The Bridge Pier Project

In the spring of 2011 I submitted a proposal at West Liberty University to teach an Honors Seminar on the subject of street art and graffiti. The idea for the class came about based on my photographs of NYC street art taken over the past 15 years. Along with my own images, there has been a huge amount of material written on the subject of street art, as well as several documentary films.

Anyone who doubts that street art is one of the most significant art movements of our century, need only walk through the streets of any major city and view the art that has been created on its walls. Ranging from photocopied scribbles to complex stenciled, hand-painted, or pasted pieces, the work is uncensored and in your face, ready to be loved, hated, critiqued, or ignored. Especially of interest to me is the influence of street art is having on museums, galleries, and contemporary art itself.

As part of the course, participating students were part of an urban painting experience. With support from the Wheeling Organization, Training, Revitalization and Capacity team, Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation, and the City of Wheeling, the Street Art Honors Seminar students and I were ready to paint the support piers under the Fort Henry/ I-70 Bridge. Our support people provided funding for the paint, but also secured the OK from the West Virginia Department of Highways, and the Federal Highways Administration. Wheeling city workers power-washed the concrete surfaces prior to painting.

Our subject for the west side piers is the Norwegian fairy tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff. Appropriate, I thought, since it deals with a troll who lives under a bridge, and has a reputation for eating anyone and anything that comes across “his bridge”. Then he meets three very smart Billy goats!

Thanks to everyone who made this first phase of the project possible: In addition to the agencies listed above, thanks to my Street Art Seminar students Niki Baker, Amanda Swan, Tricia Brown, Andrew Price, and Amanda Carney; to all around super human, supporter and team coordinator, Susan Hogan; to Greg Smith & ON-TRAC; to Dr. Peter Staffel, Chair of the Honors Program and who supported this wacky idea of mine; and to my wonderful wife, Chris, who supported my idea and also listened to my whining as I worked to put this class together this past winter. It was a great experience, and here is a slide show of our progress:

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3 Responses to “The Bridge Pier Project”

  1. November 3, 2012 at 3:07 am

    AWESOME! 3 billy goats is one of my fav storys!

  2. November 3, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for checking out our version of 3 Billy Goats Gruff!

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