Public art, litter and the Nassau bridge

Graffiti under the Nassau overpass

I enjoy public art and even graffiti when it doesn’t deface private property. Art therapists and social scientists would probably be able to tell me a lot about the artists who have been at work under the railroad overpass at Nassau.  I discovered their work while walking Thursday afternoon.  Obviously there have been some very busy artists.  Their work is colorful, bold and graphic in the usual graffiti style and I give the artists credit for choosing canvases primarily out of public view to practice their work.  What I do object to is the endless amount of trash and litter left beneath the overpass and all around the railroad tracks. Art is marked by beauty.  Trash is nasty. Soda bottles, beer bottles, plastic cigar tubes, spent cans of spray paint, candy wrappers.  It’s a mess.  It wouldn’t take much for a group of artists to take a break from their art and clean up the mess that continues to accumulate under the bridge.  Some day the tracks passing beneath Route 1 will be part of a rail trail leading from Lewes to Georgetown and bicyclists and walkers will help patrol for trash.  In the mean time the artists should do something else to make the world a more beautiful place by cleaning up the mess around their gallery.

Trash litters the hardscape beneath the Nassau overpass.

Delaware partisanship growing

Press releases that come into the Cape Gazette office often give clues to the political landscape. Usually when releases come in related to federal projects in Delaware, the entire federal delegation is usually included – our two U.S. senators and one U.S. Congressman.  Below is an exception that we’re liable to see more of.  It includes reference to our two senators but no reference to Congressman Mike Castle.  Castle has taken some heat lately for taking credit for stimulus-funded projects in Delaware eventhough he voted against the stimulus package when it was acted on in Washington. This time he was left out altogether.  Here’s the release, sent out from Sen. Ted Kaufman’s office:

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware officials commended the Department of Transportation (DelDOT) today for putting nearly $122 million in Recovery Act funds to work. DelDOT met the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) obligation deadline of March 2 and has funded 32 projects – 27 of which are currently underway.

“This is exactly what the Recovery Act was intended to do: fund vital projects and put people back to work,” said U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). “From paving roads to installing sidewalks to mitigating congestion on I-95, the Recovery Act has created jobs in Delaware. DelDOT has picked a great range and variety of projects that will enhance our infrastructure and maintain motorist and pedestrian safety.”

“The road to economic recovery includes getting people to work improving our roads,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We have been diligent but thoughtful about using the assistance offered by the federal government. We are investing in getting people to work now on infrastructure improvements whose benefits we will see for years.”

DelDOT has completed 12 projects and seven are expected to start in the next four to eight weeks. As of today, 97 percent of the projects that have been bid were below the engineer’s estimate – meaning that Delaware’s projects’ value outweighs the actual costs. DelDOT projects have created and-or retained more than 400 jobs as of Dec. 31, 2009.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding has helped spur investment in projects which would have taken much longer to fund, if at all, under the current economic conditions,” said DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks. “DelDOT’s intention was to be thoughtful about where the investments should be made and provide long-term impacts to transportation projects and economic development.”

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3 Responses to “Public art, litter and the Nassau bridge”

  1. Kim Klabe Says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I have to disagree on your opinion of the graffitti. I know there are people who consider this to be “art” and some artists who have made a living from graffiti. I can consider it to be art when it’s not defacing common areas and done under the cover of darkness to avoid prosecution. There are other ways to express yourself through art – these “artists” could take their talent to canvas or reach out to communities who may enjoy having a mural that would reflect their history.

    In my opinion, the bridge looks “trashy” as does all the litter below it. There is graffiti on the bike trail benches, state signs and on the back of cinder block building on the wall to the trail from the car wash entrance. It makes a beautiful thing for our community look like no one cares. I am all for kids getting into art, being an artist and also being the Education Director at the Art League, but wish these kids could find another outlet. It kind of upsets me to read this article – for fear that kids will find these to be a green light to continue to deface public places.

    Sincerely,

    Kim Klabe

    • Dennis Forney Says:

      Kim – You make excellent points none of which I disagree with. It makes me wonder whether we should have a community graffiti wall where artists who work in this medium could do ever-changing works of art for public consumption. When I was in college, there was a big rock in the middle of the green where different groups would paint notices of upcoming events or where individuals would express outrage, beauty, abstractions or whatever. Their work would last until another group or individual came along to create another work of art.

  2. L-Tyrosine : Says:

    when car washing, i just use a high pressure cleaner and my own hands to clean off those hardened dirt,~:

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