Color the Canal

Join the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and CREATE Community Studios for our third annual Color the Canal, a Schenectady County celebration of the local section of the historic Erie Canalway Trail. We're kicking off this year's event with a Community Paint Day on Saturday, June 5, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Nott Street entrance to the bike trail. Pick up a sign, help paint an outdoor mural, and celebrate the kick-off for Schenectady Arts Week! Can't make it that day? There will be other opportunities to pick up sign materials or to work on the mural. Just let us know you'd like to help.

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. 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 a more permanent piece -- a mural on an outdoor shelter at Blatnick Park in Niskayuna.

This year, we'll be asking local artists to make art again, both on temporary signs and on a mural planned for a building along the trail in Schenectady.

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. 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.