It's always inspiring to see a dream become reality, and last week that's exactly what happened in Highland, NY.

Public Art Project in Highland, NY

Inspired by murals in Poughkeepsie, NY, Highland resident Sue Gilmore wanted to create something similar in her hometown. Her idea was to create a piece of public art celebrating the beauty and history of Highland using street art and graffiti techniques from renowned New York artist Lady Pink. Said Gilmore, "Street Art has an individualistic nature, through its ability to beautify and enhance public spaces. Street Art brings people together, attracts conversation, expresses emotions." Last week, the work began.

Sue Gilmore
Sue Gilmore
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Mural in Highland, NY

There were many moving parts involved in not only creating the massive mural but also in getting the project approved in the first place. Thanks to the go-ahead from the New York State Department of Transportation and coordination with Ulster BOCES, Highland Central School District, town highway chief Rich Klotz, Al Barone Construction (who lent the use of their boom lift), and others, the mural began to take shape.

Sue Gilmore
Sue Gilmore
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Artwork at the 9W Overpass in Highland, NY

The "canvas" for the mural is massive. At 1,500 square feet, there was a lot of room to paint the many highlights of a life lived in the Hudson Valley. "For the past year or so, I’ve driven around Kingston & other sites in Poughkeepsie & Newburgh, taken pictures and began to build an ‘art book’ [for inspiration]", Gilmore said.

Sue Gilmore
Sue Gilmore
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Cooperative Project

As they say, many hands make light work, and Gilmore estimated that over 30 students from both Highland High School and Ulster BOCES pitched in to make the giant project more manageable. Under the professional guidance of artist Lady Pink, the mural only took a few days to complete.

Sue Gilmore
Sue Gilmore
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In just five days, the mural was finished. In addition to the amazing students, Gilmore wished to thank the many teachers including Ericka Babineau and Les Castellanos of Highland High School, Dave Salvestrini of Ulster BOCES, as well as Lady Pink and her assistants included Roger Smith, Matt O’Connor, and Chloe Mosbacher.

Sue Gimore
Sue Gimore
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The highly-detailed mural invites the viewer to take their time while they admire the highlights of the piece. From apple orchards and hiking trails to references to the Lenape tribe and the Hudson River, so much of Highland and the surrounding Hudson Valley is included in the cooperative artwork. When the final touches were complete, many of the artists stopped to pose in front of the completed work.

Sue Gilmore
Sue Gilmore
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As a proud Highland resident of over 30 years, Gilmore said that the huge wall under the overpass was "beckoning" her as the perfect spot for a piece of public art. It's a testament to the town of Highland, as well as the will of one determined individual, to not only conceive of an idea to benefit the community but to see it to its completion. You can visit the mural on Vineyard Avenue in Highland at the 9W overpass here.

Want more local art? Check out these mind-bending sculptures of Route 17K in the Hudson Valley below, and keep scrolling to tour the most famous art supply stores in the Hudson Valley.

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