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Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Story of Community Bridge

 
 
The Story of Community Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 11, 2019
1. The Story of Community Bridge Marker
Inscription.  In early 1993, artist William M. Cochran suggested to the City of Frederick that the Carroll Street Bridge, a plain concrete structure, could be transformed with paint, imagination and public participation into a work of art.

His goal was to make Community Bridge a creative collaboration between audience and artist in a process he called co-creation. He sought to ask all 175,000 area residence, "What object represents the spirit of community to you?" A hundred volunteers repeated this question through the public and private schools, TV, radio, and newspapers, posters, electronic highway signs, sidewalk chalk murals, and countless face-to-face contacts. Thousands of answers were contributed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Later, ideas arrived from all over the world via the Community Bridge world wide web site (http://bridgeskyline.net).

As people answered this question, the artist included their ideas as painted "carvings" in the bridge. These are the keys to the artwork's meaning, representing the ideas of more than a thousand individuals. In most cases the viewer cannot tell who suggested a given symbol,
Community Bridge Symbols and Features image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 11, 2019
2. Community Bridge Symbols and Features
whether they were young or old, male or female, black or white, rich or poor. Together these ideas yield a new perspective on the human condition.

A Shift in Perspective
The unusual painting in the circle to your right on the bridge is called Archangel. It is an anamorphic projection, a special type of artist's perspective made to be seen from a sharp angle. If the image is viewed from the correct spot (within the gallery window of the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center), it is transformed (see photo to left). This image represents the shift in perspective the bridge invites: to see through illusions of difference and separation. The title Archangel refers to the tremendous power of such a shift.

Fooled by Appearances
Community Bridge is painted in the trompe l'oiel style, which is a French term meaning "that which fools the eye." Trompe l'oiel creates the illusion of 3 dimensional reality on a flat surface. The artist said, "How easily paint can fool the eye is a metaphor for how easily we are deceived by surface differences in people, like attitude, looks, age, race, or language. These lock us into stereotypes of who we should connect with. We all want to be connected with others, but sometimes we feel we are the only ones really trying. Community Bridge shows that everyone values connection. This is the common
Community Bridge: A Work by William M. Cochran in creative collaboration with the community image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 11, 2019
3. Community Bridge: A Work by William M. Cochran in creative collaboration with the community
ground beneath the apparent differences. We always have a choice to find a bridge, build a bridge, walk across a bridge."

Bridge Facts

The mural covers about 3,000 square feet with more than 3,000 stones and more than 180 "carved" symbols representing the perspectives of a thousand different people.
Work began in early 1993 and the mural was completed on September 12, 1998.
Keim silicate paint from Germany was used. Unlike the paints traditionally available in the USA, Keim chemically bonds with the concrete surface and remains light-fast for decades.

 
Erected by The Rotary Club of Carroll Creek.
 
Location. Marker has been reported damaged. 39° 24.754′ N, 77° 24.466′ W. Marker is in Frederick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker can be reached from South Carroll Street north of East All Saints Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 40 South Carroll Street, Frederick MD 21701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. The Stinky Stuff (within shouting distance of this marker); Tanneries (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Freight Depot (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Hill Church (within
The Story of Community Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, August 11, 2019
4. The Story of Community Bridge Marker
shouting distance of this marker); The Original C. Burr Artz Library (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Civil War Hospital Center (about 400 feet away); Diehl Memorial Fountain (about 400 feet away); The National Road (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Frederick.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicBridges & Viaducts
 

More. Search the internet for The Story of Community Bridge.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 12, 2019. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 12, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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