Artwork / 2024 / Rainbow Connection

art and civil disobedience at the Alexauken Creek Spillway Bridge in the D&R Canal State Park, New Jersey
Gwenn Seemel
Rainbow Connection
acrylic on paper applied with wheatpaste glue
5 x 1500 inches

These rainbow stripes are my response to hateful messages that were repeatedly scrawled, spray painted, and carved on a pedestrian bridge and surrounding trail network near my home in Lambertville, New Jersey.

I watched for many months as others in my community tried to deal with the ongoing vandalism by sanding down the messages, and the criminal with a fascination for Trump kept coming back to carve the messages still deeper. That’s when it became clear to me that this silent conversation—a persistent cycle of the vandal hacking into the bridge and the community scouring the wood to remove the carving—might need a new voice. I hoped that by chiming in with oversized paper bandaids to help heal the wounds on the bridge I would shift the energy for the vandal, but, as this video shows, it didn’t.

Not wanting to end up in my own months-long cycle with the vandal and my bandaid response, I decided to change the energy around this bridge yet again, this time with rainbows, a decision which I explain in some detail in this blog post.

This project has earned coverage on and in the Bucks County Beacon. And with the pressure which public interest produces, the park finally cleaned off the bridge.