draw our attention rather than shield us from the typically unsightly construction sights.

Perhaps best of all however, is that it’s free.  So if you find yourself near Chelsea and you’ve grown tired of looking at the same old drab scaffolding, take an extra 10 minutes and take a walk through ArtBridge.  It could be a progressive sign of things to come and brings the local and emerging arts community one step closer to the public consciousness.

“ArtBridge 2010: In Plain Site” will be on display for much of the year, so there’s still plenty of time to take a walk down the scenic street and catch this striking display for yourself.  And hey, bring someone along for the walk- they’ll think you’re a heck of a lot more cultured than you really are.

For more information on the staff behind ArtBridge and the display itself, check out http://art-bridge.org.

-  Jane Van Arsdale

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