Bringing original artwork to the Scottish train station

A new work of art has been created at a train station in Glasgow.

In the coming weeks, travelers passing through Anderston Station will encounter a new piece of art that is more common in US cities.

In the shadow of Kingston Bridge, on a traffic island in the middle of a busy road junction, the Anderston Station entrance gets a quiet makeover. Recent visitors may have noticed a splash of color as a striking new design appears in addition to some new greenery and benches at the entrance of this prominent street.

Less than 50 days before the landmark Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate summit, Glasgow City Council is collaborating with Bloomberg Philanthropists to help deliver a legacy for the city and its residents. Beginning with an innovative Asphalt Art installation at the entrance to Anderston Station, Glasgow joins a select international city group supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies to transform and revitalize public spaces with the power of art.

As one of the first cities in the UK to apply for US Asphalt Art Initiative grants by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Glasgow City Council uses the arts and community engagement to improve street safety, invigorate public space and engage local communities.

The Asphalt Art Initiative responds to the growing number of cities around the world that are embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to mobilize their streets by interfering with plazas and sidewalks, crossings and intersections, and other transportation infrastructure. The grant program is designed not only to create vibrant new public spaces, but also to build the city’s capacity to work with local artists and community groups on projects involving transport infrastructure.

Asphalt Art project in Glasgow

The opportunity and benefits to improve the area were identified as part of the municipality’s City Center Strategy and District Regeneration Plans, creating an opportunity to work with Bloomberg Philanthropists. Combining public safety with public art, the program funds cities to transform their ugly streetscapes with community-related design projects.

Led by Civil Engineers and designer Gabriella Marcella, the design team worked to improve connectivity to and from the city centre. The striking design developed by Gabriella was influenced by the introduction of an experimental rain garden on site. As an attractive way to reduce flood risk and purify runoff from the nearby M8, rain gardens provide additional biodiversity and a greater sense of place to downtown streetscapes.

Glasgow City Council Vice-President, Cllr David McDonald, said: “The Council is delighted to partner with prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies on our journey towards COP26. We engaged in a series of discussions about shared interests in the environment, arts and culture, and community engagement.

One of the first fruits of this collaboration was the innovative Asphalt Art installation, which places Glasgow in a select group of cities supported by Bloomberg to transform and revitalize a public space with the power of art.

Glasgow also benefits from connecting with some of the world’s largest cities before and during the COP through the C40 network, chaired by Michael Bloomberg. This partnership work is a direct benefit of our host city role and already leaves a legacy for Glasgow and Glasgowians.’

Asphalt Art project commissioned by Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York with art design by Gabriella Marcella

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said: ‘Asphalt Art Projects can boost morale while helping cities rebuild from the pandemic by rejuvenating streets and making them safer. As we’ve seen in our work in cities around the world, vibrant public artwork and smarter street design can inspire residents, build relationships between artists and the community, and help cities recover stronger than before.’

Designer Gabriella Marcella said: “I am delighted that the project is in its final stages and that the public can see the progress of our work in real time. It was a difficult site to work on, but the massive graphics and colors prevailed!

‘I hope the finished work brings a smile to people’s faces and encourages thoughts about water and how we can rethink our relationship with water in our wonderful and sometimes rainy city!’

Meanwhile, around Anderston Station, it is hoped that the completion of the artwork, the addition of benches and rain gardens will bring joy to travelers and locals alike as the city continues to reopen and recover from the pandemic.

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