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Community loses public art as Downtown Binghamton parking garage demolition continues

“It’s a loss. Between art, music and food, I think those are the things that connect people the most,” said Department of Public Art Board Member Mark Bowers.
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Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:45 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- As demolition of the parking garage on Water St. in Downtown Binghamton continues, community members are mourning the absence of public art.

“It’s a loss,” said Department of Public Art Board Member Mark Bowers. “Between art, music and food, I think those are the things that connect people the most, and the whole philosophy behind beginning the Department of Art was to engage the public in art.”

Bowers said there’s several murals being taken down with the structure which include a piece of Binghamton’s story.

“So much planning, work and artistic talent went into creating the murals - especially the ones in the Water Street parking garage,” he said. “We were trying to interpret some of the history of that site because of the things that had been on State St. at the turn of the century and the early start of the 20th century.”

According to Bowers, about 15 people took part in the projects throughout the garage, and their only memories of those pieces are now through photographs.

“From our perspective of doing public art, there’s always the risk that murals can be damaged or lost, and the fact that so many people participated in this - each of those individual people are impacted,” said Bowers.

However, despite the loss of those historic pieces, the Public Art Board is moving forward.

“This is a very creative area with a lot of creative people. It’s history is one of creativity and innovation and those are some of the things that we’re trying to embody in the art we’ve done in public,” Bowers said.

Bowers said the board has been in discussion and could possibly recreate a few of the murals that were in the parking garage in the future.

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