Local Artist Melissa McGill Awarded NEA Grant

$20,000 given to support public arts project at Bannerman Castle

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that local artist Melissa McGill, through a partnership with the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), has been selected to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant for $20,000 to support her Constellation project.

Melissa McGill (Photo by Ellis Michael Quinn)

Melissa McGill (Photo by Ellis Michael Quinn)

Constellation is a large-scale sculptural installation around the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle on Pollepel Island in the section of the Hudson River that passes through the Hudson Highlands. Every evening, as the sun goes down, 17 starry lights (solar-powered LEDs) will emerge one by one with the stars of the night sky, creating a new constellation and connecting past and present through this light-based public art project.

The project is currently scheduled to launch in June 2015 and remain on the island for two years. Constellation will have many varied vantage points including the Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains, nearby hiking trails and heavily trafficked roads on both sides of the river.

“I’m honored to receive this support from the NEA,” said McGill. “This award brings us closer to being able to launch Constellation this summer, creating a free, community-building public artwork on the site of Pollepel Island in the Hudson River.”

“Much like the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park and the Copake Gateway Project, two other recent Hudson Valley projects that we were pleased to partner with, Constellation is a very exciting and unique project taking place in one of our most unique State Parks,” said Allen Payne, executive director of the Natural Heritage Trust. “Between the Metro-North railway; riverside roads such as Route 9D; and hiking trails along Breakneck Ridge, Storm King Mountain, Mount Taurus and other peaks in the Hudson Highlands State Park; Bannerman Island is already viewed by more than two million people a year. We expect Constellation to even further increase the park’s visibility and prominence as visitors from all over the world journey to the Hudson Highlands to watch the stars light up at dusk every evening.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category. Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at arts.gov. For more information about Constellation, visit melissamcgillconstellation.com.

Comments are closed.