Bethesda pedestrian bridge art honors health care workers, first responders

Bethesda pedestrian bridge art honors health care workers, first responders

Display was made from pool noodles

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The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District's board decided to undertake a public art project on the pedestrian bridge over Old Georgetown Road honoring front line health care workers and first responders.

Photo provided

Over the weekend, passersby in downtown Bethesda might have noticed art on top of the pedestrian bridge over Old Georgetown Road depicting health care workers, first responders, hearts and what appears to be an ambulance.

The art, made out of pool noodles, was the idea of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, which is managed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

The Arts & Entertainment District’s board of directors decided a few weeks ago to embark on an art project that honors frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, board member David Goldberg said in an interview Monday.

Goldberg said the board discussed the idea of an art project on the bridge for about a year, and recently decided to dedicate it to first responders.

“It was a much more appropriate message for this particular moment in time,” he said.

Goldberg, who also created the “Starry Night” artwork out of doorknobs in 2011 on Norfolk Avenue, said the pool noodles were the most suitable material for the Old Georgetown bridge.

“Because [the bridge has] these long 10-inch poles, you could not thread the ribbons through it like you would through a chain link fence. So I came up with the idea with using pool noodles that we could put around these 10-inch-long pieces,” he said.

About six to eight people, mostly board members, worked on the project at any given time starting Wednesday, and they finished on Friday after 20 hours of work, Goldberg said. The project used 145 pool noodles.

Goldberg said pool noodles are symbols for the public’s current state of mind during the pandemic.

“We want to be at the pool and we can’t be at the pool, so the pool noodles just added to the story of what’s going on right now, signifying the things we want but just don’t have,” he said.

Goldberg said the board hopes to do a project for the half of the bridge that hasn’t been decorated. It will discuss the idea at its next monthly meeting. He hopes that project will involve the community.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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