Street art. Exhibitions. Art shows. Any situation where the public can see (and comment) on your art can be intimidating—at least it would be for me. But it can also be incredibly motivating.

Last month I wrote about the Big Bicycle Project, a cool challenge from the Kimball Jenkins School of Art. The concept was for local artists to reinvent—you guessed it—a bike into a work of art. The sculptures were then displayed on Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire. (You can read more about the project and see some of the sculptures here.)

It’s amazing how creative and diverse the artists’ works are. You can tell just how much thought and care went into each sculpture. And I’m happy to announce that this month’s featured artist can give us a glimpse into what it was like to make and display one of them.

Meet Althea Barton


What did you think when you heard about the bicycle challenge?  Have you participated in similar projects before?

A: I loved the idea of ordinary people using a commonplace object like a bicycle to create unique works of public art. And for me, having an interesting project with a deadline is a great motivator. I’ve taken art classes, shown some work in student art exhibits, and once sold a painting of a fire station to a Manhattan fire chief, but I’d never done a sculpture project like this one before.


What was the inspiration behind your sculpture?

A: I was inspired by the controversy over the Fearless Girl statue that had been placed opposite the Charging Bull on Wall Street in NYC. Fearless Girl is a beautiful statue, and I was interested in how it engaged people in a dialogue about power.

My work had two parts: Fearless, the bull moose (since this is NH), and Bullish, a small pink bike with a lot of spunky details like bells and tassels. They were standing side by side. I don’t see why we can’t all be fearless and bullish and pull together. Unfortunately, Bullish went missing early on. Her sister may show up at some point…


I’m sorry to hear about Bullish. Were there any particular challenges you had or lessons you’ve learned in creating your artwork?

A: Welding is intense, amazing, and fun! My son and I learned basic welding at Manchester Makerspace, where the people were very supportive and encouraging.

What is it like to have your sculptures displayed in such a public place like Main Street?  Were you nervous to have such a large audience, or was it more exciting?

A: It was very motivating to know the sculptures would be displayed on Main Street. It kept me striving.

Is there anything you’d like to say to artists thinking about being a part of an exhibition?

A: Go for it!

Lastly, do you have a website or social media where people can follow your upcoming work?

A: Not a personal one, though you can follow the Big Bicycle Project at Thanks for your interest—enjoy your art!

Thank you so much Althea!

You can find Althea’s and the other artists’ sculptures on Main Street through November. It’s been said that Kimball-Jenkins has plans for future exhibitions, and I’ll be sure to let you know what they are when I hear about them.

And who knows? After hearing what Althea had to say, I’m summoning the courage and getting excited about potentially participating in a future challenge.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

What’s good for both the environment and the art world? Upcycling. Also known as ‘creative reuse’, it’s a trend from the 1990’s that’s still going strong today. The idea is to repurpose something run down into something new and often beautiful or useful (or both).

A current exhibition by the Kimball-Jenkins School of Art, sponsored by the Mill Brook Gallery & Sculpture Garden, in Concord, New Hampshire involves just that. Locals artist were invited to contribute a sculpture made from a bicycle. This could mean decorating an existing bike, or breaking one down into a brand new creation.

(I want to add that I actually went to a couple summer camps at Kimball-Jenkins when I was a kid. I remember it was a lot of fun, and I left the Fantasy Art week with a six-foot long, winged dragon I had made out of cardboard. It was really encouraging to create in an atmosphere that promoted imagination.)

Starting in May, all of the finished sculptures were put on display along Concord’s North and South Main Street. If you’ve never been, it’s a beautiful, historic place to walk and shop, and the new art additions only add to the splendor.

One of my favorite pictures I’ve taken on Main Street.

Click through the slideshow below to see some of the sculptures:

As peaceful as Main Street is, some of the displays weren’t left undisturbed. Sadly, two objects went missing: Fearless’s pink tricycle companion, Bullish, as well as an aardvark stuffed animal from the golden bike’s basket.

Nevertheless, the sculptures are beautifully creative. I love how diverse the concepts are. Not just the appealing visual aspect, but also how resourceful some of the artists were in repurposing bicycles into new piece of art. I heard that some participants learned skills like blacksmithing in order to make their sculpture.

If you find yourself near Main Street and in the mood for a nice walk, I highly encourage you to take a stroll past these upcycled works of art. They’ll be lining the street through this November. But Kimball-Jenkins has said more exhibitions are to come, so be sure to stay tuned! If you’d like to read more about the project and the School of Art at Kimball-Jenkins Estate, you can visit their website here.

Which bikes were your favorites?  Have you ever participated in a project like this? I’d love to hear in the comments below!