Artists Announced for 'Downtown is Pawsome' Public Art Project

ALBANY, NY… The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) announces the slate of artists and community groups that will participate in the 2017 outdoor public Placemaking exhibit, Downtown in Pawsome. The public art project will feature 20 three-foot-tall sculptures based on Albany’s famous canine resident and local landmark Nipper the Dog, customized and placed on display at locations throughout Downtown from June 2017 through May 2018.

A call for artists issued last month resulted in an outpouring of enthusiasm; nearly 90 applications to creatively interpret the sculptures were received from schools, community groups, and artists ranging from talented toddlers to nationally recognized graphic designers. Due to the positive response, the number of sculptures was doubled from 10 to 20. The first “litter” of these painted pups will hit the streets in mid-June, with the second wave of arriving in early July. Artists were chosen by the Downtown is Pawsome curatorial committee: Georgette Steffens and Jason Bonafide of Downtown Albany BID, Tony Iadicicco and Anna Wettergreen of Albany Center Gallery, Greg Haymes and Sara Ayers of Nippertown, and graphic designer Lee Dixon.

The artists are:

“The amazing response from artists for this project truly speaks to the region's creativity and civic engagement,” said Georgette Steffens, Executive Director of the Downtown Albany BID. “While each of these artists will bring their own distinct style and interpretation to the Downtown is Pawsome project, they are tied together by a sense of pride of place – in Albany’s history and architecture, in its past and its future, but most importantly, in its people and pets. We’re thrilled to send the message through this program, along with our upcoming Downtown dog park, that our neighborhood is the perfect place for both human and canine residents.”

The Downtown is Pawsome exhibit will kick off with a Garden Party on Friday, June 16th, 2017 in Tricentennial Park (Broadway and Columbia Street) where historian, author, and former Assemblymember Hon. Jack McEneny will be presented with the 2017 Norman S. Rice Arts, Culture and Education Award. The Garden Party is presented by the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and the Downtown Albany BID; proceeds from the event will benefit programs of the Humane Society, as well as the continued revitalization of downtown Albany. Tickets for the Garden Party may be purchased at www.downtownalbany.org/pawsomegardenparty.

“This is a very exciting partnership for us and we are thrilled that the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District continues to work to make our community more walkable and vibrant,” said Todd Cramer, Interim President of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. “We know that household pets enrich the lives of not only their owners, but also the members of the community they live in.  The positive reaction to the Downtown is Pawsome project is reflective of how supportive the community is of its animal companions.”

The addition of the 10 more sculptures—an expansion of this year’s Placemaking exhibit—was made possible in part by the Amplify Albany Grant Program, a program supported by the City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation and Capitalize Albany Corporation. More information on the grant program is available at www.capitalizealbany.com/grants.

“This year, the grant program’s support brings the opportunity to double the impact of this initiative,” said Capitalize Albany Corporation president Sarah Reginelli. “The additional 10 sculptures made possible will extend the activity surrounding the public art further and throughout Downtown’s business corridors.”

In 2005, the outdoor Placemaking program (formerly “Sculpture in the Streets”) was established to connect Downtown employees, residents and visitors with the places they share by reinventing public spaces with various art forms. From regional creators to world renowned artists like Seward Johnson and George Rickey, the exhibits have attracted thousands annually. Similar past projects included the installation of customized pianos as part of Luke Jerram’s internationally touring Play Me, I’m Yours series in 2014 and giant Dutch clogs celebrating Albany’s history in 2012, all enhanced by the Capital Region’s local art community. Walking tour maps of the 2017 Placemaking exhibit will be available on the BID’s website at downtownalbany.org.

The Downtown is Pawsome free outdoor public Placemaking exhibit is sponsored by the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, 80 State Street LLC, the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Palace Theatre, Upside Collective, Albany Center Gallery, Broadway Plaza Liquor, Capital Region Chamber, Couch White LLP, and media partner Nippertown. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please contact the BID for more information.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Jason Bonafide at jbonafide@downtownalbany.org or 518.465.2143  x11.