In the late 1970s, New York State Department of Transportation demolished nine blocks of a commercial property and hundreds of homes to build the Hoosick Street Bridge. Soaring over the Hudson River, the structure was built with landscaped areas, pocket parks, basketball courts, and an ice rink. Today, however, the space is mostly paved for parking. South of the bridge sits a historic Victorian downtown. To the North, one of the area’s most disinvested neighborhoods, where activists and community organizers work to foster a livable, walkable, and affordable community, free from the shadows of a dividing line.
A promised community connector is now a monument to division, though the work of local organizers hopes to bring the bridge’s original mission back into frame. Through The Uniting Line project, local artist Jade Warrick installed murals throughout the bridge’s surface area to transform and beautify the space. The City of Troy was selected as one of 16 cities nationwide to receive a $25,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative to implement the project, spearheaded by The Arts Center of the Capital Region, TAP Inc, the city of Troy, and Collar Works.
As a neighborhood works to shift divisions and narratives through community-driven art, WMHT was proud to cover this project in the documentary Bridging the Divide, featuring exclusive access to the art installation process.
WMHT created a variety of content across digital and broadcast platforms. Our digital work included events/panel chats, gathering community feedback, bonus video content, interviews and blog posts, infographics and Facebook group engagement. Our team created a special Instagram account just for the project, to discuss the issues and the project with a niche follower group. This page established WMHT as a key resource for ongoing updates and context around the project and mural painting. It showed our leadership in public media and engagement and brought more new viewers to WMHT as a whole.
For our community, Bridging the Divide served as a convener and community builder across both sides of the Hoosick Street Bridge. We built new partnerships, developed trust and shared stories from neighborhoods traditionally underserved by the media. The relationships and conversations developed through Bridging the Divide continue to impact our work. Since completing the documentary, artist Jade Warrick has become the host of our weekly arts series, AHA! A House for Arts.