Breaking Through Barriers
Historic Richmond Town illuminates the intersection of three ancient Staten Island roads to shed light on those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders in recognition of Autism Awareness Month.
The installation, “Breaking Through Barriers,” was created by renowned local artist Scott LoBaido, and is located within a post and beam structure that represents the site of Staten Island’s First County Courthouse, at the confluence of Arthur Kill, Richmond, and Richmond Hill Roads. The installation includes eight blue figures positioned around the exterior of the structure, in poses that evoke a struggle to break through the invisible barriers.
"I prefer to leave interpretation up to the viewer in my installations,” LoBaido remarked, “but one of the elements in this creation was to use a less-detailed, rough, process to create the figures. This represents the tight closed unflattering cocoons. The beauty is the butterflies inside that thrive to come out and join the world."
LoBaido, a native Staten Islander, has been painting, sculpting and creating illuminated art installations for more than 25 years. His pieces, often patriotic in nature, have been showcased at Historic Richmond Town before. As part of Historic Richmond Town's initiative to light up the night and enhance curb appeal along Richmond Road, an LED colonial era American flag covered the entire east façade of the historic Bennett house, with a ceremonial lighting on the winter solstice.
“The GRACE Foundation is always excited to promote Autism Awareness and community inclusion, shared Kevin Brosnick, executive director. "This innovative art installation encourages Staten Island residents to embrace the missions of both the GRACE Foundation and Historic Richmond Town in celebrating self-expression and civic pride.”
“Historic Richmond Town is dedicated to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to public art works, while raising awareness and promoting belonging,” noted Ken Bach, interim executive director. “Our goal is to encourage artists to work in public, bring the arts to the center of the social equity dialogue, and invite traditional and non-traditional museum goers to become inspired. By presenting inclusive and culturally resonant installations such as ‘Breaking Through Barriers,’ we dovetail the past with our present and future.”
In addition to the artwork of Scott LoBaido, Historic Richmond Town, in collaboration with the GRACE Foundation, is hosting a series of specialized tours called “Sensory Sundays” in which visitors are treated to an immersive “touch” experience in five of the village’s historic buildings.
Historic Richmond Town demonstrates a dedication to accessibility and inclusion year-round through diverse, mission-centric programming such as the Summer Apprentice Program, which introduces 7-14-year-old students of all abilities and interests to a focused, immersive experience in the Historic Trades that still have deep meaning today, such as woodworking, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, basket weaving, pottery-making and other maker-based experiences. The Artisans of HRT have a deep-held commitment to sharing their skills and mentoring the youth.
Historic Richmond town is located at 441 Clarke Avenue in Staten Island New York. The walking mall of the main village is available year-round for guests to enjoy the landmarked structures, landscaped grounds and abundant wildlife. The museum and historic buildings are open Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00pm to 5:00 pm The M. Bennett Café, run by the Women’s Auxiliary, provides a light lunch in a Victorian-style café. For more information visit www.hrtown.nyc