Studio William Cochran - Catalytic Public Art for American Downtowns

The Shining Dark, Baltimore
Community Bridge, Frederick Maryland
Centennial Sculpture Park, Rochester, NY
The Merriweather Horns, Columbia Maryland
The Dreaming, Frederick Maryland
The Dream Pool, Frederick, Maryland
Two Roads, Silver Spring
Pillar of Fire, Washington
Torris, Alexandria, VA
Cornerstone, Rockville MD
Poets Walk, Rochester
Kardia, St. Louis MO
Desire Lines, Bethesda, MD
Oak Wisdom, Baltimore
A Handful of Keys, NY
The Lonesome Touch, Martinsburg, WV
Sky Loom
The Weaving Wall
Credits & Links
Guest Book

About William Cochran

William Cochran creates landmark public spaces and public artworks. These projects often engage the community in the creative process. They are carefully integrated into their social and architectural environments, yet retain a strong sense of the human hand. He has served on many design teams and often works closely with other design professionals.


For twenty-five years William and his partner and wife Teresa have been a close-knit team, working with a wide range of government, private, community-based and non-profit organizations to develop and implement these projects. This work often involves master planning and visioning processes for public art and placemaking. The studio facilitates public participation processes ranging from stakeholder design charettes to mass-scale processes to engage the public in the creative process.

Current and recent projects include:

  • A public art master plan for the Howard Hughes Corporation for the first areas of the new downtown of Columbia, Maryland

  • A public art & design conceptual master plan for Cumberland, Maryland's central business corridor
  • A public art master plan for the The Hagerstown Cultural Trail, as well as design work on certain ares of the trail, the design and implementation of public art and public participation processes and artist project management for a new cultural trail in Hagerstown, Maryland
  • The Shining Dark, a two-block long elevated dichroic glass sculpture for a rail station project and group of neighborhoods in West Baltimore.

  • Pillar of Fire, a structural stacked glass tower to honor health care workers in Washington DC.

  • Desire Lines, an outdoor installation of nine 16-foot-tall abstract paintings as part of a new development near Washington DC.

  • Torris, a freestanding sculpture in dichroic glass and salvaged iron rails for an urban plaza in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • Two Roads, an outdoor sculptural glass room and park honoring Rachel Carson in Silver Spring, Maryland; in collaboration with Oculus Landscape Architecture

Cochran is listed as a significant figure in contemporary public art in North America in its Timeline of Artists and Art (Responding to Art, Robert Bersson, McGraw-Hill, 2003). He was the lead designer and author of the public art master plan and grant application for the City of Rochester, New York that was awarded $250,000 – one of the top four grants in the nation – from the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative in 2010. The project was an urban art trail and sculpture park (the latter a partnership with the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery) that won several awards in urban design and public works. 

Cochran has received the Award for Excellence from the National Glass Association and the Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association and other design awards. William and Teresa Cochran won the Core Values Award from the International Association of Public Participation in 2000.

His public artworks in Frederick, Maryland, helped that city win the Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2005. His glass installation Kardia at the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis is part of the Delmar Boulevard revitalization effort, which won a “10 Great Streets in America” designation by The American Planning Association. He was the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek's first community recipient of a Paul Harris Fellow "for service above self." He was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from McDaniel College.

In 2011. Cochran completed a permanent glass sculpture for Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, a large memorial mural for a museum in Pennsylvania, and a civil rights mural for the city center of Rockville, Maryland. In Rochester, New York, William was senior artist and public art and public participation consultant for an urban art trail in the Neighborhood for the Arts and a sculpture park at the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. He worked with stakeholders on an overall vision, co-designed public art processes with his partner Teresa and engaged residents in a broad public participation process. In 2007-2008 he was design team artist for the conceptual master plan for the grounds of the University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. As a sub consultant to the City of Rochester from 2008-2012, he collaborated with landscape architect Mark Bayer on the transformation of the art gallery grounds into a truly public cultural space, Centennial Sculpture Park, including public plazas, artistic sidewalks and other elements.

The Cochran's well-known Community Bridge mural project transformed a plain concrete bridge in Frederick, Maryland, into a successful catalyst for revitalization and renewal. The meaning and message of the artwork was shaped by creative ideas from thousands of community members and participants around the world. It draws thousands of visitors annually and is the focus of ongoing educational tours. It helped leverage public and private development around it and appears in educational materials for schools.

William is a popular inspirational and educational speaker at universities and museums and has spoken at national and international educational and art conferences. After the first National Conference of Dialogue and Deliberation in Alexandria, Virginia, conference director Sandy Heierbacher said,

“Cochran’s keynote presentation about the awe-inspiring Community Bridge project had everyone spellbound. The moving, extraordinary story of the bridge helped us to see the possibilities for our work in a new light.”

Other Voices

"The masterful artwork of William Cochran and his associates provides an appreciative, strength based process that has led to remarkable results for communities . . . his work provides a vital link to the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their communities, and the world around them."
– Deborah S. Eibner, Dartmouth College

"A clear demonstration of public art at its best: the highest quality of art and a community completely engaged."
– Cindy Kelly, public art administrator

"Community Bridge represents everything that is valuable in a public art project. It is brilliantly conceived and artfully produced . . . one of the most outstanding public art projects of recent years."
-- Jeffrey York, Director of Public Art, North Carolina Arts Council

About Teresa Cochran

Public Art and Public Participation Planner/Consultant/Facilitator, Cochran Studio

Teresa Cochran is a public art consultant who works with city, public and private organizations on a daily basis. She manages the creation of large-scale, site-specific public artworks in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, site design and architectural art glass. Responsibilities include the design and implementation of large-scale community engagement processes, group and public meeting facilitation, educational outreach, administration, project management, writing and editing, and public speaking.

She is a trained specialist in public participation, and facilitates large participation processes that gather stakeholder and public input to shape the development strategies of public sites and site-specific artworks. She has served on numerous design teams, collaborating with government, community-based, corporate, and non-profit organizations on public art and public participation planning and implementation. 

Teresa has served as consultant and facilitator for several city public art programs and has developed and led many hands-on interactive workshops for urban spaces and public art master plans. She has devised several innovative large-scale community engagement initiatives.

She was public art consultant for a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) for the American Institute of Architects' Center for Community By Design, working with community decision-makers and stakeholders in a west coast city. The Center helps cities develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future.

Teresa won the Core Values Award from the International Association of Public Participation in 2000. She leads professional development processes for corporate training programs, including a Fortune 100 company. As chairman of the board of the Luce Fund for Children she supported the operations of an arts-based school and was instrumental to the success of the organization that built the first Platinum LEED-certified school building in the world near Myersville, Maryland. She directed a national arts-based educational conference in 2009 featuring Arnold April called Rethinking Education.

Teresa was co-founder and founding executive director of Shared Vision: Public Art for Community Transformation and its director of public participation. Shared Vision's inaugural project, Community Bridge (1998), is recognized as an early exemplar of mass-scale public participation and arts-based revitalization and has helped catalyze more than $300 million in public and private development around it.


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