Trenton was awarded $25,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the “Stepping into Tomorrow” art project set to be completed in front of the Trenton Transit Center in June 2021.
Trenton was one of 16 cities – out of 210 applicants nationwide – to be selected to participate in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative, which is a grant program designed to fund visual art interventions on roadways, pedestrian spaces, and public infrastructure in small and medium-sized U.S. cities. The program assists cities looking to use art to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and engage their communities.
The Trenton Transit Center is one of the busiest train stations in the northeast, with approximately 450,000 riders annually. Stepping into Tomorrow is part of a larger public art project currently underway in partnership with the City of Trenton, Artworks Trenton, and the State of New Jersey.
“We are grateful for this funding, which will undoubtedly make the gateway into Trenton more attractive for residents and visitors of the city,” said Mayor Gusciora. “With so many people using the Trenton Transit Center daily, we want an environment that would showcase our vibrant arts community, improve safety, and encourage more public transportation to the Capital City.”
The overall goal of the project is to improve resident, commuter, and visitor safety as well as promote more individuals walking and biking to their selected destinations instead of driving. Trenton was awarded $25,000 in grant funding to finance the first section of this project, starting in 2021.
“Streets and public spaces are unique to their cities, but urban leaders and residents all share an interest in making them safer, more beautiful, and accessible,” said Kate D. Levin, Principal, Cultural Assets Management at Bloomberg Associates. “We hope that the Asphalt Art Initiative will provide inspiration and equip city agencies, community groups, and artists with the guidance needed to champion projects that deliver on these objectives, breathing new life into neighborhoods, and urban infrastructure.”
“Public art is about beautifying the streetscape, but it’s also about improving community health and wellbeing,” said Artworks Executive Director Lauren Otis. “This project will not only beautify this busy intersection, but it will improve pedestrian safety there and encourage the use of public transit in Trenton. We thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for sharing our vision of public art improving our city and for generously supporting the ‘Stepping into Tomorrow’ project with an Asphalt Art Grant.”
This project will be located at the South Clinton and Barlow Street intersection because it is heavily trafficked and considered to be the gateway into the city. The project is intended to be a permanent fixture of the transit area, and once complete, will only require minimal maintenance by the Trenton’s Department of Public Works.
The transit center is only a 10-minute walk from the historic Mill Hill neighborhood, City and State-owned offices, local businesses, and downtown Trenton. However, many individuals choose not to walk to the transit center because of a lack of appropriate signage, poorly maintained crosswalks, and uneven sidewalks that make the route unwelcoming to pedestrians.
The project team is confident that once complete, Stepping into Tomorrow will improve the quality of life for Trenton residents and hopefully spark similar public art projects throughout Trenton.