Residents of the City of Newburgh are invited to delegate and help in the selection process for future homes for artist designed bike racks during the Critical Mass Bike Ride on Saturday, October 1. The ride will begin at ADS Warehouse at 105 Ann Street at 10 a.m. A discussion will follow at noon.
This bike ride is sponsored by the Transportation Advisory Committee [TAC], the Orange County Arts Council [OCAC], the Newburgh Arts and Cultural Commission [NACC] and Rise and Ride Newburgh. The project, known as the Artist-Designed Bike Rack Project, involves the creation and design of six artist-designed bike rack sites at various locations in the city. The installation of these bike racks is anticipated to begin in the Spring of 2023.
Erica Forneret, NACC Co-Chair, and Naomi Miller, NACC Co-Chair, expressed excitement and anticipation for the upcoming ride as the project has been a longtime endeavor for the committee.
“This has been a long time coming. This is definitely the arts and cultural commission’s biggest project to date,” Forneret said. “It’s also been just really
exciting to get to work with so many other groups to kind of bring this bike rack tour to fruition. So to like, bring art to, literally to the streets like this, is
something that also just really excites me, because at the end of the day, art is for everyone.”
“I’m really excited to see who shows up and who shows interest and who we get to talk to and who gets to share their opinions,” Miller said. “Widening the circle from, you know, the internal conversations we’ve been having. Just having a much larger group of people talk about it is what I’m looking forward to.”
Funding for the bike racks project is coming from the NACC and from grants that were secured by Senator James Skoufis. These grants are coming from the New York State Council on the Arts [NYSCA] and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York [DASNY]. According to Miller, $50,000 came from DASNY, an additional $16,000 came again from Skoufis and $30,000 would be coming from the NACC budget, all going towards the project and other related expenses and funding.
In addition to the funding, an open call for artists has already been sent out by the committee for artists to submit designs for the racks.
Submitted designs must reflect the identity and diversity of the city.
The designs will be judged by a panel, and each selected artist will receive $5,000 to work with the NACC and OCAC and a fabricator.
The open call is for artists from as far south as New York City to up north in Albany. An info session will take place on October 11 at 6 p.m. via Zoom and design proposals are due November 15.
Forneret shared that hopefully two Newburgh artists will be selected to bring their designs to life for the bike racks. Forneret also clarified that she and Miller will not be part of the selection process.
Damian DePauw, Executive Director of IMPACT Inc, who established the Rise and Ride Bike Shop at ADS Warehouse, looks forward to the upcoming bike ride. DePauw, along with Marianne Marichal of the TAC, have been working on a route map that will be made available to the riders on Saturday. According to Marichal, members of the City of Newburgh Police Bike Task Force were also invited to participate in the ride as well, so she hopes to see some members on Saturday.
When considering bike infrastructure, DePauw also noted that there are no bike racks at city hall, the post office and other public and government buildings and hopes to see a change in that conversation. “If we’re talking about having a bike friendly city, and you know, improving bicycle infrastructure, that’s one of the easiest things you can do is install bike racks around the city that people can use if they’re out on their bike, and they’re using their bike to run errands or to get around the city,” DePauw said.
There will be follow up discussions after the ride and additional surveys for the racks and their designs along with information about the project can be found at newburghart.org/bikeracks.