Studio William Cochran - Catalytic Public Art for American Downtowns
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Community Bridge, Frederick Maryland      
 
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Community Bridge, Frederick Maryland -
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Community Bridge transformed a plain, concrete traffic bridge into a large-scale, catalytic work of public art that engaged thousands of people in its creation. Artist William Cochran and his assistants used permanent silicate paints on all six walls of the bridge to create a highly detailed illusionist painting. "Carved" symbols gathered from thousands of residents and participants from across the USA and 30 other countries appear throughout the artwork, interpreting commonalities and giving the bridge a collective voice.

Community Bridge has four major features that express common community ideas, culminating with
Archangel, a remarkable anamorphic projection. Community Bridge has been one of the city's highest rated attractions for the last two decades. It helped spark over $300 million in public and private development around it. The long-stalled Carroll Creek Park is now filled with public amenities, public art and art bridges along a once deserted, crime-ridden, concrete no man's land.

The project won the Core Values Award from the International Association of Public Participation. Its story has been the focus of many presentations in conferences and universities on the power of vision and public engagement. It been used extensively in educational materials for schools nationwide, in leadership and management training programs and by the US State Department in Iraq and and Kosovo as an example of creative community transformation.

"The concept of this initiative has been replicated by groups nationwide . . . Today the bridge has become a symbol for shared values all over the world [and has] been tremendously successful at uniting people, building a broad sense of ownership, creating synergies between sectors, redirecting public and private investments, and strengthening communities for change."  –– Nil S. Navie, Arts in Peace Building and Community Development

       

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