A small halfpipe was installed Thursday night under the eastbound part of the Collar City Bridge, between River and North 1st streets.
“PUBLIC ART RAMP,” a sign on the halfpipe reads. “SKATE AT YOUR OWN RISK.” The sign also advertises the project’s Instagram account, @hoosickhalfpipe.
The Alt talked to two people involved in the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity. They also sent us their own Q&A, which we have posted below with a few minor edits.
Why did you do this?
We want to invite dialogue about public space, derelict space, and revive the conversation about the benefits of a skatepark in Troy.
There was an initiative in the past to create a skate park in Troy that faltered. It is one thing to talk about things and seek permission and find funding…this is a different tactic. If you are attuned to the skateboarding world on social media, you would be well aware of the concept of a ‘DIY’ skate spot—a place that has been built by and for the people who skate it. These places exist all over. I am sure there are some that exist under our noses and are simply kept secret. This one’s not a secret. Sanctioned skate parks are pretty commonplace too. Cohoes has one; Albany has one; many cities have skate parks; it’s not progressive; it’s normal.
To be clear, this is not a skate park; it’s just a small miniramp halfpipe. It was acquired [through] craigslist, but its installation is intended to symbolize the creative use of public space for art and recreation.
What are your hopes for this project?
We hope that the miniramp is decorated, painted, skated!, and cared for…but we expect that it might be vandalized or worse. We are emotionally prepared for this fate but would much rather imagine a happy ending in which the City might allow it to remain and even concede this derelict area to be reshaped into a small concrete skate park built by and for the skateboard community and its enthusiasts. We would also hope that anyone tearing it down would have the decency to attempt to contact us first.
Why ‘public art’?
A halfpipe might not be considered art and indeed we didn’t even build this one…it was acquired from craigslist. However its installation in a derelict public space is an act of ‘public art’.
The term has of course been around forever, but as Troy gentrifies, it has become a buzzword for the sanctioned beautification of the city. We want to reclaim public art as something that does not need to be funded and/or permitted. Good art makes you think, creates dialogue, and sometimes causes trouble.
[Editor’s note: a more formal, state-funded effort to promote public art in Troy, overseen by The Arts Center of the Capital Region, is also underway. Elizabeth Reiss, the organization’s CEO, told The Alt in an email that the final “Master Plan for Public Art in Troy” will be presented at the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District’s annual meeting on May 9th.]
Why the thin veil of anonymity?
Isn’t it a little more interesting? Haha.