Press Releases

Purchase Students Create Public Art for Village of Port Chester

Date Released: 12/21/2010

As part of the "Public Art: Making a Proposal" course, Purchase students will transform a railroad bridge in Port Chester into a lively gateway for the town. Click for details.

Plans are progressing for the design of artwork to be mounted on the railroad bridge over Westchester Avenue, a prominent entrance to the town’s center through a collaboration with the Village of Port Chester, Mayor Dennis Pilla, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


Students in a class taught by Professor Donna Dennis have been studying the site and are submitting designs for review by the faculty, staff and the Neuberger Museum of Art. Later this Spring the designs will displayed and a final selection will be made with input from the Mayor’s Office, the public., and Purchase faculty and staff. The selected works will be fabricated and exhibited for a year.


The plan is for students to come up with competing designs and work with the community to create an annual art project there. Mayor Pilla is pleased to be working with Purchase and its esteemed art program and he is encouraging other art projects to make the town more inviting.


A $55,000 state grant will pay for lighting and fixtures that will mount the artwork to the railroad bridge sometime in the next year.  “We thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight students’ work as well as highlight the process of how public art works,” said Professor Ravi Rajan, director of the School of the Arts, School of Art + Design at Purchase.


Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla hopes to attract more interest and funding for downtown art projects through this program.  The grant came from the State Dormitory Authority with support from State Senator Suzi Oppenheimmer, D-Mamaroneck.


Through the Public Art course, 16 graduate and undergraduate students will learn about the process of public art by visiting the site and similar ones, including New York City subways and Metro-North stops.  According to Professor Dennis, students will develop models and written proposals that discuss the project’s relevance to the residents of Port Chester. 


“With an active, diverse body of residents, the village is positioned to be a leader in the area and even in the country, as a small town supporting active cultural dialogue,” Rajan said.