Project: The Riverfront Trail
Client: Confluence Partnership
Location: St. Louis, MO
Selected Artists: Catharine Magel, Jackie Brookner
The public art along the Riverfront Trail is unique in that each project has been inspired by, created with and serves the community in which it is sited. Each project has demanded an intense collaboration with community members and Via has worked with the selected artists and Confluence Partnership to foster and support this process.
Via Partnership has been working with Confluence Partnership since 2000 to plan for and commission works of art for the Confluence Greenway in St. Louis, Missouri, a two-hundred square mile urban park and trail system being developed in the heart of the bi-state metropolitan region. Planning efforts have included community based workshops on the trail, the development of public art guidelines, and the creation of a Public Art Advisory Committee that provides guidance and support for new public art initiatives.
In September 2003, the first large-scale commission for Confluence was completed. Entitled Reflecting on a River, this magnificent ceramic mural covers the floodwall at the downtown trailhead of the St. Louis Riverfront Trail, one of the Greenway’s most prominent features. Via was hired to manage the installation of this 240’ ceramic tile mural. It was produced with the help of Americorps Trail Rangers, and more than 1,000 nearby residents. In 2006, two new works were completed. The Jones Tunnel project in Normandy, Missouri invited locally based and nationally recognized graffiti artist Justin Tolentino to work with students at McCluer High School to develop a mural which incorporated graffiti inspired images and found objects. At the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in north St. Louis, Via helped to secure a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to commission artist James Woodfill to install, Ultragate, a series of banners which wrap and are suspended from spans of the bridge to highlight its architecture.
Via developed and managed a multifaceted public art project for Confluence with artist Jackie Brookner. Brookner began the process of developing a design concept for a public space/environmental art project at the North Riverfront Park in St. Louis in the fall of 2009. As part of her design process, Brookner and Via developed and facilitated an intensive community engagement process and worked with a group of art and architecture students at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University and apprentices from St. Louis ArtWorks, an organization that provides employment in the arts for youth in the St. Louis metropolitan area. During the fall, Washington University students and ArtWorks apprentices were active participants in conceptualizing/designing the project with Brookner. They also held workshops with a broad community of stakeholders, including the Grace Hill AmeriCorps Trail Rangers, the National Park Service, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the St. Louis Development Corporation, the Confluence Greenway, Great Rivers Greenway and Grace Hill Settlement House. Via worked with Confluence to establish the collaboration with Washington University and ArtWorks, and helped to design the community outreach and workshops.