Color the Canal

The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and CREATE Community Studios collaborated this year on or our third annual Color the Canal, a Schenectady County celebration of the local section of the historic Erie Canalway Trail. We kicked off this year's event with a special project, Connections Along the Trail, creating a mural near the Nott Street entrance to the bike path in June. In July and August, community-created signs were posted along the trail. Check out the photos below to see how both projects went, and keep your eye out for details of next year's community arts event.

In 2019, its first year, Color the Canal provided visual and sculptural art to welcome more than 650 cyclists who pedal the trail from Buffalo to Albany each July during the Cycle the Erie Canal (CEC) ride, as well as the many Capital Region residents who use the trail every day. Trail users were greeted by more than 150 pieces of art made by local individuals, businesses and community groups, as well as chalk art created by local residents.

COVID-19 couldn't stop us from continuing the effort in 2020 and 2021. In addition to using more pieces of temporary art to share community members' messages of hope, gratitude, strength and inspiration during the pandemic, we also created more permanent pieces -- a mural on an outdoor shelter at Blatnick Park in Niskayuna in 2020 and a bigger mural on the back of a building near Nott Street in Schenectady in 2021.

Want to help?

Contact Gillian Scott (518-372-8478 or for more information on sponsorships. Contact CREATE Community Studio (518-348-9290 or to donate sign-making materials (such as used political lawn signs) or to sign up to make a sign of your own for next year's community art event. We are grateful for your support!

Thanks to our sponsors

This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Arts Center of the Capital Region. Thank you also to Cycle Schenectady for acting as our fiscal sponsor for this event, and to Union College, the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. and Kids Arts Fest for their support.